This is Video of the Week from Wales Arts Review. We’ll be showcasing some of the best art in Wales with a new video shared every week. From music to drama and everything in between, videos will not be limited by medium. Today’s video is ‘Tragwyddoldeb’ a music video from Cerys Hafana
Today our video of the week comes from Cerys Hafana, a triple harpist, multi-instrumentalist and composer from mid-Wales. The music video is for her single ‘Tragwyddoldeb’ which debuted earlier this summer and comes ahead of upcoming album, Edyf.
‘Tragwyddoldeb’ – meaning eternity – is adapted from a hymn uncovered in the ballads archive of the Welsh National Library and expresses awe and amazement at the concept of eternity. Cerys has an upcoming performance at Camp Good Life on 16th September, the day after the release of her second album, Edyf.
Speaking on the song and video, Cerys said:
“I was looking for ballads, hymns and poems in the archive that had some sort of connection to my life now, however tenuous. Lots of the ones that I found were very Biblical, but as they probably hadn’t been sung for hundreds of years, I felt I had a right to remove the more explicitly religious bits and focus on the parts that spoke to me. Tragwyddoldeb – Eternity – was originally about eternity in the heavenly sense, but the verses reminded me of how I felt when I was first introduced to the idea that the universe is infinite. (I also liked the slightly GCSE-English-language metaphors for time in the verses (see below). Old Welsh poetry can be slightly impenetrable but this song was surprisingly accessible.)
The song is made up of one repeating chord progression and repeating cross-rhythms and patterns which could only be played on a triple harp.
A rough translation of the first chorus and verse:
Eternity, eternity, how long are you, eternity?
Time moves towards you, like a war horse in all its strength,
Like the fastest runner; a boat to harbour; an arrow from a bow,
Like a complete sphere, without beginning or end,
You, eternity, also have no ending nor beginning.
It was recorded by Mike West in his converted-church studios in Borth, surrounded by marshland on one side and the sea on the other. ”
You can watch the music video for ‘Tragwyddoldeb’ from Cerys Hafana below.