Saturday, September 18, 2010

The Very Best of Welsh Choirs

My daughter Amy has been been urging me to watch a BBC America show called The Choir and finally I got some time to watch their current episodes about a community near Watford, UK.  It touched me a lot to see the people come together as a community through singing.  In some other episodes they profile an all boys school without a tradition of singing and how the director Gareth Malone was able to enlist boys to sing the choir and began a tradition in the school. 
If I had not had music and singing I probably would not have survived my teenage years.  It was the one thing that I felt somewhat accomplished.  Another of my memories have been the feelings that I get when listening to a Welsh Male chorus.  There is just something about the tradition and the timbre of the sound.  It always give me goosebumps.

According to some research, "Welsh male voice choirs appeared at around the turn of the 19th century when coal miners got together to give voice to their woes. Some became world famous, including the Treorchy Male Choir, the ­Morriston Orpheus Choir and the Cor Meibion Pontypridd Male Voice Choir. Others were based on rugby, including the Cardiff Arms Park Male Choir and the Morriston Rugby Choir, while the Pontarddulais Male Choir had its roots in a youth choir." 

A BBC site about the Welsh Choir Music Tradition discusses that as early as 1198, the Welsh were impressing their listeners.   It was said ""When they make music together, they sing their songs not in unison, as is done elsewhere, but in that in a crowd of would hear as many songs and different intervals as you could see heads; yet they all accord..."

The recording The Very Best of Welsh Choirs has collection of mostly live performances of the most well known Male Choirs
The Morriston Orpheus Choir is one of the most well known choirs and have many selections on the recording. One of my favorites is a song called Myfanwy.  Apparently the song is taken from a myth.
Another selection that the Choir does on the recording is We'll Keep a Welcome.

Anyway we'll keep a welcome here for you if your return.  Thanks for putting up with my compulsivity.

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