Tuesday, 20 December 2011

BBC = Beer Bell Carols


Last evening it was time for something different and very welcome - a drink!

Before this the church choir of All Saints & Llanllwchaiarn had been to an old folks home with its hot and dry atmosphere but with the bonus of a chance to speak Welsh ... great.
Then on to the Bell (opposite All Saints where another carol event was going on).
We had a good time singing to anyone who was around at the time.

Last Sunday we sang outside our local supermarket for quite a long time with the added extra of hand-bell ringers (the group is still in the midst of formation) and a brass group - 4 young children and a few adults - they were amazing.

Today it is off to the local hospital to sing to a few folks there along with the brass band again.

Thursday, 15 December 2011


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Yes - another Plygain service but this time one for 'Welsh Learners'.
Yet they came from far and wide to join in this celebration of Christmas using the old carols. Some had not got home the night before until two in the morning, being greeted by snow on the mountains. There is such generosity among these groups. After the learners had been given first spot by a little word in the ear to the other groups we were able to relax knowing that we were safe to sing our second song in the second half also. The reason being is that no one knows who will sing, for there is no order or what song they will sing either. If a song is sang once it will not be repeated in the rest of the evening, hence the vast collection of song held at the ready by these singers and groups. 

At this time of year until the end of January there are lots of plygain services each week and they will all be well attended. Long may they continue. 

Wednesday, 14 December 2011

ANOTHER PLYGAIN ... what a treat!

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The tiny outside turned out to be a big surprise. The inside was much bigger and filled with plygain groups from far and wide, from near Aberystwyth to Wrexham, Oswestry and Welshpool. Groups, two's, three's, ten and more with a soloist thrown in for good measure. Professor and farmers all coming together to sing to the glory of God in words from the Old & New Testaments. These are not shows of wonderful costume or the prima donna. The clothes are ordinary, sometimes even dull, for these are sometimes old farmers, not concerned with such things. They are smart in their own way, not modern! There is no clapping or cheering or pointless wolf whistles. This is not the place of the long gaps and the inevitable 'AND THE WINNER IS!!!!!! ......'. They come - do there bit - and sit down. Some groups will be ever so slightly 'out of tune' ... but no one will mention it, while others will be so close in harmony as to send a shiver down the spine.
Well - once again I got to sing the 'Carol y Swper' - The Supper Carol then a quick practice with the wonderful Rhiannon Ifan (author and a scholar from the University of Wales Centre for Advanced Welsh and Celtic Studies) before being invited to eat a real treat of a very late supper - for the time was now about half past ten or close to eleven at night. Well WHAT NEXT?

Saturday, 10 December 2011


Posted by Picasa Last night I was able to fulfil an ambition ... to be able to sing with a proper Plygain group.
PARTI CUT LLOI (I think 'Little Calf Shed' ... or something similar in Welsh) is a local group of men under the wonderful leading of Sian James.
We heard at Kerry Church a full range of songs from Plygain to solo singing and penyllion. The penillion is a traditional form of Welsh singing poetry, accompanied by the harp, in which the singer and harpist follow different melodies so the stressed syllables of the poem coincide with accented beats of the harp melody. Sian finished, singing with the harp, showing another Welsh tradition, that of seeing who can sing the fastest, usually in a song about goats. Goats of all shapes, sizes and every colour under the sun. I didn't know so many words could fit in so small a space.

At the end of the concert the men were invited to come to the front to join in the 'The Supper Carol'. Although this is often traditionally followed by a supper, the carol is looking forward to not to Jesus' first coming but to His second coming, the start of the wedding supper.
I was able to share and sing with the deep deep bass on the left of the picture. Oh, it was good ... I want more!

Monday, 5 December 2011


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Once again I have to find new paintings for our wall as two pieces of work find new homes, one in Drenewydd the other in the hills above Cwmbran. Goodbye dear friends.


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