Welsh music blog with special guest Don Wright


“The first tune is the hymn Calon Lan (‘Pure Heart’). The written ‘a’ in ‘Lan’ has a little ‘roof’ over its head (‘^’) – it rhymes with ‘barn’ as opposed to ‘ban’.

The tune is by John Hughes (1872-1914). The words were first penned by his friend Daniel James (1848 -1920), a Welsh bard who worked at the old tinplate works at Landore just outside Swansea, the current site of Swansea City’s Liberty Stadium. Both men knew tragedy in their lives, 19th century living was very harsh in industrial South Wales.

The celebrated fusion of the words and music is guaranteed to warm the hearts of all Welshmen whenever and wherever they hear it sung. The translation into English definitely loses something, however the first verse roughly translated is something like :

I do not ask for a life of luxury, the world’s gold or its fine pearls.

I do ask for a happy heart, and honest heart, a pure heart.

 And the chorus :

 A pure heart, full of goodness, is more lovely than the fair lily.

Only a pure heart can sing, sing during the day and during the night.

The second tune is the Welsh national anthem Hen Wlad Fy Nhadau, needs no introduction, translated ‘Ancient Land of My Fathers’ but commonly called just ‘Land of My fathers’, words written by Evan James and the tune by his son James James of Pontypridd.”


Cheers – Lorraine

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