On Tape For Tomorrow - the Sound Archive
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"It was in me, and my father before me was a good Mari Lwyd man. But we had one chap... he was so tall, you know, and we'd put a box hat on his head and a rosette here, and we'd black him 'til he was like a sweep! To tell you the truth, he was enough of a Mari Lwyd himself. He was a useful singer too!"
When Mr Evan Bevan, quoted above, was recorded by St Fagans National History Museum in 1960, he was already 80 years old. He was born at Tre-bryn farm, Pen-coed, Glamorgan, like his father and grandfather before him.
The recordings made of him are important not only as testimony of the area's now forgotten traditions, but also because he was one of the last native Welsh speakers of this part of Wales
The tape-recording of people on all aspects of folk life and culture has always played an important part in the work of the Museum. Collecting in the field was begun in 1957, the oldest interviewee on tape having been born in 1858.
The sound archive's growing collection now includes over 9000 field recordings, many BBC recordings (on both tape and disk), over 1000 commercial disks and some early phonograph cylinders.
Most of the collection is in the Welsh language, priority having been given to recording informants in areas where both the language, the local dialect and the traditional way of life was under threat. However, there is also a considerable amount of English language material, mainly from the anglicised areas, such as the south-east, the border counties, the Gower and South Pembrokeshire.
Meinwen Ruddock, Archivist (02920 573427)
Lowri Jenkins, Archive Assistant (02920 573444)
Hywel Evans, Audio-visual technician (02920 573429)