Welsh for a Day: Green Man Festival’s ‘Hwyl’ event takes over Cecil Sharp House in London

‘Dydd Gŵyl Dewi Hapus!’ was the motto of the ‘Hwyl’ (pronounced as ‘hoyle’, meaning fun) event at Cecil Sharp House on 1 March. The good people running Green Man Festival decided to put on a day of Welsh music, culture and food for all of us stuck here in London on St. David’s Day, the national day of Wales. When I got to Cecil Sharp House in the afternoon it was already completely transformed. Welsh morris dancers were performing outside, the Dylan Thomas Guy’s (Jeff Towns all the way from Swansea) fabulous book bus was parked near the entrance and we got handed a voucher for tea and a welshcake – ffantastig!

Inside the building bunches of daffodils were adorning the railings, the garden was taken over by a pie stall and festival-like seating and the downstairs area had a pop-up love spoon carving workshop. Oh and there was even a rather random, but fun sound installation in the toilets. The cafe had lots of Welsh dishes on the menu for the day and a selection of Welsh beers and ciders to match it. Welsh wooden spoon workshopThe line-up was a mix of eclectic live music, spoken word, comedy and a pub (or rather pop) quiz. I loved all the bands I managed to catch. The Pictish Trail (hailing from the isle of Eigg), The Valleyers (from Pembrokeshire) and two artists, who – to my great excitement – sang in Welsh, Gareth Bonello aka The Gentle Good (from Cardiff, check out his cool blog about his musical adventures in India, China and more) and 9Bach (from Gwynedd in North Wales, the name is a play on words, ‘nain bach’ meaning something like ‘granny dear’). I especially liked the fox song ‘Llwynog’, as we have an adorable urban fox family living behind our house in London. 9Bach at HwylSitting on haybales covered in colourful cloth (great festival decorating idea), we also really enjoyed short stories by writers including Rachel Trezise and Joe Dunthorne (awesome interactive story that really kept us on our toes). The Twmpath (Welsh version of a ceilidh, the ‘w’ is pronounced as ‘u’) had half the hall on their feet dancing and the legendary BBC Radiophonic Workshop put a smile on the faces of their many fans in the room. While this one-day Welsh bash in London is sadly over now, fear not, its big sister, the Green Man Festival, is luckily still coming up this summer from 14-17 August 2014. Welsh menuHere is a handful of Welsh words and phrases that might come in handy at your next festival in Wales (courtesy of 9Bach, Gareth Bonello and a few others, diolch yn fawr/thanks guys)

Cymru – Wales

Cymraeg – Welsh

Sut wyt ti diawl bach? – How are you, little devil?

Dw i’n iawn – I’m fine

Dw i’n feddw – I’m drunk

Dw i’n feddw gaib – I’m really wasted

Ga i peint o gwrw os gwelwch yn dda? – Can I have a pint of beer please?

Caru chdi – North Walian for ‘love you’

Caru chdi hefyd – love you too

Cana dros y lle – sing your heart out

Mwy! or Eto! – More! As in when the band is really good and you’d like to hear an encore

Wyt ti’n gerddor o fry! – You’re an excellent musician!

And for the more poetically inclined: Llyfr i bawb o bobl y byd – There is a book for everyone in the world (this came from the side of the book bus, nice one)

Find the artists on Twitter: @9bach @ghbonello @PictishTrail @Valleyers @radiophonicwork @RachelTrezise @Dylanthomasguy @joedunthorne


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