Sosban Fach

Well, this year’s Six Nations competition certainly got off to a great start for Wales last night with a memorable victory against France in Paris. That reminded me to post this, a song often heard at rugby matches in Wales. It’s particularly associated with Llanelli RFC and, more recently, the  Scarlets regional side.

The title Sosban Fach means (`Little Saucepan’) and I decided to post this version by Cerys Matthews in particular because of the beautiful clarity of her Welsh diction that makes it very easy to follow the lyrics (even for a foreigner like me).

Here are the words in Welsh:

Mae bys Meri-Ann wedi brifo,
A Dafydd y gwas ddim yn iach.
Mae’r baban yn y crud yn crio,
A’r gath wedi sgramo Joni bach.

Sosban fach yn berwi ar y tân
Sosban fawr yn berwi ar y llawr,
A’r gath wedi sgramo Joni bach.

Dai bach y sowldiwr,
Dai bach y sowldiwr,
Dai bach y sowldiwr,
A chwt ei grys e mas.

Mae bys Meri-Ann wedi gwella,
A Dafydd y gwas yn ei fedd;
Mae’r baban yn y crud wedi tyfu,
A’r gath wedi huno yn ei hedd.

Sosban fach yn berwi ar y tân
Sosban fawr yn berwi ar y llawr
A’r gath wedi sgramo Joni bach.

Shwd grys oedd ganddo?
Shwd grys oedd ganddo?
Shwd grys oedd ganddo?
Un wen â streipen las.

A’r gath wedi sgramo Joni bach.

O hwp e mewn, Dai,
O hwp e mewn, Dai,
O hwp e mewn, Dai,
Mae’n gas ei weld o mas.

Now feel free to sing along!

 

 

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8 Responses to “Sosban Fach”

  1. edenicvisions Says:

    Reblogged this on cherishthelady and commented:
    Well done to Wales on a great comback!

  2. I do not understand the language – but can feel the spirit and the energy

  3. Simon Kemp Says:

    There used to be saucepans on top of the posts at the old Stradey Park ground of Llanelli RFC, and they probably have them at the new Parc y Scarlets ground as well (I have been there once but don’t remember). This may give a clue to the translation of ‘sosban’.

  4. Beethoven, who knew something about Welsh songs eg https://imslp.org/wiki/26_Welsh_Songs%2C_WoO_155_(Beethoven%2C_Ludwig_van) , may have used Sosban Fach in the slow movement of his third symphony. The particular words would have been added some time later.

    [Or there again, maybe not.]

    • telescoper Says:

      The date given on Wikipedia for the song is 1873, much too late for Beethoven. But it is possible the melody is much older than the lyrics.

      • At the risk of dragging this out, coincidentally I met Professor Gareth Williams at a funeral this morning and he mentioned that he’s recently written a short piece on the origins of Sosban Fach. It sounds rather more interesting than the Wikipedia article might suggest. Nothing about Beethoven though. I’ll post a link when it’s published.

        Regarding the tune, if there is a Beethoven link then the question is how his symphonies could have become part of the popular culture of Llanelli tinplate workers in the latter half of the 19th century. A likely answer, for these relatively well paid and aspirational workers, involves the huge demand around this time for sheet music for front parlour pianos, but the arguments are too large to fit in the margins of this blog.

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