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Welsh Shanties and sea songs

Welsh Shanties and sea songs

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A new, multi-artist album with tracks by some of Wales’ foremost folk performers: Gwilym Bowen Rhys, Lleucu Gwawr, Côr Meibion Carnguwch, Meinir Gwilym & Gwenan Gibbard, Iwan Huws, Einir Humphreys, Elidyr Glyn, Gethin Griffiths, Côr yr Heli, Cynefin, Dewi ‘Pws’ Morris, Lowri Evans, Twm Morys & Gwyneth Glyn, Hogia Llanbobman and Mair Tomos Ifans.


The shanties are an integral part of our musical heritage here in Wales. Scholar, poet and songwriter J Glyn Davies is credited with collecting and preserving these songs and for creating and popularising a body of sea songs and shanties representing the Welsh sailors’ life at sea. Many of the songs in his collections, Cerddi Huw Puw and Cerddi Portinllaen, were melodies he heard from Caernarfonshire sailors and at the Welsh Harp tavern in Liverpool at the end of the 19th century and the beginning of the 20th century. He also composed many of the songs in his collections and succeeded in portraying a vivid picture of the old Welsh way of life along the coast of the Llŷn Peninsula in north west Wales, an area as noted by J Glyn Davies “permeated with sea life.” Historically, shanties are rare in the Welsh tradition but there are plenty of ballads and many sea songs which date back to the 19th century and earlier. Today, J Glyn Davies’ renowned collections form the body of what we regard today as our traditional sea songs and shanties and these songs are still alive and thriving on the tongues of the people. Originally used as work songs on board ships of all shapes and sizes, travelling to all corners of the globe, the shanties soon made their way to be part of the tradition of the land and became fashionable favourites. As you will hear on this album, the beautiful, sometimes rugged coastline of Wales is enriched with stories and songs of the sea, from the north to the south, and many of the old favourites here sit side by side with newly composed songs in the traditional mode. A deep longing for home, light-hearted misadventures, historical context, stories and legends, excotic far-away place names, sorrow, tragedy and loss – these songs have it all and their ever-popular appeal continue to inspire.


  1. Sianti Gymraeg (Gwilym Bowen Rhys)
  2. Llongau Caernarfon (Lleucu Gwawr)
  3. Fflat Huw Puw (Côr Meibion Carnguwch)
  4. Porthdinllaen (Meinir Gwilym/Gwenan Gibbard)
  5. Tywydd Mawr (Iwan Glyn Hughes)
  6. Teg edrych tuag adref (Einir Humphreys)
  7. Mae’r gwynt yn deg (Gwilym Bowen Rhys/ Elidyr Glyn/Gethin Griffiths)
  8. Harbwr San Ffransisco (Côr yr Heli)
  9. Cân Pysgotwyr Cei Newydd (Cynefin)
  10. Rownd yr Horn (Dewi Morris)
  11. Santiana (Lowri Evans)
  12. Arfor (Gwyneth Glyn/Twm Morys)
  13. Harbwr Corc (Hogia Llanbobman)
  14. Baled Gwraig y Morwr (Mair Tomos Ifans)
  15. Clychau Cantre’r Gwaelod (Elidyr Glyn)
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