Anyone up for lyrics challenge - Haleliwia

Shwmai pawb, I am new to SSi and this is my first post on the Forum. I was looking for Welsh songs and found the version of “Hallelujah” by Brigyn. At first I was really excited because this is one of my all time favourite songs however, when I saw the English translation of their lyrics they appear to have written a completely different song and simply set it to Leonard Cohen’s tune. “Ah ha!” I thought, I wonder if anyone has ever translated the proper lyrics into Welsh and/or if anyone wanted to join me having a crack at this (obviously not intending to perform it or make money off it in any way so no copyright issues, just a bit of a language challenge). Beth 'chi’n meddwl?


A warm welcome to the forum, Sion! This sounds like a great idea, and I’m sure Brigyn wouldn’t mind - if you post the lyrics, I’m sure plenty of us can help chip in with bits of translation… :slight_smile:

So i assume you mean translate the original English words to welsh.
For those who want home work (gwaith cartref) i will put here the first verse.

Now I’ve heard there was a secret chord.
That David played and it pleased the lord.
But you don’t really care for music, do you?
It goes like this: the fourth, the fifth,
The minor fall, the major lift,
The baffled king composing Hallelujah.

Cheers J.P. (this could produce some interesting options on the learning trail).

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I heard Sian Cothi singing it on Radio Cymru a while ago, but I didn’t manage to work out if she was singing the ‘proper’ words or not. I remember vaguely wondering at the time…

Yup, those are the words and as a first stab, here is my clumsy effort…

Wel, clwais rhoedd cord gyfrinach
Bod Dewi ‘di chwarae a on hi’n os gwelwch yn dda i’r Arglwydd
Ond dw’ti ddim yn wir poeni am cerddoriaeth, on’ti?
Wel mea’n mynd fwl ‘ma: yr pedwerydd, yr pumed
Yr gostyngiad man, ac yr codi fawr
Mae’r brenin drysu cyfansoddi Haleliwia

This is an attempt to translate the words first - I suppose they then need to be made more elegant so they will fit into the tune

If it is this Sian Cothi rendition (, then it is the Brigyn version.

You can tell because it has the word “Seren” (star) in the first line and the second line ends with “Bethlehem”

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Diolch yn fawr iawn Aran,

The full lyrics are:-

Well I heard there was a secret chord
That David played and it pleased the Lord
But you don’t really care for music, do you?
Well it goes like this: the fourth, the fifth
The minor fall and the major lift
The baffled king composing Hallelujah

Hallelujah [x4]

Your faith was strong but you needed proof
You saw her bathing on the roof
Her beauty and the moonlight overthrew you
She tied you to her kitchen chair
She broke your throne and she cut your hair
And from your lips she drew the Hallelujah

Hallelujah [x4]

Baby I’ve been here before
I’ve seen this room and I’ve walked this floor (you know)
I used to live alone before I knew you
And I’ve seen your flag on the marble arch
And love is not a victory march
It’s a cold and it’s a broken Hallelujah

Hallelujah [x4]

There was a time when you let me know
What’s really going on below
But now you never show that to me, do you?
But remember when I moved in you
And the holy dove was moving too
And every breath we drew was Hallelujah

Hallelujah [x4]

Maybe there’s a God above
All I’ve ever learned from love
Was how to shoot somebody who outdrew you
And it’s not a cry that you hear at night
It’s not somebody who’s seen the light
It’s a cold and it’s a broken Hallelujah

Hallelujah [x13]

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I suppose that with the song being used a pseudo carol, post X Factor, it needed a change in lyric. Don’t get me wrong, I have always been a fan of Leonard Cohen, I just wouldn’t push the original words at Christmas :slight_smile:


Just for the record, the ‘Brigyn’ version wasn’t written by them but by someone else as an entry in a local Eisteddfod in Pen Llŷn. Brigyn took it up and got Leonard Cohen’s blessing before releasing it as a single some years ago.


Wow Rob, that’s a little known snippet - many thanks

I’ve had a go at this verse. I’ve changed the tense from “I have” to just “I saw” or “I walked”. It’s a hard old job this translation malarky!!

Cariad, dw i ‘di bod yma o’r flaen,
Gwelais y 'stafell ‘ma, a cherddais y llawr
Roeddwn i’n byw ar fy mhen fy hun
Cyn imi dy nabod di
A gwelais dy faner ar Marble Arch
Ymdaith buddugoliaeth nad cariad yw fe
Oer a ‘di torri yw’r Haleliwia


Yes come to think of it, I think I noticed that Sian Cothi was singing something a bit different and wondered if it was slightly more child friendly, but promptly forgot again. Maybe I should get hold of those lyrics. My 10 year old plays the ukulele and belts out the original version (that she found in a book) with great enthusiasm. I try to distract in the face of potential grandparent-type audience! :neutral_face:

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Umm… Not really…


Hm, diolch! Just not a particularly child friendly song, you have to say!

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LOL, guns and barbed wire! The original words aren’t particularly festive but the new ones are even worse (hence wanting to revert to the old ones). It’s a shame because the tune is so emotional and, as John said, it is used as a psuedo carol.

Anthony, that is an amazing translation of the 3rd verse! My vocab is still really limited so I’m going to go through it and relate all the words - thanks

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Oh, sorry - sloppy reading from me, I thought you wanted the English for Brigyn’s lyrics…!

As for translating the English lyrics into Welsh - my money would say you need a poet for that…:wink:

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I think you are right Aran. It’s one thing to translate the words into Welsh but then they won’t fit the music very well and so they need to be amended and this will take someone who knows enough Welsh to know other ways of saying the same thing that might be a better fit - way beyond my current vocab level but an interesting project


It’s good vocab practice. Gets you thinking. I write short prose to get me using different words. I’m not a rote learner. I need context for my memory to kick in. So lists of words…never gonna stick. This though buddugoliaeth is in there…for now.

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People could write their own verse/s using words and phrases they do know.
could be amusing if they wish.
Maybe a good way to work with what we know and hopefully progress.

Cheers J.P. (currently trying to think of something that rhymes with Haleliwia).