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Wales and the Welsh national Anthem

Updated on September 28, 2010

He does his best Chwarae teg iddo ef

The banks of the Rhondda

The National Anthem of Wales, established by a long tradition, is “Hen Wlad fy Nhadau” Literally “The old country of my fathers.” Though it is usually translated as “Land of my Fathers”

The melody was composed in 1856 by James James a harpist who owned a pub in Pontypridd. Pontypridd is a town at the southern end of the Rhondda valley in south Wales. Pontypridd is also the hometown of the famous modern Welsh singer Tom Jones.

As a member of the Welsh Gorsedd of bards James James was also known by his Bardic name of Iago ap Ieuan. The lyrics were written by his father Evan James, a weaver and a poet. James would play his harp in his pub and it was there that the melody was first heard. Originally it was called “Glan Rhondda” (The Banks of the Rhondda) It began to gain popularity outside Pontypridd when Elizabeth John went to the town of Maesteg and sang it in the vestry of a Chapel. In that chapel, Capel Tabor, was the first true public performance of the Welsh national Anthem..

Land of my Fathers

One of the unique features of Wales is the Eisteddfod, a gathering of poets singers and musicians. At the Eisteddfod in Llangollen in 1858 Thomas Llewellyn, his Bardic name was Eos Morlais, from the town of Aberdare won a competition for an unpublished collection of Welsh songs. His publication, titled “Gems of Welsh melody” contained Glan Rhondda renamed “Hen Wlad fy Nhadau” a phrase taken from the first line of the song. From that time on the tune increased in popularity throughout Wales. It was sang at patriotic events and today is recognized as the national Anthem of Wales. It is sung at local and national events including the opening of the Welsh Assembly. Usually only the first verse and chorus are sung. Though at special occasions, especially where national pride is involved, the whole song can be heard.

Y Pennod Cyntaf (The first verse)

Mae hen wlad fy nhadau yn annwyl i mi, Gwlad beirdd a chantorion, enwogion o fri; Ei gwrol ryfelwyr, gwladgarwyr tra mâd, Dros ryddid collasant eu gwaed.

(Cytgan - Chorus)

Gwlad, gwlad, pleidiol wyf i'm gwlad. Tra môr yn fur i'r bur hoff bau, O bydded i'r hen iaith barhau.

Yr Ail Pennod (Second verse)

Hen Gymru fynyddig, paradwys y bardd, Pob dyffryn, pob clogwyn, i'm golwg sydd hardd; Trwy deimlad gwladgarol, mor swynol yw si Ei nentydd, afonydd, i mi.

(Cytgan - Chorus)

Y Trydydd Pennod (Third verse)

Os treisiodd y gelyn fy ngwlad tan ei droed, Mae hen iaith y Cymry mor fyw ag erioed, Ni luddiwyd yr awen gan erchyll law brad, Na thelyn berseiniol fy ngwlad.

(Cytgan - Chorus)

Translation

The old land of my fathers is dear to me, Land of poets and singers, famous men of honor; Her brave warriors, very good patriots, For freedom shed their blood.

Country, Country, I pledge to my Country. While the sea [is] a wall to the pure, most loved land, O may the old language endure.

Old mountainous Wales, paradise of the bard, Every valley, every cliff, to me is beautiful. Through patriotic feeling, so charming is the murmur Of her brooks, rivers, to me.

If the enemy oppresses my land under his foot, The old language of the Welsh is as alive as ever. The inspiration is not hindered by the awful hand of treason, Nor [is] the melodious harp of my country

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    • iantoPF profile image
      Author

      Peter Freeman 8 years ago from Pen-Bre, Cymru/Wales

      Hello Gypsy Willow; Yes it has that effect on me too. It's a terrific anthem for a country to have. Thank you for reading and commenting.

    • Gypsy Willow profile image

      Gypsy Willow 8 years ago from Lake Tahoe Nevada USA , Wales UK and Taupo New Zealand

      It always makes the hairs on the back of my neck stand up or moves me to tears depending on how many pints I've dunk!

    • WriteAngled profile image

      WriteAngled 8 years ago from Abertawe, Cymru

      Diolch yn fawr!

    • iantoPF profile image
      Author

      Peter Freeman 8 years ago from Pen-Bre, Cymru/Wales

      Gwydd = easy gwyddach = easier. you drop the g because of the soft mutation. :) yes. HP is much friendlier.

    • WriteAngled profile image

      WriteAngled 8 years ago from Abertawe, Cymru

      Ah, I've read it. I'm not really active over there anymore. HP is far friendlier! And I just about understood your message, except for wyddach :))

    • iantoPF profile image
      Author

      Peter Freeman 8 years ago from Pen-Bre, Cymru/Wales

      WriteAngled;

      ddiolch yn fawr iawn am ddarllen a d'eich sgwrs. mae'n pleser fawr i gwrddach chi ar HubPages. Paid a phoeni, mae'r iaeth yn ddod yn wyddach gydag ymarfer, :)

      I have a special place in my heart for Treorci. There's a funny story I have about a funeral that I attended there many years ago. I wrote it on another site so it may not be the best idea to duplicate it here.

      Best Wishes a phob bendith da..............Ianto

    • WriteAngled profile image

      WriteAngled 8 years ago from Abertawe, Cymru

      I moved to Treorci two years ago. The first time I heard the anthem after a concert at the Parc a Dar, it moved me to tears. I spent months memorising the first verse and chorus. Last year, I went to St David's Day Parade in Cardiff, where I was able to stand proud and sing it out twice. I also was chosen to carry a big Welsh flag in the parade :)) I'm not Welsh by genes, but am now Welsh by choice, because Wales adopted me. Dw i'n dysgu Cymraeg. Dw i'n gweithio yn galed achos mae hi'n anodd iawn!

    • iantoPF profile image
      Author

      Peter Freeman 8 years ago from Pen-Bre, Cymru/Wales

      Diolch yn fawr iawn Knell63. I didn't know that. Thanks I'll keep it in mind for any future articles on Welsh singing.

    • knell63 profile image

      knell63 8 years ago from Umbria, Italy

      Ardderchog Hub, da iawn. Did you know the first time a national anthem was ever sung at a sporting event was when Wales sang it in response to the All Blacks Haka in 1910. Always makes the hairs stand up on the back of my neck. Cheers IantoPF.

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