Tag Archives: Welsh Celebration

Cambridge 2015 Christmas Revels, The ‘Welsh Celebration’ — The “Thank You” Video.

by Anura Guruge


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Click image to access the 2:06 minute video (a stills montage) on Vimeo.


Given that this was a Fantabulous “will linger in your soul for years to come” performance, the “THANKS” really should be from us — those privileged enough to have been able to attend a show at the awe-inspiring ‘Sanders Theatre’ during 2015 Christmas. (We attended the Friday, December 11 kick-off performance).

Can’t wait for 2016 Christmas Revels. What would that be … about 340 days from now. This year we might try to attend some of their, i.e., Cambridge Revels, programs other than the gala Christmas bash.

“Thank YOU” Cambridge Revels. You made MY Christmas — especially so by mentioning ‘Cwmdonkin Drive‘. That was special. Thank YOU.


Related posts:
>> Cambridge 2015 Welsh Revels: Fantabulous.
>> Cambridge 2015
Welsh Revels: Pictures.
>> Cambridge 2015
Welsh Revels: Program.
>> Cambridge 2015 Welsh Revels.


by Anura Guruge


Fabulous Cambridge 2015 Christmas Revels, The ‘Welsh Celebration’ — More Pictures.

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by Anura Guruge


Related posts:
>> Cambridge 2015
Welsh Revels: Fantabulous.
>> Cambridge 2015
Welsh Revels: Program.
>> Cambridge 2015 Welsh Revels.

>> Revels North 2015: Songbook & Program.
>>
Christmas Revels North, 2015Scottish Highland Bash.

>> Christmas Revels 2014: RAVE.
>> Christmas Revels 2013 at Dartmouth.

++++ Search for ‘Revels’ & ‘Cambridge’ for MANY other related posts >>>>


MORE pictures of this FANTABULOUS show provided by Revels.

Photographs by (and copyright belonging to) Roger Ide.

Visit their Facebook page for EVEN more.

P.S., The shows post-Christmas are ALREADY sold out!

Click to ENLARGE.


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This, from the obligatory and brilliantly done “Mummer’s Play”, captures very high quality of the costumes and overall production.

This red Welsh dragon was a Masterpiece.

Not sure why the two poles for holding up the large arms had to be so long. Maybe it was for balance though I have to think that the physicists that can be readily found in Cambridge could have come up with a way to make the poles shorter. 

Great sequence.


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Revels North (Dartmouth) — Christmas 2015, A ‘Scottish Bash’ — Songbook & Program.

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by Anura Guruge


Related posts:
>> Cambridge 2015
Welsh Revels: Fantabulous.
>> Cambridge 2015
Welsh Revels: Program.
>> Cambridge 2015 Welsh Revels.

>> Christmas Revels North, 2015Scottish Highland Bash.
>> Christmas Revels 2014: RAVE.
>> Christmas Revels 2013 at Dartmouth.
>> Christmas Revels 2012 at Dartmouth.

++++ Search for ‘Revels’ & ‘Cambridge’ for MANY other related posts >>>>


Last week it was Christmas Revels, the ‘Welsh Celebration‘ by Cambridge Revels — and it was, as I had gushed, absolutely fantabulous.

This week it is OUR Revels — Christmas Revels, at the Dartmouth HOP, by Revels North and they are doing a ‘Scottish Bash‘. This really is Christmas for me. Welsh & Scottish Revels a week apart. To I, it does not get any better. Yes, of course, we have tickets. Front Row, Center — aisle (the aisle seat so I can more easily join the “Lord of the Dance”  ‘conga line’. Same seats that we have now had for the last 5 years. I paid a $xx premium in August to make sure I got them this year — $xx because I won’t even tell Deanna what it cost. SMILE.

Of course it will, as is invariably the case, be brilliant, exquisite, uplifting and rewarding. Revels is THE HIGHLIGHT of my Christmas — and Revels North is OUR annual revels.

So, as they did last year, to get us all in the spirit, they have, very thoughtfully and kindly, published the relevant lyrics and a video songbook. And as is always the case with Midas-touch possessed by Revels North they are of very high quality.

Savor and ENJOY.

Welcome YULE!

P.S., They have a section on ‘First Footing‘ and Hogmanay and for those that do NOT KNOW, THIS — this very blog — is now a preferred destination site for all things Hogmanay (as a quick search will testify); I being a seasoned (tall) DARK stranger First Footer in Glasgow for some years. Revels North, bless them, also, as shown in the Songbook do a spirited version of Auld Lang Syne. Again we serve as a font of information about the ‘Auld …‘ and how to do is properly, with your arms crossed.


