Доклад: Welsh traditional music
Орехово-Зуевский Государственный Педагогический Институт
Кафедра английского языка
Реферат по страноведению на тему:
Welsh traditional music
5 курса 502а группы
1. The peculiarities of folk music in Wales...............3
3. Boys of the Lough......................7
4. Rag Foundation........................8
6. The renaissance of Welsh
1.The peculiarities of folk music in Wales
Wales is the only Celtic nation with a completely unbroken tradition of harp
music, where the music, technique, and style have been passed down orally from
harper to harper over the centuries. Wales is best known for its large-ensemble
choral singing. But this principality lying along Britain's southwestern shore
also has a proud Celtic tradition of smaller, more tightly knit bands that
perform native instrumentals and folk songs. Wales is a land of song, sung
either by male voice choirs or crowds at rugby matches. But there has been
singing of all manner of songs in all manner of places, from the Canu'r
Pwnc chanting of scripture in chapel to the scurrilous rhymes sung in pubs.
All that is commonly known about Welsh poetry is that it comes in forms of
mind-boggling complexity. But there is a great variety of metre and tone. Bands
such as Pigyn Clust are mining these veins in new and startling ways,
juxtaposing melodies, and verse forms.
In Ireland and Scotland, because traditional music is better established, the
orthodoxies too are stronger. While musicians improve technically - and there
are some phenomenally accomplished players and singers - there is little
innovation, beyond often misguided collaborations with musicians from
incompatible traditions. If the Chieftains finally stopped coming to town
then a similar band playing similar music would soon fill the vacuum -
Lunasa, for instance. Should Aly Bain, the Boys of the Lough's fiddler, lay
down his bow then Catriona MacDonald would step in.
But in Wales musicians are rediscovering, recreating and reinterpreting their
traditional music, which is crucial to the development of their culture. Of
all the Celtic countries it is Wales where the traditional music is most
interesting and most vital.
The bardic and eisteddfod traditions have long dominated Welsh music and,
partly as a result, the Celtic music boom which propelled Irish, Scots,
Breton and even Galician music into the international spotlight, somehow left
Wales behind. Several excellent artists have made inroads through the years,
notably the harp-playing brothers Dafydd and Gwyndaf Roberts of Ar Log, the
singer/harpist Sian James, 70s group Plethyn and fiery dance band Calennig.
The Welsh have a drastically different style of playing, largely due to the
nature of the music itself. Their music is ornamented through theme and
variation, a more classical style, rather than through the sort of
ornamentation heard in Scottish and Irish music. Due to this love of Baroque-
like style, the Welsh adopted the triple harp as their national instrument,
taking advantage of the three rows of strings to play a wide variety of
variations on traditional Welsh melodies. (Triple-strung harps have two
diatonic rows on either side, and a row of accidentals up the middle, which
the harper plays by reaching between the outer strings to play).
The harp is of course the instrument most closely identified with Wales. But
though it's accorded the highest respect there, the fiddle and the accordion
are perhaps embraced with greater affection. CDs sampling the traditions of
both have recently been released, but for many listeners these will be
introductions rather than surveys. The squeezebox anthology Megin
(bellows) is especially good. The range of repertoire, and even instruments, is
remarkable, from the robust melodeon dance music of Meg and Neil Browning from
North Wales to John Morgan (clearly influenced by harp players) whose duet
concertina combines the gravitas of a church organ with the delicacy of a
flute. The inclusive nature of this selection is significant too; players from
the south-eastern, urban, (post-) industrial region rub shoulders with those
from the Marches, the rural and largely English-speaking area running along the
border. It even includes the Brecon Hornpipe and Dic y Cymro
played by John Kirkpatrick - the most famous of English box players who lives on
the eastern side, in Shropshire. So the CD draws on and expresses the complex
reality and the richness of Wales, recognising that music will not be confined
by city nor countryside, language nor national boundary.
