Suo Gân

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Suo Gân (Welsh pronunciation: [sɨɔ ɡɑːn]) is a traditional Welsh lullaby written by an anonymous composer.

It was first recorded in print around 1800.[1] The lyrics were notably captured by the Welsh folklorist Robert Bryan (1858–1920).[2]

The song's title simply means lullaby (suo = lull; cân = song).

Lyrics[edit]

Huna blentyn ar fy mynwes
Clyd a chynnes ydyw hon;
Breichiau mam sy'n dynn amdanat,
Cariad mam sy dan fy mron;
Ni chaiff dim amharu'th gyntun,
Ni wna undyn â thi gam;
Huna'n dawel, annwyl blentyn,
Huna'n fwyn ar fron dy fam.
Huna'n dawel, heno, huna,
Huna'n fwyn, y tlws ei lun;
Pam yr wyt yn awr yn gwenu,
Gwenu'n dirion yn dy hun?
Ai angylion fry sy'n gwenu,
Arnat ti yn gwenu'n llon,
Tithau'n gwenu'n ôl dan huno,
Huno'n dawel ar fy mron?
Paid ag ofni, dim ond deilen
Gura, gura ar y ddôr;
Paid ag ofni, ton fach unig
Sua, sua ar lan y môr;
Huna blentyn, nid oes yma
Ddim i roddi iti fraw;
Gwena'n dawel yn fy mynwes
Ar yr engyl gwynion draw.[3]
Sleep child on my bosom
Cozy and warm is this;
Mother's arms are tight around you,
Mother's love is under my breast;
Nothing may affect your napping,
No man will cross you;
Sleep quietly, dear child,
Sleep sweetly on your mother's breast.
Sleep quietly, tonight, sleep;
Sleep sweetly, the pretty of his picture;
Why are you now smiling,
Smiling softly in your sleep?
Are angels above smiling,
On you smiling joyfully,
You smiling back in sleeping,
Sleeping quietly on my breast?
Do not fear, nothing but a leaf
Knocks, knocks on the door;
Do not fear, a small lonely wave
Murmurs, murmurs on the seashore;
Sleep child, there's nothing here
Nothing to give you a fright;
Smile quietly in my bosom,
On the angels white yonder.[citation needed]

Looser, rhyming translations are as follows:

Sleep my baby, at my breast,
'Tis a mother's arms round you.
Make yourself a snug, warm nest.
Feel my love forever new.
Harm will not meet you in sleep,
Hurt will always pass you by.
Child beloved, always you'll keep,
In sleep gentle, mother's breast nigh.
Sleep in peace tonight, sleep,
O sleep gently, what a sight.
A smile I see in slumber deep,
What visions make your face bright?
Are the angels above smiling,
At you in your peaceful rest?
Are you beaming back while in
Peaceful slumber on mother's breast?
Do not fear the sound, it's a breeze
Brushing leaves against the door.
Do not dread the murmuring seas,
Lonely waves washing the shore.
Sleep child mine, there's nothing here,
While in slumber at my breast,
Angels smiling, have no fear,
Holy angels guard your rest.[citation needed]
Sleep my darling, on my bosom,
Harm will never come to you;
Mother’s arms enfold you safely,
Mother’s heart is ever true.
As you sleep there’s naught to scare you,
Naught to wake you from your rest;
Close those eyelids, little angel,
Sleep upon your mother’s breast.
Sleep, my darling, night is falling
Rest in slumber sound and deep;
I would know why you are smiling,
Smiling sweetly as you sleep!
Do you see the angels smiling
As they see your rosy rest,
So that you must smile an answer
As you slumber on my breast?
Don’t be frightened, it’s a leaflet
Tapping, tapping on the door;
Don’t be frightened, ‘twas a wavelet
Sighing, sighing on the shore.
Slumber, slumber, naught can hurt you,
Nothing bring you harm or fright;
Slumber, darling, smiling sweetly
At those angels robed in white.[4]

Suo Gân is also a Welsh carol, featured in the American Edition of the Orff-Schulwerk Music for Children book with the following verses:

Suogân, do not weep,
Suogân, go to sleep;
Suogân, mother's near,
Suogân, have no fear.
Suogân, Eastern Star,
Suogân, from afar;
Suogân, shepherds sing,
Suogân, newborn King.
Suogân, from above,
Suogân, song of love;
Suogân, blessed morn,
Suogân, Christ is born.

In popular culture[edit]

"Suo Gân", as performed by James Rainbird and the Ambrosian Junior Choir directed by John McCarthy, is featured prominently in Steven Spielberg's 1987 film Empire of the Sun, where it is lip-synched by a young Christian Bale. It also appears, instrumentally, in the beginning of the 1991 movie Dutch.

Welsh bass-baritone Bryn Terfel has performed this song in several of his Christmas concerts, most notably with the Mormon Tabernacle Choir.

The rock band Savatage used the song as a base for their song "Heal My Soul" on the 1991 album Streets: A Rock Opera.

Kathleen Battle performed this song with guitarist Christopher Parkening on their 1996 holiday album Angels' Glory.

The men's choir Chanticleer covered the song for their 2001 album Christmas with Chanticleer (featuring Dawn Upshaw).

Isobel Cooper (Izzy) performed this song on her 2002 album New Dawn.

The pipes and drums of the Royal Scots Dragoon Guards covered the song for their 2007 album Spirit of the Glen.

The Vienna Boys' Choir features Suo Gân (entitled "Suo-Gan") on the 2003 The Christmas Album.

It is on The Irish Tenors album Home for Christmas.

It is featured in the finale episode of the anime show Kuroshitsuji II, in which a demon sings it at the opening of the episode.

In the hymn book Songs of Praise (1931) Hymn 380 is set To Suo-Gan (Welsh Traditional Melody).

The hymn "Christ Before Us" (1990) is set to the Suo Gan tune by Janèt Sullivan Whitaker, published by OCP Publications, Portland, OR.

It is on The Rogues' album 3 Pounds of Rage.

Swedish artist Moto Boy performs the song in his mini-album For Martha from 2008.

References[edit]

  1. ^ Lullaby (Suo Gan) Lesley Nelson-Burns, Contemplator.com . Accessed July 2011
  2. ^ Suo-Gân (Lullaby) Celtic Arts Center, 2004. Accessed July 2011
  3. ^ Cass-Beggs, Barbara, Michael. Folk Lullabies of the World. Oak Publications. p. 30. ISBN 0-7119-3470-3. 
  4. ^ NINETIETH SEASON - Summit Chorale (program), www.summitchorale.org . Accessed June 2013

External links[edit]