The Revels North Christmas 2015 ‘Scottish Bash’ Songbook.

Click either image to access YouTube video.



The Revels North Christmas 2015 ‘Scottish Bash’ Program.

Click images to ENLARGE and savor.


Cambridge 2015 Christmas Revels, The ‘Welsh Celebration’ — Absolutely Fantabulous.

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by Anura Guruge


Related posts:
>> Cambridge 2015
Welsh Revels
: Program.
>> Cambridge 2015 Welsh Revels.

** Dylan Thomas & I.
** Dylan Thomas: ‘A Boy With A Note’.

>> Christmas Revels North, 2015Scottish Highland Bash.
>> Christmas Revels 2014: RAVE.
>> Christmas Revels 2013 at Dartmouth.
>> Christmas Revels 2012 at Dartmouth.

++++ Search for ‘Revels’ & ‘Cambridge’ for MANY other related posts >>>>


Click to ENLARGE.




Pictures from last night provided by Revels.

Photographs by (and copyright belonging to) Roger Ide.

Click to ENLARGE.

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Lavish Production.

Brilliant.

Authentic & Empathetic.

Singing bordering on Divine.


Yes, I will readily admit that I love ‘Revels‘ — and have for years. But, I am also a stickler for tradition and class and will differentiate between brilliant, v. good and not so good as I did here.

The ‘Welsh Celebration’ Christmas Revels 2015, opening night performance yesterday, in Cambridge at the elaborate ‘Sanders Theatre‘, was outstandingly good in every facet.

This morning Teischan, Deanna and I, all veterans of Revels past, were debating whether last night was the BEST Revels we have ever seen! That alone is one heck of a testament — since I have been to about 9 and Deanna and Teischan to more than 6.

Yes, the Welshness appeals to me since Wales is one of the 4 places I consider as ‘Home’. That they actually mentioned Cwmdonkin Drive, as to where a Christmas present being delivered, had come from was an added bonus. Not sure how many people even heard the name — Cwmdonkin — or knew what it meant. I would have to think that I was the ONLY person there last night that had actually lived on Cwmdonkin Drive — directly opposite Dylan Thomas’ house.

Very authentic. A lot of men looked Welsh. The slag piles were beautifully rendered.

That they did ‘Sospan Fach‘, a classic Welsh ditty (invariably sung at Rugby matches), was another bonus. It was GOOD (but I share with you, below, my favorite version).

The requisite elements of any Christmas Revels — Morris Dance, Mummer’s Play, Sword Dance, Dona Nobis Pacem, Sussex Mummer’s Carol, Horn Dance — were of an extremely high class. But I expect that from Cambridge Revels — who are THE ‘Mother Ship’ of Revels.

The Sword Dance was exquisite and elaborate. Wow. A girl slipped and fell during it. The audience gasped as one — that was how everybody, at the edge of their seats — was engrossed in the display. She got up at once and continued without a hitch. Given the reaction from the audience they might want to incorporate that slip into future performances.

Musically it was a Master Class, especially the signing. Bravo. THANK YOU.

The singing segments in the Second Half were goose bump inducing. The audience signing Dona Nobis Pacem was WOW! Well it is Cambridge.

Well I do NOT want to appear that I am gushing TOO MUCH since we consider Revels North, at Dartmouth, OUR Revels. So we don’t want them to think that I am glorifying Cambridge too much. SMILE. We go to the Revels North ‘Scottish Bash‘ next week. Yes, TWO (2) Revels for 2015.

Brilliant production. Outstanding performance. Bravo. Kudos.

Thank YOU.



Even MORE pictures by Roger Ide.
Click to access.


MY Favorite rendition of ‘Sospan Fach‘ — and OF COURSE it is by Max Boyce.

Remember I went to University in Wales (in Swansea) and essentially grew up there.

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Click to access YouTube video. Sospan Fach starts at around 3:20. This is Sospan Fach at its very best and Max was the master. IF you haven’t heard Max Boyce before THANK ME for enhancing your lfe.


Cambridge Christmas Revels, ‘Welsh Celebration’, Sumptuous Program Book Available Online (Gratis).

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by Anura Guruge


RevelsCambridge10182015Related posts:
** Dylan Thomas & I.
** Dylan Thomas: ‘A Boy With A Note’.