Those instrumental traditions were not well known, and the fiddle certainly
suffered in the religious revivals of the 19th century, when many were
burned. But at least they did not disappear completely. The bray harp, the
instrument of medieval bards, then the peasants of South Wales, and bagpipes
- of which there were various local kinds - were not so fortunate. Tunes and
references to players remain and in recent years Ceri Rhys Matthews and
Jonathan Shorland have recreated bagpipes and researched their repertoires,
while William Taylor has reconstructed the smaller bray harp. Such
enterprises are academically fraught, but musically very exciting. That there
are no masters from whom to learn the nuances of phrasing, accent and the
trick of grace-notes - those details of performance which distinguish
traditional music - is a grave loss, but it does give the contemporary
musician enviable freedom.
Ned Thomas had noted in his revelatory book The Welsh Extremist that
'when two Welsh speakers meet the topic of conversation is the state of the
language'. What Welsh traditional music was played tended to serve the cause of
a culture in crisis, rather than express it. So like a cramped toenail, it grew
inward. "Between about 1980 and 1990 there was almost no awareness of what was
going on elsewhere," a Welsh musician recently told me. "Wales became Albania."
In modern times a whole gamut of outstanding bands are making their presence
felt, including The Kilbride Brothers, Rag Foundation, Aberjaber and folk-
rock band Blue Horses, Fernhill.
This trio from Powys in mid-Wales, together for 25 years, are celebrated for
close vocal harmonies laid over a spare instrumental mix of guitar, mandolin,
tin whistle and concertina. Siblings Linda Healy and Roy Griffiths, along
with their friend John Gittins, have pioneered a more intimate singing style,
based on the Plygain choral tradition. Nowhere is that more apparent than in
Plethyn's a cappella rendition of the Welsh traditional song "Cainc Yr
Aradwr" ("The Ploughboy's Song"), from this outstanding 1994 album, whose
title is Welsh for "Yesterday's Cider."
3. Boys of the Lough
Boys of the Lough are one of the past masters of celtic music, combining
members from several celtic traditions with a long history; where other
celtic groups last a few years, the Boys are now in their third decade and
retain two of their earliest members. Like that other long-running act the
Chieftans, their music tends to the formal; impeccable technique and
sensitivity, with large, sometimes classical-style arrangements, and very
tight ensemble playing. They lack the fire and roughness of other groups; the
overall feeling is of a group of skilled, well-integrated musicians playing
together for the pure pleasure of it.
The history of the Boys has several twists and turns. The group was formed in
1967, as a trio of Cathal McConnell, Tommy Gunn of Fermanagh and Robin Morton
from Portadown. Tommy Gunn later dropped out and the remaining duo recorded
"An Irish Jubliee" in 1969. At the sametime, Shetland fiddler Aly Bain and
singer/guitarist Mike Whelans were playing on the Scottish folk circuit. The
two duos met up at the Falkirk folk festival where they played together and
some time later, in 1971 came together for good. Dick Gaughan of Leith
replaced Mike in 1972 and this lineup recorded the first 'official' group
album in 1972. Dick, in turn, left in 1973 and was replaced by Dave
Richardson of Northumberland, bringing in new instruments including, cittern,
banjo and mandolin. This lineup continued for several year, touring widely in
Europe and America and releasing 6 albums, two of them recorded live. Live at
Passim's was recorded at Passim's in Cambridge, Massachusetts, and Wish You
Were Here comes from a tour of the Scottish Highlands and Islands. Robin
Morton left in 1979 and was replaced with Dave Richardson's brother, Tich, on
guitar. Tich was killed in a road accident in late 1983. After some time, the
band came together again with new members Christy O' Leary and John Coakley
and have kept that lineup ever since.
