Music of England & Wales

We often play Celtic music on Radio Riel, and indeed my col­league Mr Pearse has been doing so for the time before the start of today’s pro­gramme.

We gen­er­al­ly focus on the music of Scot­land and Ire­land. Sim­i­lar­ly, we often play Eng­lish music, in par­tic­u­lar some of the tra­di­tion­al Eng­lish Coun­try Dance pieces from Play­ford and oth­ers. We do not, how­ev­er, often present a pro­gramme that includes music from Wales.

Today’s pro­gramme seeks to redress the bal­ance by includ­ing both Welsh tra­di­tion­al music and tra­di­tion­al songs from Eng­land, both in their orig­i­nal form and in the shape of mod­ern orches­tra­tions and arrange­ments of the old songs. It’s also a great excuse to pre­mier a mar­vel­lous new album by Lau­ra Wright, The Last Rose, which fea­tures arrange­ments of tra­di­tion­al songs from around the British Isles.

We’ll be start­ing the pro­gramme with a rather unusu­al piece music: it’s a ren­di­tion of the tra­di­tion­al Welsh song, Tros y Gareg (Over the Stone), arranged by John Bak­er of the BBC Radio­phon­ic Work­shop to open broad­casts from BBC Wales in the 1960s.

The des­tinies of these two coun­tries have been linked since the ear­li­est times. In the days of the Roman occu­pa­tion, Eng­land and Wales (Cym­ru a Lloe­gr in Welsh) were admin­is­tered as a sin­gle unit, the province of Bri­tan­nia. A Welsh iden­ti­ty grew fol­low­ing the depar­ture of the Romans in the 5th cen­tu­ry and con­tin­ued until Wales was con­quered by Edward I in the 13th Cen­tu­ry and then con­sol­i­dat­ed by the Laws in Wales Acts of the 16th Cen­tu­ry which brought the same legal sys­tem to both coun­tries.

While Eng­lish con­trol con­tin­ued for cen­turies, often oppres­sive­ly (and includ­ing the sup­pres­sion of the Welsh lan­guage), it has begun to be relaxed in recent decades, with the re-emer­gence of the Welsh cul­tur­al iden­ti­ty, and the Welsh lan­guage thanks large­ly to Cymdei­thas yr Iaith Gym­raeg (the Welsh Lan­guage Soci­ety) and the result­ing advent of Welsh broad­cast­ing, cul­mi­nat­ing in the estab­lish­ment of the Nation­al Assem­bly for Wales in 1999 in the cap­i­tal, Caerdy­dd (Cardiff).

Today’s pro­gramme is pre­sent­ed by Elrik Mer­lin and pro­duced by Radio Riel in con­junc­tion with our friends at the Alexan­dri­an Free Library Con­sor­tium of Sec­ond Life. You can lis­ten to the pro­gramme in-world now at, or sim­ply click here to start your play­er, if your brows­er is con­fig­ured to do so. Lis­ten­ers in the Unit­ed States are encour­aged to tune in using this link:

For more infor­ma­tion on the Alexan­dri­an Free Library, cur­rent exhibits and the work of Con­sor­tium mem­bers in gen­er­al, please vis­it the Alexan­dri­an Free Library web­site, or one of their branch­es in-world.

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