Tag Archives: toffee

Here Comes Mayhem

23 Jan

Plygain 6

At the Plygain celebration over the weekend, after there had been plenty of Welsh carols sung and a break for tea and snacks, we had some surprise visitors. Some local Wassailers accompanied by the Coppertown Mari Lwyd (Mari Trecopr). We moved quickly from traditional Xmas hymns to Mari-led mayhem.

Plygain 5

The Mari Lwyd arrives with her companions and knocks on the door to be let in. It’s the job of the people inside to keep the mischieveous Mari out so there’s a battle of wits and rhyme – a sort of ancient rap battle – until the Mari and her gang are let in. This frisky Mari tried to knock back a glass of mulled wine!

This wonderful evening of Welsh tradition was led by David Pitt (who inhabits the Mari) and Margot Morgan, who organises the Aderyn Du (Black Bird) Brynmill Community Choir.

Scribbling Singing

21 Jan

Plygain 3

Here are a couple more sketches I did at the Plygain celebration last weekend in Swansea. Plygain is a Welsh language carolling tradition going back at least to the 13th century. It had almost died out but is now going through a healthy revival. In the past, families would have precious books of Plygain carols handed down through generations. Plygain is competitive – carollers take it in turns to sing and no carol can be performed more than once during the service, so these ancient family books of Plygain carols are precious.

Plygain 4

I sketched the carollers as they sang. The top drawing was done using the continuous line method – it’s easier to judge perspective and proportion I find. Then a few speed sketches just of heads.

Toffee Evening, Noson Gyflaith

20 Jan

Plygain 2

I carried on sketching at the Welsh Plygain celebration, while all the rest sang. Traditionally, Plygain took place in church at around 3am on Xmas morning and ended at first light. People generally stayed up all night, doing all sorts of things to keep awake. One that was popular with younger people was the making of Cyflaith (toffee) and Christmas Eve was often known as Noson Gyflaith – Toffee Evening. Games were played and stories told to stop people from dozing off.

Plygain is unaccompanied carol singing in the Welsh language and traditionally was only sung by men, but these days it’s undergoing a revival and everyone can join in. I sketched some of the men at last night’s Plygain. I used the continuous line method as I find it’s the best to get the right proportions and perspective in a roomful of people.

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