FolkWorld #65 03/2018
© Editorial by Dai Woosnam

The F Word

The beauty of YouTube is how one link leads to another. You can go on the most incredible journeys...

I started off with the lovely Welsh language song ADRA ...sung by its writer, Gwyneth Glyn. Super English subtitles and a fine photomontage...

Then I moved to her singing the same song: performing it extraordinarily well, under immense pressure, at the November 2007 funeral of Welsh rugby international and TV personality, Ray Gravell. Please note, seated near her, holding a picture of Ray, is the great Welsh-language folk singer, Dafydd Iwan. He also sang at this open air funeral service, held at a packed Stradey Park, the home of Llanelli rugby club.

Ray's old rugby buddy Robin McBryde is standing at the head of the coffin. Former Llanelli and Wales hooker McBryde - who a few years previously had won the strongest man in Wales competition - holds on to the massive Eisteddfod Sword (of the Welsh National Eisteddfod): a role as Grand Sword Bearer he had taken on from Ray, whose proud preserve it had been, only earlier that year. This handover occurred following Grav's diabetes - diagnosed in 2000 - taking a turn for the worse, and leading to amputation of Ray's lower leg some months before he had the heart attack that killed him, at just 56.

This is some performance from Gwyneth. Brava...!!

And this led me to several clips of her performing with her husband/partner/lover/ex-partner ...(I am not sure what his status is these days..) the mercurial Twm Morys...

And that in turn then led me to this badly produced YouTube curiosity... where Twm (a similarly out of control, slightly mad, very talented, Welsh language version of a Serge Gainsbourg, if ever I saw one...!!) introduces his biological father ...that woman who must be my favourite of all travel writers, and the person who it was that made me visit unforgettable Trieste, some 17 years ago...Jan (formerly James) Morris. Does he call "mam" both his biological mother and father? Or does he call them by their Christian names?

Whatever...I guess it matters not a jot: what does count is the sheer humanity that Jan possesses, and is on display here.

If you can put up with the sound fades then you will find this a quirky gem. Jan is doing a Q&A to mark her 90th birthday. The questions from the audience are pitiably fact the audience should be collectively flogged for their lack of spark generally.

Jan and her son, for both their qualities, are clearly people who whilst containing great wisdom and intelligence, also have the potential to occasionally appear to be as mad as a box of frogs...!! That said, Twm is also proof that - along with eccentricity - artistic talent really can also be inherited.

And Jan, for your 100th birthday, I will buy you a second microphone.

Hope you've enjoyed my surfing these giant YouTube waves. TTFN, Dai Woosnam.

Photo Credits: Gwyneth Glyn, Dafydd Iwan, Twm Morys, Jan Morris (by YouTube).

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