Kizzy Crawford at Dolbelydr
An exclusive performance by award-winning musician Kizzy Crawford
Half-Bajan, half-Welsh Kizzy Crawford has recorded four spine-tingling acoustic songs for us, in a wonderful mix of Welsh and English. Filmed at our Tudor Landmark Dolbelydr in Denbighshire, Kizzy also shares her reflections on this outstanding building and its soothing setting. Kizzy's ambition is to make her mark by fusing bilingual soul-folk jazz, with past gigs at Glastonbury, the Cheltenham Jazz and Cambridge Folk Festivals and on BBC Radio 6Music, Radio Cymru and Radio 4.
David of the White Rock/Dafydd Y Garreg Wen
The sound of birdsong in the valley sets the tone for this traditional Welsh musical air and folk song, composed by David Owen (1712–1741), a harpist who lived near Porthmadog. Tradition has it that as Owen lay on his death bed, he called for his harp and composed the tune of this haunting song. Three centuries later, Kizzy performs the song beautifully and sensitively, whilst bathed in spring sunshine through the mullioned diamond pane kitchen window at Dolbelydr.
Kizzy performs one of her own songs, Dive/Deifio, in front of a roaring open fire in the sitting room, with Mabli her little dog by her feet. She sings parts of it in Welsh, in honour of humanist and physician Henry Salesbury, who wrote his Grammatica Britannica at Dolbelydr. It was published in 1593 as a challenge to Henry VIII, whose regime was imposing English as the language of government across the land. By putting a classical discipline on the grammar of this ancient language, Salesbury's work gives Dolbelydr some claim to be the birthplace of modern Welsh.
Fortress of Thoughts/Caer o Feddyliau
Performing in the remains of the former stables under a virtually cloudless sky, Kizzy is at home in this ‘meadow of the rays of the sun’, which is one translation of the name Dolbelydr. Kizzy says, 'Caer o Feddyliau is a song about giving women a voice to express all that we are and to celebrate ourselves as strong Welsh women….to break free from the chains of centuries of patriarchy and misogyny'. A world away at Glastonbury 2014, she performed the song with the same creativity and purpose, which you can watch here on BBC IPlayer.
Against the backdrop of ancient timbers of the hallway, Kizzy chose to sing the Drudwy/The Starling in in response to the birdsong outside. She said ‘I can see green everywhere – it’s just perfect, absolutely beautiful’. The Starling is associated with the Welsh myth of Branwen, the Welsh Princess, who was mistreated by her Irish husband. She trained a Starling to take a message to her brother Bran in Wales to rescue her.
With huge thanks and appreciation to Kizzy Crawford www.kizzymerielcrawford.com