Aly Bain Fiddle
Cathal McConnell Flute and Tin Whistle, Vocals
Dave Richardson Mandolin, cittern, English concertina, button accordion
Christy O' Leary Uileann pipes, tin whistle, mouth-organ and vocals
Chris Newman Guitar
4. Rag Foundation
Woollard's band, Rag Foundation, from Swansea, is one of several groups of
young urban musicians who have come to traditional music in the way they have
come to the Welsh language, through questioning their identity, their
cultural distinctiveness. They have been described by the trade press as the
most dynamic band to emerge from Wales for many years. Their current albums
'Minka' and 'South by SouthWest' have been critically acclaimed by press, TV,
radio and festival organisers. They have toured extensively in many countries
as far apart as Canada, Latvia, India, Holland, Egypt, Hungary and France as
well as the UK. Woollard's own story is quite remarkable: introduced to
traditional music by a fiddle player recording a session for a trip-hop
outfit he was in, he began researching songs of his region, came across Phil
Tanner. and discovered he was his great uncle. But Woollard's style owes as
much to Tom Jones and Shirley Bassey - the total commitment to the song of
the working class, pub singer of South Wales - as it does to folk music. When
Rag Foundation performed for the first time in London the people running the
venue were surprised when two busloads of young urban ravers pitched up too.
"We have this following of clubbers who come round with us," Woollard
explained. "What we're doing is dance music, which is what they're into. Ours
is just an older version of it." Even so, it is the power of the traditional
song that inspires Rag Foundation, and Woollard inhabits rather than exploits
the material. "I want to bring these songs to an audience my age, but I don't
want to stick drum and bass all over them. It's in the performance. If you're
honest in your delivery what you're singing about will come across."
Since they formed in 1996, Fernhill have become important cultural
ambassadors for Wales and its music, having toured in 20 countries including
performances for the King of Swaziland and the President of Mozambique.
'These daring musical deconstructionists have become the prime movers in a
crop of talented bands injecting new life and an exciting contemporary
dynamic into traditional Welsh music' .
LIVE BAND LINE-UP
Julie Murphy vocals
Richard Llewellyn guitar
Cass Meurig fiddle
Tomos Williams trumpet
Andy Coughlan double bass
Paradoxically they only had one Welsh member when they achieved national
attention, bagpiper and guitarist Ceri Rhys Matthews from the Swansea valley.
Yet Essex-born Julie Murphy has lived in Wales for many years and, totally
absorbed in the culture and history of the country, sings confidently in the
Welsh language when the occasion demands it. Not that they play exclusively
Welsh music. They also perform English folk songs, impassioned Breton tunes
and vibrant French songs while fully embracing the modern roots ideology,
introducing the influences of their many travels, notably African and Eastern
Julie Murphy met Ceri Matthews at art college in Maidstone, and when the
course was over she returned to Wales with him, learning the language and
absorbing the culture. Although she had no folk background to speak of,
Murphy developed a natural feel for performing traditional songs, and she and
Matthews started working as a duo. They met Jonathan Shorland in 1986 when
they were on the same bill at the Pontardawe folk festival. Shorland joined
them on stage playing the pibgorn, a Welsh horn pipe, and they started
working together with three other musicians as a music and art group called
Raised in the New Forest, Shorland had become obsessed by reed instruments as
a devotee of David Munro’s music programme on Radio 3 while at Aberystwyth
University. He became an expert in Celtic traditions, learning to make
bagpipes and travelling extensively in Eastern Europe and Brittany, playing
regularly with Breton musicians. He is said to be the first person to
introduce the bombard into Welsh music.
Murphy teamed up with Blowzabella’s ex-hurdy gurdy player Nigel Eaton,
resulting in the experimental Whirling Pope Joan project which made a big
impact with its alternative rhythms and challenging material. Also involved
in the project was Andy Cutting, a melodeon and accordion ace from Harrow
brought up in a family steeped in English traditional music. When invited on
a British Council tour in Gaza, Murphy invited Andy Cutting to accompany her.
When in 1996 Tim Healey of Beautiful Jo Records invited Julie Murphy, Ceri
Matthews and Jonathan Shorland to contribute to a compilation of Celtic
music, they roped in Andy Cutting.
