While I was eating dinner in a pub, the big screen was showing the preliminaries to a repeat of the USA v Wales football/soccer world cup game, with the sound turned down. The teams came out and lined up and the two national anthems were played and sung. Looking very carefully, I could just see the USA team members’ mouths moving, but they clearly weren’t putting much effort into it. The Welsh team members, on the other hand, were actually singing. I even mouth-read the word Gwlad (country). It wasn’t lip-reading, it was mouth-reading, like, their whole mouth. Sing (or don’t (see the Iranian team before their match)). Just don’t be wishy-washy about it.
Today is Saint David’s Day. He was an early Welsh bishop and is the patron saint of Wales. No doubt many renditions of Mae hen wlad fy nhadau will be rendered from Cardiff to Holyhead. I am not an expert in Welsh, so I will keep this to my own experience.
When I was young, one of my piano tutor books had many songs from many countries, including this one. I remember that the title was given as O land of my fathers and the words entirely in English. The first line was O land of my fathers, O land dear to me, but I can’t remember enough of the rest of it to attempt to reproduce it, and the internet doesn’t seem to have it.
The first two words of the chorus were Great land. I now know that the original is Gwlad, gwlad, meaning country, countryside, nation.Continue reading