I decided, quite early in the drafting process, that I wanted to use the song Ar Hyd y Nos to forge a connection between Rhys and Bridie. Ar Hyd y Nos, is a traditional welsh folk song that was first recorded in in 1784 in Edward Jones’ Musical and Poetical Relicks of the Welsh Bards. However, the Welsh words now associated with the tune were written by John Ceriog Hughes much later in the nineteenth century than Rhys’s voyage to Port Phillip.
The original Welsh words were indeed a love song and not particularly inspiring (it is amazing how many of the words to songs and hymns we know and love were written later than the setting of this novel). Rhys therefore decided to write his own version of the song based on the story of ‘The lady of the Lake’. He tells the story of ‘The Lady of Llyn y Fan Fach’ – Lake of the Small Peak – early in the novel and refers to it thereafter.
My friend, first Welsh teacher, harpist and choir director, Faleiry Kockzar, helped transform my learner’s Welsh into Rhys’s haunting version of the song entitled: The Song of Ianto’s Grief. Which Karla Quadara, classical singer and fellow Welsh learner, has been good enough to record. She also recorded Cyfri y Geifr a traditional folk song which Rhys likewise sings in steerage.
I hope you enjoy them!
The Song of Ianto’s Grief
Karla is a twenty four year old singer from Melbourne, Australia. In 2017, she completed an Advanced Certificate in Singing from Trinity College London. Her past credits include a role in WATERDALE’s production of Parade, and multiple appearances as a guest soloist in Kate Sadler’s biannual Southgate Sings concerts. Having learned Welsh, she intends to compete in the National Eisteddfod in Wales next year, before seeking work there as a classical singer.