The Welsh national Anthem , its story, its meaning
par Sion T. Jobbins, édité par Y Lolfa, 2013, 65 pages
Page 30, l’auteur consacre un petit chapitre à « Wales and the World » où il est question du Bro Gozh.
« Estonia and Finland do it. South Africa and New Zealand do it, and yes, even Great Britain and Lichtenstein do it .
They share the same melody for their respective anthems.
And Wales does, too .
Our fellow Brythonic Celts, the Cornish and the Bretons, who speak a language similar to Welsh that also has mutations, sing their own version of « Hen Wlad fy Nhadau ».
In Breton, the song is known as « Bro gozh ma Zadoù » and has a longer pedigree.It was initially brought to Breton shores by the Rev William Jenkyn Jones, a Welsh Protestant missionnary sent to Brittany in 1882 to convert the Bretons from Catholicism to Protestantism. Jones translated the patriotic sentiments of the song into Breton but made the mistake of adding verses against the demon drink, which did not go down so well with the cider-pressing peasants of Penn-ar-Bed.
However, a young Breton patriot, François Jaffrennou (or Taldir to give his bardic name) revived the song. He was familiar with Wales and visited the National Eisteddfod at Cardiff in 1899 (where Patrick Pearse, one of the leaders of the Irish Easter Rising, was accepted to the Gorsedd). The recognised lyrics were published in 1898 in the patriotic Breton newspaper for which he wrote, La Résistance. . It was chosen as a national anthem in 1903, the year of James James death, at a conference of the Union Régionaliste Bretonne at Lesneven and was first recorded, by Pathé, in 1910.
During the 2009 French Cup final, which was played by two Breton teams, Stade Rennais and En Avant de Guingamp, the Bretons petitioned the French FA to have the anthem included in the proceedings. The French refused but allowed it to be sung before the official opening, giving the song greater exposure and status than it had ever received. Like Wales, sport was a way to unify and solidify the national indentity.
I look forward to the day when we hear the tune of « Hen Wlad3 played at international football and rugby between Wales and the other nations that share our anthem.