Old Welsh Hymns

I am a beginner and have found listening to Welsh hymns to be a very effective means of learning pronunciation - I always have a couple of gymanfa CDs in the car.
Whilst some words are rarely heard in informal conversation, the ‘rules’ of pronunciation remain the same regardless of context. I’m not a natural linguist (very far from it) but my pronunciation has led tutors to ask if I used to speak Welsh as a child. I didn’t, and have lived in London for 47 years.


Hi Joseph. I enjoy listening to Welsh hymns too, because my uncle sings in a Welsh male voice choir so I grew up listening to their recordings which obviously included a lot of hymns. I’m not a religious person, but there is certainly something about those old hymns. I can see why people would not recommend using them to learn the language, but if you like listening to them anyway then they can only add to your understanding, I’m sure. Yes, the spoken language might be different, but I have found that they help me remember vocabulary even if they don’t help me form sentences. I discovered ‘clean’ and ‘blood’ from Y Gwahoddiad, for example. And like Pererin (which is a name I actually understand from having listened to hymns), it has often helped my pronunciation too.

You can buy and download music from Amazon - I remember seeing various versions of Gwahoddiad on there a while back. If they are still doing free trials of Amazon Prime, you can get temporary access to these and others for free.

Carole :slight_smile:


Good morning Pererin.

That is very impressive.

I prefer to listen to solo singers as the words can be heard clearer.

As well they are to be accompanied by either flute, guitar or harp. The reason for this is because those instruments relax you and it is easier to learn while relaxed.

May Jehovah bless you with an attentive ear and mind to become an excellent Welsh speaker.

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Good morning Carole.

Wow, that is impressive about your uncle. My grandma’s sisters grandson sang in the Welsh boys choir. I would like one day to get in contact with him.

Yes the old hymns have much more meaning to them that the modern ones. There are a few Welsh hymns I have downloaded for free from YouTube. Are all Welshmen and women frugal (some call it cheap skates or tight wads :laughing:) like my family?

I really love listening to Charlotte Church. Boy has she ever got a beautiful voice.

Enjoy being serenaded by your uncle and expanding your vocabulary through those wonderful Hymns.

[quote=“Godwalker, post:13, topic:10477”]
Are all Welshmen and women frugal (some call it cheap skates or tight wads :laughing:) like my family?
[/quote] Are your family from Cardiganshire? :wink:

[quote=“Godwalker, post:13, topic:10477”]
I really love listening to Charlotte Church. Boy has she ever got a beautiful voice.
[/quote]She has. Voice of an Angel, but brain of Angel Delight.

Just to say - we don’t do this kind of talk on the SSiW forum. Nothing unpleasant/unkind/demeaning/rude is acceptable here.

Please read the forum rules:

Forum rules - Welsh

Thank you for bearing this in mind in future posts :slight_smile:


@aran Sorry. It’s a well-known quip in Wales so I assumed it would be ok to repeat it. I thought it was much the same as my well-known quip about Cardis.
Thank you for pointing out my mistake. I’ll be more careful in future.


We all make mistakes. The important thing is to learn from them.

I am sure you have learned from your mistake.

I looked it up in wikipedia.org what angel delight is and it sounds like what we call pudding here in Canada.

I am not referring to the person but to the food when I ask how it got its name?

Here in Canada we have something called angels food cake. It is the only cake I like to eat. I do not know how it got its name though so please do not ask.

I downloaded a song called “Here is love as vast as the ocean.” sung by a woman (I wish I could find out her name). It is so beautiful it makes me cry every time I hear it (which is every night) while I sing along with it.

I hear you have a little bit of windy weather over there in Europe. Winter is crazy here this year. One week we have balmy weather, the next cold enough to make a polar bear shiver.

Have a great weekend.

Marketing, I think. If you whip enough air into it, it becomes as light as an angel, or something like that.

Since angel food cake is also whipped, maybe the name comes from a similar idea, though I admit that I’m just guessing.


Angel Delight is a children’s pudding/dessert – a whipped fluffy mouse full of air but having no substance.

'Here is love vast as the ocean (‘Dyma gariad fel y moroedd’) is a wonderful hymn. The two original Welsh verses were written in the 1870s by William Rees, bardic name Gwilym Hiraethog. It became known as the love song of the 1904-5 revival in Wales.
During the revival, Dyma Gariad was sung to the tune ‘Ebeneser’, and still is sometimes when the Welsh words are sung. It’s in a minor key. I prefer it sung to a tune composed by American Robert Lowry which he called ‘Cymraeg’. In Wales it is known as ‘Dim Ond Iesu’. I don’t know how his tune came to have a Welsh name.
Here it is sung by Katherine Jenkins, a Welsh mezzo-soprano: www.youtube.com/watch?v=GpEaflHQbwI
And here by Welsh tenor Huw Priday during the revival centenary celebrations in 2004: www.youtube.com/watch?v=APrUPPC8bFY

Yes, there’s been some windy weather around. I live in London which generally escapes extreme weather.
Welsh preacher: “and the Lord caused it to rain 40 days and 40 nights.”
Whispered quip by a member of the congregation: “Only 40? That wouldn’t be a bad summer in Wales.” :slight_smile:

Have a good weekend.
Pob bendith.