>> Christmas Revels North, 2015Scottish Highland Bash.
>> Christmas Revels 2014: RAVE.
>> Christmas Revels 2013 at Dartmouth.
>> Christmas Revels 2012 at Dartmouth.

++++ Search for ‘Revels’ & ‘Cambridge’ for MANY other related posts >>>>


The Program Guides for Christmas Revels,
whether Cambridge (Mother Ship) or Our Own ‘North‘ (at Dartmouth),
are always brilliantly produced — eminently collectible —
works of art.

We are lucky that Cambridge Revels has made their 2015 Christmas
program, for the ‘Welsh Celebration’, available online as a
clean, safe and easy-to-load PDF.

Here is the LINK to download this sumptuously produced guide.

ENJOY.

Merry Christmas.

Oh yea! We are going to BOTH.


A few pages, NOT IN ORDER, reproduced
so that you can savor and salivate.

Click TO ENLARGE.

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Dylan Thomas & I — Just Ahead Of Cambridge ‘Welsh Christmas’ Revels.

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by Anura Guruge


RevelsCambridge10182015Related posts:
** Dylan Thomas: ‘A Boy With A Note’.

>> Christmas Revels North, 2015Scottish Highland Bash.
>> Christmas Revels 2014: RAVE.
>> Christmas Revels 2013 at Dartmouth.
>> Christmas Revels 2012 at Dartmouth.

++++ Search for ‘Revels’ & ‘Cambridge’ for MANY other related posts >>>>


Cwmdonkin Drive, Uplands, Swansea.
Yes, “Uplands House” was set inside a
HUGE sloping garden.

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Click to ENLARGE.


‘Laugharne’ relative to Swansea
(and the famed rugby & mining town Llanelli).

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Click to ENLARGE.


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Dylan Thomas.

2015 Christmas Revels by Cambridge ‘Revels’, which will start this Friday, is based on a “Welsh Celebration” with Dylan Thomas, the famed dipsomaniacal and chain-smoking Welsh poet, to the fore.

Dylan Thomas (who should never be confused with ‘Bob’) & I share a connection.

No I never met him. He was born October 27, 1914 and died November 9, 1953. As such he died when I was 2 months old.

I was never a Dylan Thomas scholar and to be honest am, at best, only familiar with his most famous works, e.g., Under Milk Wood“.

The connection that we share is that I too, like he, lived on Cwmdonkin Drive in the ‘Uplands‘ district of Swansea, Wales — this being when I did my first degree (a B.Sc. in Computer Technology) at the University College of Swansea from 1971 to 1974 (before joining IBM).

I actually lived directly across the road from the semi-detached house (now with the obligatory blue plaque commemorating its historic significance) in which he was born and spent the first 19 years of this relatively short life.

I rented a ‘wing’ in ‘Uplands House’ — an old, rather dilapidated Squire’s Mansion owned by a retired couple who rented much of the house to mature students and recent graduates. I managed to get the ‘wing’ because my adoptive parents could afford the rent (given that my education, in full, was paid for by UNESCO).

When I moved to ‘Uplands House’, after getting kicked out of another boarding house because I broke the rules about visiting girlfriends, I had never heard of Dylan Thomas. But I was still new to Britain having only lived there for just over 2 years — and I had only left Ceylon four years earlier. But my then ‘live-in’ girlfriend, who was to be my first wife, was very au fait with Dylan Thomas’ work. But there was little she didn’t know about English literature or for that matter most things cultural, historic and social. She was a star scholarship pupil from a prestigious (good ol’) British Grammar School. She was beyond clever. I never worked out why somebody as clever as her saw in I. But it was great. She taught me much. And it was she who took me across the road one day and said “look, Dylan Thomas’ house”. She then had to tell me who he was …

When we eventually got a car we, for the heck of it, drove around quite a bit. And that is how I also visited Laugharne, where Dylan lived during his last years and where he is buried. Laugharne was an easy and scenic drive from Swansea. I remember doing the ‘Dylan tour’ of Laugharne at least twice and on one of these visits sitting by his grave.

So between Cwmdonkin Drive and Laugharne I feel I definitely have a connection with this great (but ‘misguided) Welshman.



Christmas Revels 2015, Cambridge, ‘A Welsh Celebration’ — Got Tickets.

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by Anura Guruge


Related posts:
>>
Christmas Revels 2015: Cambridge.
>> Christmas Revels North, 2015Scottish Highland Bash.

>> Christmas Revels 2014: RAVE.
>> Christmas Revels 2013 at Dartmouth.
>> Christmas Revels 2012 at Dartmouth.