The result was Fernhill, who have subsequently toured extensively and
produced a series of fine albums which reaffirm the rich spirit of Welsh folk
music while moving boldly into new areas. Mixing oboe with bagpipes, diatonic
accordion, guitar and numerous other instruments they have challenged all
preconceptions about folk music, recognising no dividing line between Welsh
dance music and the roots music of Kenya, Pakistan or any point beyond.
They now work mainly as a trio of Murphy, Matthews and Cutting, but all are
involved with other musicians as they strive to break down further barriers
between musical style and the audience it appeals to.
They have recorded three critically acclaimed albums; the latest, Whilia, was
a top twenty album in the Folk Roots poll 2000. Fernhill created a new
musical landscape from the indigenous dance rhythms and folk poetry of Wales.
Julie Murphy's passionate singing combined with guitar, fiddle, double bass
and trumpet produces a sound both gutsy and enchanting.
In 2001 the band contributed a performance to the film 'Beautiful Mistake'
about the Welsh music scene which includes performances by James Dean
Bradfield, Catatonia, Super Furry Animals, and Gorkys Zygotic Mynci. Julie
Murphy also collaborated with ex velvet underground member John Cale; he
accompanied her on a track from her solo album Black Mountains Revisited (a
MOJO folk album of 99).
6. The renaissance of Welsh traditional music
Manic Street Preachers, Catatonia and even Tom Jones assure Welsh people that
their identity is not naff. Gorki's Zygotic Mynki, Super Furry Animals and
Datblygu prove that indeed it's cool - and that singing in Welsh is no
obstacle to commercial success. People are beginning to remember that the
Velvet Underground founder member John Cale's first language is Welsh
(earlier this year he was in Cardiff working with musicians who prefer to
perform in it).
Neil Browning is part of a growing movement in Wales, one that is not out
to preserve the old folk music, but to make it come alive, to breathe again.
While he has a great knowledge and respect for the old tunes and the old ways,
he is not hestitant to push it as much as the song requires.
Neil has contributed three pieces to the festival. The first is straight
traditional music for accordion, guitar and bodhran. The second is an
original tune that is decidedly contemporary, adventuring into a global turf
while still maintaining a distinct Welsh air to it. The third is another
traditional tune (title unknown), but with the accompaniment of classical
guitar, it takes on a new and different feeling.
Nansi Richards plays orally learned melodies and variations with clarity
and passion. Her variations are vibrant, ringing out with the sound only a
triple-strung harp can make. She also plays the more common single-strung harp
beautifully on several of the tracks.
There are many reasons for this renewed self-confidence; the growing appetite
for the music of other cultures, a degree of political autonomy and, not
least, the success of those who did devote themselves to the cause of Welsh.
They may not have produced much great music, but they assured that not only
is the language surviving, people can converse in it in some security, relax
and just get on with life.
So they are beginning to look about them, hack their way through the
overgrown and almost forgotten paths to the spring of their traditional
music. It's still flowing. The new Rough Guide to the Music of Wales CD opens
with a harp tune by Llio Rhydderch, who was brought up in a master-pupil
teaching tradition that stretches back to the fourteenth century. There's
also a recording she made of her teacher Nansi Richards, who was steeped in
the aesthetic and technique of eighteenth century harpers. What is striking
and refreshing about both players is their power. If you find most Celtic
harp music plinking and fey, the strength as well as the beauty of this
ancient music will be a welcome surprise.
The Welsh tradition is untouched," says Neil Woollard, gleefully. "So the
music is more open to interpretation. I know we've got the perfect
opportunity here, setting the parameters of what you can do.
Tradition" is the organic element of world culture. Pop music by its very
nature is disposable. The only future for a great pop song is as nostalgia.
The tradition however is timeless and recyclable and is renewed as each
generation discovers its roots. - Billy Bragg, musician