various artists,
The Music of Wales:
The Folk Collection/Y Casgliad Gwerin

(Sain, 2004)

Another folk anthology from the Land of Song -- from Neil Browning to Pigyn Clust and from Rachel to Mim Twm Llai, this is a highly accessible collection of Cymru's (Wales') most popular folk artists, all singing in the national language.

It's a nice package of folk for all tastes, but should be taken as a brief introduction, not the final word on folk music in Wales today. Each of these tracks is from a recent Sain album. If you like a particular artist here, you can find out more.

This is indeed a great selection of artists, truly Sain's A-list -- even if one could question the choices made from their work. "Tatws Penfro" is one of Crasdant's strongest tracks, but I wonder at the Sian James track included as first cut on the CD; "Pan ddoi adre'n ol" is certainly not one of my favorites from her work. Nor is "Llun" the strongest Gwerinos has to offer. But Meic Stevens' "Yysbryd Solfa" fits nicely as does Gwenno's "Tryweryn" (also a Meic Stevens song).

Highlights include Carreg Lafar's energetic take on "Profiad" and above all, Plethyn's "Mil Harddach Wyt." Although Plethyn has not performed or recorded much new music lately their inimitable three-part harmonies remain Cymru's greatest gift to the world of folk music. Carreg Lafar might turn out to be the one band from Wales that can carry on Plethyn's legacy.

Although there have been many attempts to cover this ground in recent years there has not been, to my knowledge, one recording that unites the major recording labels of Wales and the top artists in one package. What is needed is one two or three CD set that achieves this. Lyrics would be nice, too! Meantime we have this and other recent collections that, together, tell a very positive story about the way music in Wales is developing.

- Rambles
written by David Cox
published 26 March 2005

Buy it from