++++ Search for ‘Revels’ & ‘Cambridge’ for MANY other related posts >>>>

++++ Refer to ‘Highland Games’ page (↑) for other Scottish music posts ↑↑↑↑


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Well that worked out. Just got tickets to go and see Christmas Revels at Cambridge — AS WELL.

I bought (our customary, front-row, center) tickets for Revels North 2015 in August — the very first day they were open for members.

I am NOT a member of Cambridge Revels, and today was the first day for non-members. So I could not get front-row seats. But these seats are OK. Obviously cost more than front-row at Dartmouth! What can I say. I am pumped. 2012 was the only time we have been to BOTH Revels. The kids will be excited. They love Revels. Plus going to Cambridge is always an adventure.


Dylan Thomas & Ralph McTell — “The Boy With A Note”: In Preparation For Cambridge Revels.

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by Anura Guruge


Related posts:
>> Christmas Revels North, 2015Scottish Highland Bash.

>> Christmas Revels 2014: RAVE.
>> Christmas Revels 2013 at Dartmouth.
>> Christmas Revels 2012 at Dartmouth.

++++ Search for ‘Revels’ & ‘Cambridge’ for MANY other related posts >>>>

++++ Refer to ‘Highland Games’ page (↑) for other Scottish music posts ↑↑↑↑


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“The Boy With A Note” CD by Ralph McTell. Click to access Amazon listing. A musical biography of Dylan Thomas.


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YouTube video of Ralph McTell singing “Summer Girls”, from the CD — one of its many evocative, very easy on the ears, songs.


Dylan Thomas, the Welsh poet (who died young at 39), best known for Under Milk Wood, is due for a resurgence of fame, at least in New England, because Cambridge ‘Revels’ (the ‘mothership’ as I call them) is doing a “Welsh Celebration” as the theme of their Christmas (Solstice) show — whereas ‘Revels North‘, (Dartmouth as I call them) are doing a ‘”Scottish Bash“. So two very British, very celtic shows by the two NE ‘Revels’ powerhouses. The “Welsh Celebration“, as I immediately knew it would be even before I read the ‘blurb’, invokes Dylan Thomas — since he is BEST known in the States for A Child’s Christmas In Wales.

Well Dylan (as well known for his dipsomania as for his classic words) and I have a connection. I know that most of you don’t fully appreciate my Welshness and have no idea that my distinctive accent has very Welsh undertones. Well given this connection I wanted to do a few posts about Dylan ahead of the ‘Revels’.

This magical CD, by Ralph “Streets of London” McTell, was a good place to start. I have had a copy of it for 23 years and still listen to it! It is one of my favorite CDs, and if the truth be known I have two copies since I like to have one in the car.

Watch the above YouTube and you will understand. Ralph McTell is an amazingly gifted musician.

There is also a story as to HOW I ended up with that CD.

In 1992 I was in London doing a seminar. In those days, from 1986 to 1998, I used to go back to the U.K. 2 to 3 times (sometimes more) a year to do seminars. So this was anothre one of those trips. The seminar was at the Holiday Inn, in Swiss Cottage, London — one of my preferred venues for London seminars. As was always the case those days I had a rental car since I liked to drive around my ol’ stomping grounds in the evening. And that is what I was doing one evening, listening to the BBC on the car radio, when I started to hear these songs. I was captivated. Loved them. I wanted that music. But for the world of me the BBC never told me who it was and where the music came from. Aaahhh!

I lucked out. All the UK seminars were invariably done for the UK IBM Consultancy firm called Xephon. Xephon and I went back a long time. My primary contact at Xephon was Mark Lillycrop, a giant of a man in many ways, and not just because he was 6′ 7″ and as such qualified per the British definition for a ‘giant’. I explained my dilemma to Mark. I begged him to find out where the music came from and to get the music for me. Mark did! He contacted the BBC. Tracked down what the program had to have been. Mark is resourceful. Today, via Facebook, where he is a ‘friend’, I thanked him for this AGAIN. He smilingly pointed out that it was NOT easy in 1992 — when there was no Web or Amazon. He is, of course, right.

So that is the story of how I got the CD.

You don’t have to jump through those hoops. You can just order it from Amazon.

Trust me. Great CD. Tells you the whole story of Dylan Thomas, graphically, with music. Basically every other track is a genuine song with short narrations, by Ralph, in between. Listen to “Summer Girls”.

More on Dylan this week.

In the meantime try saying Cwmdonkin Drive. Yes, Cwmdonkin Drive, Uplands, Swansea.