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Suggested Albums: Robin Williamson (1983) "Music for the Mabinogi"

Excerpt from the song:·”Pwyll” Out of the deep Welsh water and the saintly dark .
The old story stirs and wakes again. Measure and dream of our island soul.


This outstanding album consists of pieces composed and performed by Robin Williamson in connection with Moving Being's production of Mabinogi or Mabinogion (The Mabinogion (pronounced /mabɪ'nɔɡjɔn/) is a collection of eleven prose stories from medieval Welsh manuscripts).Though mainly instrumental, the record includes incidental songs performed by members of the cast. Printed lyrics and translations to songs and spoken words whether in Welsh or English are enclosed with the album. Robin's instrumentation, blending harp, border pipes, and whistle, with keyboards, synthesizers, horns, strings, and percussion of all kinds, approaches this ancestral material in a highly contemporary and individualistic manner which nonetheless capture the wild spirit of the original stories. It can justly be described as a milestone. Moving Being's large scale outdoor production staged in 1983 at Caernarfon and Cardiff Castles and featuring Robin's music has been filmed for a 1984 Channel Four TV release.


Regarding the "Mabinogi" tales itself...let us read now what Robin Williamson wrote for the insert sleeve insert of the album

"The Mabinogi is one of the great classics of World mythology. Though first transcribed by clerics in the early Norman period, the tales portray a society many centuries older, when old Welsh was spoken throughout much of what is now England and South Scotland as well as in Wales. Thus while at the backbone of Welsh culture, the Mabinogi relates profoundly to the soul of the entire island of Britain. The stories, moreover, have certain parallels both in character and theme m the Gaelic mythologies of Ireland and the Highlands. Elements in the tales hark back to the most remote antiquity, told and retold perhaps even befare the Celts first invaded Britain a thousand years or more before Christ by unknown bards of forgotten kings. The characters in the stories are deities thinly clad in mortal coils and in the Celtic tradition they are portrayed as neither infallible nor immortal necessarily, at once grand, comic, sad, joyful, beautiful and cruel. The four stories (or branches) of the Mabinogi are not necessarily sequential, though same characters are featured in more than one tale. The work is sometimes called The Mabinogion, particularly in Victorian writings, and its title derives from the Welsh word "mab" (lad, son, youth, perhaps hero) meaning basically something like "the lad's tale".
Robin Williamson – All rights reserved - 1983


Track List

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Pwyll
Rhiannon
Badger In The Bag
Three Nursemaids
Naming Pryderi
Matholwch's Ships
Branwen In Ireland
Bran's Head
Birds Of Rhiannon
Cradlesong
Manawydan In London
Pryderi's Song
Enchantments Of Llwyd
A Gallows For A Mouse
When Two Hearts Are True
Revenges Of Math
Arianrhod, Unlikely Virgin
Fine Leather From Seaweed
Gwydion's Song To Lleu
Death Of Gronw
Parting Words

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