Yes, Katherine Jenkins comes from Neath. A couple of miles from us. Come to think of it, my Wife’s maiden name is Jenkins. Perhaps we are related :wink:

Hi Rob.

That is very interesting, thank you.

I know angle food cake is very light. Just when it was almost done someone would walk into the house and slam the door, poof would go the cake. Mom would cry. I guess you do not try to bake something like that with a house full of boys.

Hi Pob.

Thanks for explaining angels delight. It sounds like cotton candy here that we only get when the fair is on. I do not prefer it.

Okay, now I do not want to get any hairs ruffled but could you please explain why the Welsh are called taffy?

Grandma always referred to herself as a taffy but when mom called a nurse friend of hers from Wales that she got pretty hot under the collar. Mom was shocked by it. She did not explain why and it was water under the bridge. At the fall fair they sell a sweet called taffy and I really like it. I love to learn about different cultures.
Here in Canada we are called Canuks (most do not know it is Eskimo but I do not know what it means). Nobody is offended by it.

Thanks for the good laugh. I did not know Wales had that much “sunny weather”.:laughing:

Wow, that was bang on with Katherine Jenkins link on YouTube. Thanks.

Enjoy getting a sun tan in the sunny Welsh weather.

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Hello John.

You probably are.

I am looking to get in touch with my second cousin in Pontypridd that I have not talked with for forty years (we just lost touch with each other).

Can you trace your family history?

I can only go back two generations but am close to finding out how to trace it back even further.



Cotton candy (UK candy floss) is a very different product.

‘Taffy’ or ‘Taff’ is a historic English pejorative term for Welsh people. (Cf: Paddy (Irish), Jock (Scots), Frog (French), Kraut (Germans). The origin is lost in the mists of time. Etymologists say it derives from Teifi, the Welsh form of Davy (David). Some people say it comes from the River Taff which rises in the Brecon Beacons and enters the sea in Cardiff, our capital city.
Some Welsh people don’t mind the term, and some use it; others don’t like it. I don’t.[quote=“Godwalker, post:23, topic:10477”] Hi Pob, [/quote] I used ‘Pob bendith’ to sign off. It’s Welsh for ‘Every blessing’. :wink:

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You’re right about the value of hymns as being a master class in correct pronunciation.

I also felt that, not having been brought up ‘chapel’, I should start listening to them as an element of Welsh culture that I had missed out on and was unfamiliar with (as well as hearing some wonderful music and some great voices!)

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Good afternoon Pererin

Thank for the explanation. I will share it with mom. I believe the second explanation is more believable.

I know of the other slang, we used to use it here all the time before everyone became politically correct.

People had respectful relationships back fifty years ago but we always teased each other good naturedly and one of things was about nationality…

Hi Pererin

Thank you for the Welsh blessing. I shall use it for some of my articles. I always like to end them with a blessing.

I have gotten so I can sing about four Welsh hymns and lullabies, as long as I sing along with them. It will take a lot of practice. It sounds great when they curl their rrrr’s. I used to do that when speaking Mexican.

May love and laughter light your days and warm your house and home.

I was brought up ‘chapel’ but it was English language - very different atmosphere. I agree wholeheartedly with your comment about that element of Welsh culture.

You may enjoy this copy of a recording of a Gymanfa Ganu at the Royal Albert Hall in 1963. Limited value for learning pronunciation (apart from the very clear introductions to the hymns) but, for wonderful music and great singing, godidog! We had the original LP which my late father ( a first language Welsh speaker) not only played frequently but also joined in which, as a young teenager, always made me groan. Now I’m incapable of listening to Welsh hymns without joining in - humming when I don’t know the words. :slight_smile: Sorry Dad.


The wonderful version of Gwahoddiad @aran posted is by one of the leading Welsh male voice choirs - the Morriston Orpheus. The conductor at that time would have been Alwyn Humphreys - a legend in Welsh choral singing. His wife Joy Amman Davies became conductor in 2007, having been the accompanist for 19 years. I’d say they are the #1 Welsh male voice choir but there may be an element of bias because they are friends of mine.

Although Gwahoddiad is widely thought to be an indigenous Welsh hymn, it isn’t. The English words and tune were both written by American Methodist minister Lewis Hartsough in Iowa in the 19th century and known as ‘I hear thy welcome voice’. The words were subsequently translated by Welsh minister John Roberts (bardic name Ieuan Gwyllt.)
You may enjoy this version conducted by Owain Arwel Hughes, a distinguished Welsh orchestral conductor, at the old Cardiff Arms Park rugby stadium in 1993. It was raining but that did nothing to dampen the ‘hwyl’ - a Welsh word which has no English translation which truly conveys the meaning.