By Chris Jones, 2018-01-16
Searching for Songs
Hi my name is Chris Jones, I'm a traditional folk singer and musician from Wales. A member here on Americymru who is interested in the Welsh musical history and heritage of America. I suppose I'm doing the opposite to Welsh Americans who investigate their Welsh ancestry. My project is the reverse as I'm particularly interested in investigating Welsh folk music that would have been taken to America by the ancestors of today's Welsh Americans and rediscovering (hopefully) sources that still exist-particularly those that remain undiscovered, uncatalogued and unpublished.
Perhaps there are collections that exist which Americymru members may be aware of, catalogued or yet to be catalogued in community or city museums? Perhaps you know of collections bequeathed to Universities or colleges and may be unresearched? Perhaps some members here know of unpublished PHD theses that studied Welsh history particularly our folk music, song and lore.
In addition I'm looking for archived collections, as I'm also very interested in family, community and personal accounts and stories remembered till this day. Family heirlooms such as books or documents and collections which may contain or reference song lyrics or tunes from Wales. And, of course families memories, written accounts of the Welsh immigrant experience in America: memoirs, biographical or autobiographical that members here might want to share. Are there Welsh folk songs waiting to be rediscovered?
My project is primarily looking for Welsh folk songs that might have made it across the Atlantic and sung in Welsh communities in America, but have been "lost". And my long term plan is to collect enough rediscovered songs to reintroduce them into the Welsh repertoire and record them onto an album. But please do respond with any information regarding the Welsh American immigrant experience in either Welsh or English, as who knows what gems may be found?
If you are curious about my music and want to hear what I do then please click this link to my new website on:
Yn Ddiffuant (sincerely)
Rimrock opera company in America will perform Joseph Parry’s Blodwen (the first Welsh opera) – yn Gymraeg! [in Welsh!]
By gaabi, 2018-01-16
By AmeriCymru, 2018-01-08
By Ceri Shaw, 2017-12-26
By Paul Steffan Jones AKA, 2017-12-24
The loss of the supernatural weighs
as heavily on us
as the loss of our religion
we invent new terrors
the latest monsters
surreal serial killers
privileged politicians that condemn
thousands to slow deaths
by favouring the rich
instead of the poor
what occasionally appears
in the corner of an eye?
what does one divine
in the embers of a fire
one has stared at unceasingly
for a whole wordless evening?
what is heard above the crackle
of a hearing aid
when the wind bends branches
and is somehow transformed
into footsteps on roof tiles
as one is separated from sleep?
we are haunted
so bring me my ghosts
before the replaying
of days and daylight begins again
all the old spectres congregate
in the camouflaged fog chapel
that is the meeting place of their calling
closer to Heaven
in what was once called
the cast includes the celebrities
of my land’s theatre of haunting
the corpse candles
highlighting imminent death
the bwcas that preceded
then made mischief for miners
the fair folk the fairy folk
known as the tylwyth teg
and revenant sin eaters
who gorged on surfeits of sin
and the spirits of ordinary
and extraordinary sinners
dogs and magpies
we enjoy illusory freedom
and unjustified notions
of our own independence
our elbows perpetually jostled
by endless distractions
and chapters of false narrative
I fantasise about phantom football teams
playing in a dead Premier league
unseen in video playback
as an antidote to endless TV
shot in poorly lit US constructions
purporting to show scenes
unsettled by poltergeists
we are haunted
so bring me my ghosts
John MOuse reunites with Sweet Baboo for his fifth album 'Replica Figures' released 19th February 2018
By Ceri Shaw, 2017-12-21
By AmeriCymru, 2017-12-13
By Meurig Williams, 2017-12-08
I have recently published this book at Amazon about the noted Welshman Goronwy Rees.
