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User Name Thread Name Subject Posted
richd The folk tradition in Wales (81* d) RE: The folk tradition in Wales 08 Apr 06


Greg makes a good point I think. The Welsh tradition may not just consist of songs in the Welsh language, and there may be considerable overlap around the English/Welsh border. My in-laws live in south Shropshire, and I've done quite a bit of cycling around Craven Arms, Church Stretton, Corvedale etc- and sitting in pubs in the middle of nowhere talking to people, and you'd be hard pressed to tell a Welshman from Radnor from an Englishman from Shropshire. Traditions leak- thank god.

The point about technology I was trying to make in an earlier post was that there was a unique period of say ten-twelve years in between the inventionm of basic sound recording mediums and the broadcast technology of sound film and radio. The primary means for distributing the early recordings was 78rpm disks. You thus had the possiblity of commercial recording of LOCAL songs etc, which would then gain a wider audience, but at the same time singers were singing according to local tradition, and not on the basis of how they thought a song should sound because they'd heard it on the radio or in a film. Some songs, and more importantly performances- mainly in the United States- made it through this process- luckily. Wales wasn't so lucky, the interest in recording ordinary people came after the development of the main mass media, when the oral tradition was already in decay.

I'd suggest that this implies that the idea of an unbroken, linear, monocultural and single language tradition surviving in Wales in this century is problematical. Basically, we make it up as we go along. Except for THE ONLIE TRUE WELSH TRADITION of course which is kept in a meat safe behind a settle in the Pink Cottage at St Fagans and taken out on high days and holidays. Allegedly.

However, members of my family are noted for their singing of unique verses to the song known as 'Cosher Baileys Engine'in licensed premises the length and breadth of the Taff valley. But no one with ears would ever want to record them- but that's tradition for you.


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