On Tape For Tomorrow - the Sound Archive

Please note that due to staff shortages, only a basic level of an archive and library enquiry service can be offered at present. We apologise for the inconvenience.

Evan Bevan, recorded 1960s

"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.

Mari Lwyd singers at Llangynwyd

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.

Llewellyn Evans, mid Wales, 1960s

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.

Tape store MWL

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.

Archive Staff

Meinwen Ruddock, Archivist (02920 573427)
Lowri Jenkins, Archive Assistant (02920 573444)
Hywel Evans, Audio-visual technician (02920 573429)

Phonograph Cylinders collected by Lady Ruth Herbert Lewis >>

  • National Museum Cardiff

    National Museum Cardiff

    Discover art, natural history and geology. With a busy programme of exhibitions and events, we have something to amaze everyone, whatever your interest – and admission is free!

  • St Fagans National History Museum

    St Fagans

    St Fagans is one of Europe's foremost open-air museums and Wales's most popular heritage attraction.

  • Big Pit National Coal Museum

    Big Pit

    Big Pit is a real coal mine and one of Britain's leading mining museums. With facilities to educate and entertain all ages, Big Pit is an exciting and informative day out.

  • National Wool Museum

    National Wool Museum

    Located in the historic former Cambrian Mills, the Museum is a special place with a spellbinding story to tell.

  • National Roman Legion Museum

    National Roman Legion Museum

    In AD 75, the Romans built a fortress at Caerleon that would guard the region for over 200 years. Today at the National Roman Legion Museum you can learn what made the Romans a formidable force and how life wouldn't be the same without them.

  • National Slate Museum

    National Slate Museum

    The National Slate Museum offers a day full of enjoyment and education in a dramatically beautiful landscape on the shores of Llyn Padarn.

  • National Waterfront Museum

    National Waterfront Museum

    The National Waterfront Museum at Swansea tells the story of industry and innovation in Wales, now and over the last 300 years.

  • Rhagor: Explore our collections

    Rhagor (Welsh for ‘more’) offers unprecedented access to the amazing stories that lie behind our collections.