Published online by Cambridge University Press: 08 September 2022
This chapter looks at the contribution of a group of remarkable women to the collection and performance of Welsh traditional song in the early part of the twentieth century. Despite the publication of Maria Jane Williams’s Ancient National Airs of Gwent & Morganwg in 1844, the study of indigenous music in Wales did not flourish until the Welsh Folk-Song Society was established in 1906. Under the direction of John Lloyd Williams, Lecturer in Botany at the University College of North Wales (Bangor), the organisation inspired the collection, classification, performance and analysis of traditional songs. His efforts gave rise to the first revival of traditional music in Wales, but none of this would have been possible without the collaboration of a group of women, of whom the most prominent were Mary Davies, Ruth Herbert Lewis, Annie Ellis, Lucie Barbier, Grace Gwyneddon Davies, Jennie Williams and Dora Herbert Jones. They were pioneers in the collection and performance of Welsh traditional song, setting new standards in ethnographic field work and disseminating their discoveries through their publications, lectures and recitals.
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