Robin Gwyndaf

Robin Gwyndaf and T W Thomas

The Welsh folk tales featured here were recorded by Dr Robin Gwyndaf, previously Curator of Folklore at St Fagans National History Museum. His own family, who lived on the farm Yr Hafod, Llangwm, in the former county of Denbighshire in north Wales, introduced him from an early age to the traditions of storytelling, singing and poetry, for which his native district is renowned.

In October 1964 he joined St Fagans National History Museum. Between 1982 and 1999 he was also an Honorary Lecturer in Folklore at his old college, University of Wales, Bangor. In 1993 he was elected an International Folklore Fellow, and in 1995 he became a member of the International Board of the European Centre for Traditional Culture under the auspices of UNESCO.

As part of Dr Gwyndaf's work at St Fagans, he has undertaken extensive fieldwork, and the comprehensive collections in the Museum archives now contain several thousand folklore items, ranging from rhymes and nursery rhymes to riddles, folk hymns and nature lore. He has interviewed some 3,000 informants in Wales, mainly in the Welsh language, of which some 450 are recorded on tape (a total of c. 700 hours of recordings). The main contents of these tapes relate to folk tales, folk traditions and folk beliefs (c. 20,000 items).

Museum of Welsh Life's Sound Archive

A selection of the Museum's folklore and the oral testimony of Welsh tradition-bearers has already been presented in a series of audio cassettes. The author has also published numerous books and articles relating to Welsh folk culture. An introduction to the rich and long tradition of storytelling in Wales appears in two of his publications, in particular Straeon Gwerin CymruWelsh Folk Tales (Gwasg Carreg Gwalch, 1988) and the Museum's own bilingual book Chwedlau Gwerin Cymru: Welsh Folk Tales (1989, reprinted 1999).

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