Light of Aidan-Lament, the lyrics
In early September 2009 I was approached by Human LLC to write a Welsh song for a commercial they were making for the new Halo 3 ODST game that was soon to be launched. I was shown the video and given suggestions of the theme they were looking for. I was also provided with the music I had to fit the words around. At the time I had no idea that the score was an adaptation of a song called “Lament” by Light of Aidan. In fact I had never heard of the song or Light of Aidan at that time. The adaptation is a very martial tune. “Lament” itself is a soft, meditative sound. Sung in Welsh it’s about lost love and has that sad, wistful quality that is very easy to the ear.
The song appears on the second Café del Mar CD of 2005.
Café del Mar is somewhere I have heard of. Most Europeans like to vacation in Spain, especially the Balearic islands in the Spanish Mediterranean. Ibiza is one of the most popular of those islands and a spot that attracts thousands of visitors is the Café del Mar in San Antoni de Portmany, owned by Lorena de Tena. The sunset views are breathtaking and literally thousands of people will line the beach by the café just to watch the sun go down. The café itself has become famous for its music. World class performers from all over Europe play there. Easy listening, chill out music is what you hear, don’t expect to be rockin’ or rappin’ this is the gentle natural rhythm of the Mediterranean shore. The first CD of the café’s music was released in 1995 from then on there has been at least one CD every year, a compilation of the most favored music. In 2005 two CDs were released. On the second was a song called “Lament” by Light of Aidan.
Light of Aidan is Daniel Lozinski, writer, producer, programmer and engineer and Phil Baggaley, Musician, producer and writer.
The song is called “Lament” though the lyrics are Welsh the title remained English.
For the curious the Welsh word for Lament is Galarnad.
The lyrics are;
Dweud a ddoi di eto n’ol
Cariad bach er cilio’n ffo
Nid yw’r haf I mi
Ddim ond hirlwm
Er pan gollais ti
The first two lines are sung twice then the next three lines are sang three times.
The lyrics translate to;
Say you will not return
Sweetheart, since you flew away
I have no summer
Only the worst of winter
Since I lost you.
A little Welsh lesson (Gwers fach yn Gymraeg)
Welsh has its share of idiom and Welsh poetry has a way of expressing ideas with words that take a book to translate. The short piece here is rich in examples of how Welsh speakers express deep emotions with an economy of phrase.
The words in the second line; cariad bach Cariad means Love, bach means Little. Little love wouldn’t make sense if you were relying solely on a dictionary without knowing that bach is a term of endearment, put together Cariad bach is the Welsh equivalent of calling someone “Sweetheart”. Cilio’n ffo Cilio means “To retreat” the apostrophe n is actually yn in this context it means “In” the apostrophe is there because “Y” is a vowel in Welsh and it would be bad grammar to end a word with a vowel and start the next with a vowel so Cilio yn becomes Cilio’n Ffo means Flight So the phrase would literally mean “Retreat in flight” The singer is saying, with sad emphasis, that her sweetheart left in a hurry and went far away. It also implies a cowardly retreat. Just a short phrase, it carries so much meaning.
The fourth line has the word Hirlwm. This word means “The worse time of winter” The word harks back to the days when the winter was almost at an end but so was the food supply. Nothing would grow and the winter food is getting low. So she is saying that since her love went away there is no summer in her life, all is as the worse time of winter where there is only cold and little nourishment.
As an aside to this I have heard that the people of North Wales these days use the phrase Hirlwm Pres to mean “Credit Crunch.”
One last point that I feel constrained to make. I have been pleased to see the promotional video for the Halo game getting a lot of attention, particularly on Youtube and in various forums. Generally the whole thing is very well received and that does give me a lot of personal satisfaction. However, Halopedia somewhere got the idea that the translation of the Halo song involved a “Brothers over the hill and into hell” type of nonsense. Where they got that from I have no idea but they continue to peddle it. Welsh is very much a minority language so the unsuspecting have been copying and pasting this at various places as though it were the “Correct” translation. As I hope I have been able to demonstrate, neither in the original “Lament” or in the Halo song is there anything approaching those words. Halopedia may be fine at describing Xbox games but they need to leave the languages to those who speak them.
- Halo 3 ODST Lyrics
This is a video promoting the new interactive game by Bungie. It was released on September 22nd exclusively for the Xbox 360 video game console. The promotional video is notable because live actors are...
- Human LLC
This is the home page of the company that produced the Halo 3 ODST video. Click on "Reels" and you will see a selection of their work including the original promo'video.