Our National Anthem, Hen Wlad Fy Nhadau (Land of my Fathers) was written in 1856. The original name of the song was Glan Rhondda.
Evan James wrote the words and his son James James wrote the music. The father and son were from Pontypridd, where there is a memorial to them in Ynysangharad Park. The earliest written copy is part of the collections of the National Library of Wales.
The music is also used by Cornwall, ‘Bro Goth Agan Tasow’, and in Brittany, ‘Bro Gozh ma Zadoù.
The first recorded occasion of a National Anthem being sung before an international sporting occasion was in 1905. The Welsh crowd sang Hen Wlad Fy Nhadau in response to the New Zealand rugby team’s traditional Hacka at the Cardiff Arms Park.
These days Welsh National Anthem can be heard sung passionately before our international rugby and football matches.
If you would like to learn our National Anthem, there’s a mobile app that can help.
Mae hen wlad fy nhadau yn annwyl i mi,
Gwlad beirdd a chantorion, enwogion o fri;
Ei gwrol ryfelwyr, gwladgarwyr tra mâd,
Tros ryddid gollasant eu gwaed.
Gwlad, Gwlad, pleidiol wyf i'm gwlad,
Tra môr yn fur i'r bur hoff bau,
O bydded i'r heniaith barhau.
Hen Gymru fynyddig, paradwys y bardd;
Pob dyffryn, pob clogwyn, i'm golwg sydd hardd
Trwy deimlad gwladgarol, mor swynol yw si
Ei nentydd, afonydd, i fi.
Os treisiodd y gelyn fy ngwlad dan ei droed,
Mae hen iaith y Cymry mor fyw ag erioed,
Ni luddiwyd yr awen gan erchyll law brad,
Na thelyn berseiniol fy ngwlad.
Here's the first verse and chorus phonetically to give you an idea:
My hen oo-lad vurr n’had-die un ann-wil ee mee
goo-lard bay-rdd* a ch**ann-tor-eon
enn wog eon o vree
ane goo-rol ruvv-el-weir
goo-lard gar-weir tra mard
dross rudd*-id cor-ll***ar-sant ay goo-eyed.
played-eeyol weave eem goo-lard
tra more un beer, ear beer horff bye
O budd*-ed eer hen ee-eye-th bar hi.
*There are two “th” sounds in Welsh.”Th” in Welsh
is pronounced as in “think” or “fourth”.
“Dd” is pronounced as in “this” or “that”.
** “ch” is pronounced as in “loch” or “Bach”.
*** “ll” is a cross between an “l” and an “s”.
English Translation - Land of My Fathers
This land of my fathers is dear to me
Land of poets and singers, and people of stature
Her brave warriors, fine patriots
Shed their blood for freedom
Land! Land! I am true to my land!
As long as the sea serves as a wall for this pure, dear land
May the language endure for ever.
Old land of the mountains, paradise of the poets,
Every valley, every cliff a beauty guards;
Through love of my country, enchanting voices will be
Her streams and rivers to me.
Though the enemy have trampled my country underfoot,
The old language of the Welsh knows no retreat,
The spirit is not hindered by the treacherous hand
Nor silenced the sweet harp of my land.