James James (also known by the bardic name Iago ap Ieuan) (1833–1902) was a harpist and musician from Pontypridd, Wales. He composed the tune of the Welsh national anthem Hen Wlad fy Nhadau (also known as Land of my Fathers).
He was born on 4 November 1832, at the 'Ancient Druid' inn, Argoed[disambiguation needed], in the parish of Bedwellty, Monmouthshire. He was the son of Evan James (1809-1878) and Ehzabeth Stradling of Caerphilly. His father, a Welsh versifier under the pen-name of leuan ab lago, moved with his family about 1844 to Pontypridd, where he carried on the business of weaver and wool merchant. His son James assisted him in the business.
James James composed the melody which was later known as Hen Wlad fy Nhadau in January 1856. At first it was known as Glan Rhondda (The banks of the Rhondda), and gave rise to the tradition that the tune had come to him as he walked on the bank of the River Rhondda. His father, Evan James, wrote the lyrics that eventually became the words of the Welsh national anthem.
A memorial to James James and his father, in the shape of two figures representing the muses of Poetry and Music, stands in Ynysangharad Park, Pontypridd. James James died in Aberdare in the Cynon Valley 11 January 1902, he is buried in the local cemetery at Aberdare in the same grave as his wife Cecilia and daughter Louisa.
- "Welsh anthem - The background to Hen Wlad Fy Nhadau". BBC. 2008-12-01.
- Thomas 1912.
- This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain: Thomas, Daniel Lleufer (1912). "James, James". In Lee, Sidney. Dictionary of National Biography, 1912 supplement. London: Smith, Elder & Co.
- Herbert, Trevor. "James, Evan (1809–1878)". Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (online ed.). Oxford University Press. doi:10.1093/ref:odnb/98007. (Subscription or UK public library membership required.)
- James Memorial at Ynysangharad Park a video clip at the Internet Archive website.
- Hen wlad fy nhadau, the national anthem on the National Library of Wales website.
- James Memorial in Ynysangharad Park, Pontypridd from the Gathering the Jewels website.
- Free scores at the Mutopia Project
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