Meurig W Williams email@example.com
GORONWY REES, GUY BURGESS’ “most intimate friend” flew too close to the sun
ABOUT THE BOOK
Goronwy Rees is best known for his close friendship with Guy Burgess, one of the Cambridge Five Cold War spies, and how that ruined his career and his life. His convoluted motivations remain an enigma. Here we interpret his life in terms of current understanding of human behavior. Rees was a handsome, athletic, charming and brilliant but self-destructive man. He rose from a modest Welsh background to become in 1931, at the age of 21, a fellow of All Souls College, Oxford which was a center of the powerful English Establishment. Now having access to the corridors of power, he attracted the attention of Guy Burgess who informed him that he was a Soviet agent. Rees was easily drawn into the powerful vortex of Burgess’ charm and manipulative prowess and was recruited by him, perhaps against his better judgement, largely as a consequence of his poorly developed sense of identity, a phenomenon that was not well understood at that time. That intense relationship, which lasted through Rees’ marriage and a variety of jobs, ended when Burgess disappeared in 1951. Rees immediately realized that he had gone to the Soviet Union and, strangely, attempted to inform the authorities. Having lost his closest friend, in order to feel fully alive again, Rees felt a need for a new challenge, and to continue to live life his own way, regardless of conventional values of society. Such an opportunity arose in 1953 when he accepted the Principalship of a provincial Welsh university which was fraught with complex challenges. The following year, a new President of the university was elected who opposed Rees’ plans, disliked him personally and waited for an opportunity to move against him. To make matters worse, Burgess surfaced to considerable fanfare in Moscow in 1956, proving that he was a spy. Those two unrelated and unanticipated events transformed what Rees had considered to be acceptable levels of risk into a major threat. To which Rees overreacted by attempting to distance himself from Burgess by writing angry letters to a newspaper, describing him as a corrupt man, spy, blackmailer, homosexual and a drunk. As the result of a ‘trial’ by the university authorities, which revealed their own backwater prejudices more than any wrongdoing by Rees, other than showing poor judgement, he lost his Principalship. For exposing Burgess, Rees was vilified by the English for violating E.M.Forster’s dictum that “If I had to choose between betraying my country and betraying my friend, I hope I should have the guts to betray my country”, which was a cultural foundation of the English Establishment into which he had been accepted. And he was vilified by the Welsh Establishment for betraying Welsh cultural values in his position as Principal. An unfortunate consequence being that he failed to get the recognition he deserved as a writer of distinction.
The degree of Rees’ involvement in espionage was inconsequential, based on published evidence, but may not be fully determined on account of unreleased British government files. We make the case that, in spite of their many common personality characteristics, Rees differed fundamentally from Burgess in that he was a constructive but flawed person, whereas the evil Burgess was hell-bent on destroying his country and himself. The opinions of Rees’ closest friends must be respected. Some thought that perhaps he never grew up, and just enjoyed the pleasures of the moment, especially those of being attractive to women sexually, and to men who were dazzlingly brilliant outsiders like himself. One admirer wrote that “If he had not held pleasure to be his first principle, he might have suffered dismaying attacks of responsibility and ambition, in which case he could not have given so many of us over so many years such delight in his company”.
When does a reasonable level of risk become untenable? Only those who will risk going too far can possibly find out how far one can go. T.S. Eliot.
In Greek mythology, Daedalus and his son Icarus were imprisoned on Crete but escaped after Daedalus made wings out of wax and feathers for himself and Icarus. Before taking off, Daedalus warned Icarus not to fly too close to the sun or the wax would melt his wings. Icarus of course did exactly the opposite of what his father said, the sun melted the wax on his wings, the feathers fell off and he fell into the sea and drowned.
The danger with accepting risk is that unanticipated factors can transform the risk into disaster. For Icarus, the risk was flying with feathered wings. The unanticipated factor was the heat of the sun. Rees took two major risks. One was his friendship with Guy Burgess, knowing that he was a Soviet spy. The unanticipated factor was Burgess’ appearance in Moscow, creating an international furore, thus proving his espionage and posing a threat to Rees’ career. The other risk was acceptance of the Principalship at a provincial university which posed known major challenges. The unanticipated factor was the election of a new President at the university who opposed Rees’ policies, disliked him personally and waited for an opportunity to move against him. One followed the other closely, and Rees responded to the cumulative stress by writing a colorful and detailed exposé of Burgess which ended his academic career and to a large extent ruined his life. He had flown too close to the sun.
II WHAT WAS THE BASIS OF REES’ FRIENDSHIP WITH BURGESS?
III INTRODUCTION TO PERSONALITY STYLES
IV GORONWY REES’ PERSONALITY STYLES
V EARLY DAYS
VII THE LADY NOVELIST PHASE
VIII A VARIETY OF UNRELATED JOBS
IX A PERSPECTIVE ON WALES AND ABERYSTWYTH
X THE ABERYSTWYTH PRINCIPALSHIP
XI THE LATER YEARS
XII SO WHO WAS GORONWY REES?
XIIa …. IN BRIEF
XIII GUY BURGESS
XIV HENRY YORKE
XV JOHN SPARROW
XVI MAURICE BOWRA
XVII APPENDIX. ON RELIGION, CLASS, HYPOCRISY, ENLIGHTENMENT AND HOMOSEXUALITY IN 20TH CENTURY BRITAIN
By Ceri Shaw, 2017-12-05