Y Mabinogi – The First Branch – 2017

Y Mabinogi – The First Branch – 2017

This is a retelling of the First Branch of Y Mabinogi, the first of four albums that will tell The Four Branches.

First written down in the Middle Ages by Christian Monks, and first translated into the English language by Lady Charlotte Guest in the mid 1800s,  these tales are a part of the Matter of Britain itself. Although I have added dramatic decoration to the translation, these additions are based on current academic research, and I have remained faithful to the original tale throughout. When you listen for the first time, try to find some time for yourself and listen to the double album in its entirety. Let me take you on a journey, a magical journey of the Otherworld, of ancient Gods, of demon claws, of the Fearie Folk, and Pagan Lore.

Disc 1


The Hunt

Who is this Coming?

Within the glade at Glen Cuch Pwyll has seen off a pack of strange hounds from a mighty stag, and has set his one upon it. But the glade falls silent, still, and cold. His breath becomes as mist, and a bone biting cold enters the glade…


Verse 1

Here we are, right where our story begins, where will it end?

From now on, nothing will ever be the same again,

There’s still time, turn back and your life will be just as before,

If you stay your name will be spoken in tales, forevermore.




Who is this, who is this, who is this coming?

Who is this, who is this, who is this coming?


Verse 2

In your dream do you remember a voice saying your name?

I cast my spell, you came like a insect that flew too close to the flame,

Trees have cried and trapped you within their tears, free no more,

My darkened eyes have always been watching you from Other shores

Other shores.



Who is this, who is this, who is this coming?

Who is this, who is this, who is this coming?


Verse 3

My hounds they call the souls of the dead to walk between the stars,

Ancient eyes reveal the secrets of future present and past,

Here am I, eternal night that is masked by the rising sun,

And I stand at the end of every life that has just begun,

Just begun.

A Deal with the Otherworld


Agreeing to help Arawn, Pwyll is led to one of the tombs of the Old People. A gateway into the Otherworld of Annwn. He knows there are but three results for those who enter, madness, wisdom, or death. Which one will fall upon him as he sees the sights and sounds of the Otherworld, he does not know…


Verse 1

Echoes from the land,

From earth and mud and sand,

Reveal your destiny,

Always meant to be,

One more step you’ll see,

The deepest mystery.


Verse 2

Bards tell of this shore,

Where Taliesin walked before,

But Gwion now has fled,

Three drops it is said,

A fire in the head,

Inspired, mad or dead.



Annwn, song of eagle, over mountain, I can hear you.

Annwn, Arthur before me, Prydwen sail me, land of story.


Verse 3

A castle spinning slow,

And from the halls below,

The Harp of Faerie sings,

Of magicians and kings,

A blessing or a curse,

Your name now in its verse.


Verse 4

Echoes from the land,

From earth, mud and sand,

This is your destiny,

Always meant to be,

The Hidden Mystery,

One more step you’ll see.

Battle at the Ford

Disc 2

Gorsedd Arberth

These Hollow Hills

Pwyll invites some of his warriors to walk with him, to the top of a hill nearby called Gorsedd Arberth. It is said that if a nobleman sits upon the hill one of two things will happen – either he will suffer wounds or blows, or he will see a wonder. Will a wonder show itself?



Won’t you come and walk with me,

(On these hills these hollow hills)

Such a wonder there to see,

(So the story goes)

Neath the green and different skies,

(In these hills these hollow hills)

Is where the land of Faerie lies,

(So the story goes)


Verse 1

All is quiet, all is still, take a seat upon this hill,

The Eye of Bel is closing soon,

In evening’s twilight you sit down, upon this sacred hollow mound,

To receive a wonder or a wound.


Verse 2

From the day that you were born, and when you heard the hunter’s horn,

Is this freewill or destiny?

The Grey Folk smiling it is done, the spell is cast it has begun,

And such a wonder you will see,


Verse 3

And as that day back in the Glen, the air is still and silent when,

A vision from across the field,

The Gates of Annwn open wide, a Lady on a horse astride,

And now the prophecy’s revealed.

The Lady on Horseback

A Wedding

Another Wedding

Wedding Dance

A Birth and Accusations


The Goddess appears beneath Gorsedd Arberth riding a pale horse. This song tells her story.


Verse 1

High on a horse a lady rides,

Through the fields and the meadows along the hillside,

A gentle pace and such grace in her stride,

Dressed in rich finery

No one could catch her is what they say,

Until a young Prince came riding that way.

For the sake of the one you love most I pray,

Wait and speak with me.

Oh where are you going my pretty young one,

At the end of the day neath the setting sun?

To meet with my husband is why I have come,

And it’s you I have come to see.



Rhiannon, high on a hill a horse is galloping there,

Rhiannon, carved into the land, by an ancient hand, her story for to share.


Verse 2

Thus they were married and ruled the land well,

But the Prince’s advisers began to rebel,

When they saw the land with no heir to tell,

They told him to take a new wife.

But he loved Rhiannon so asked for one year,

For their fate to change, their story to steer,

They prayed to the Earth and the Sun shed a tear,

And thus they were blessed with new life.

An heir to the kingdom, a healthy son,

His eyes were as wild as a stallion,

His hair was as gold as the midday Sun,

But once more fate rolled the dice.


Verse 3

Tired from childbirth she laid down to rest,

Her maidens they too fell asleep it is said,

An empty crib at the foot of her bed,

For their lives another would die,

Lady, oh lady what have you done?

We are covered in bruises you were too strong,

In a fearsome rage you have eaten your son,

And the maidens stuck to their lie,

Now she stands at the mounting block outside the walls,

Telling her story to whoever calls,

To carry them all on her back as a horse.

Be they King or passer by.

The Monster Claw

Mother and the Mabon

Falsely accused of killing her son, Rhiannon is punished for years. Sentenced to stand before the castle gates, to tell her story to every visitor, then to go down on all fours and to offer to carry each one into the castle on her back. But then, reunited with her long-lost son. This is their song.



Is this really true?

Can it be? Can it be?

I see in your eyes,

Joy and sadness,

Mother I never knew,

Now I see, now I see,

The torment and lies,

But now this madness.

Is over, our life has begun,

Hold me, your lost child, your son.



Is this really true?

Can it be? Can it be?

All those years ago,

Stolen from me,

Somehow I always knew,

Now I see, now I see,

The boy I’ll come to know,

Stands before me,

Lost years oh they can’t be undone.

Let me hold you, my lost child, my son.


Pryderi and Rhiannon

Is this really true?

Can it be? Can it be?

I’ll never let you go,

I feel you breathing,

Yes it’s really you,

And can you see, can you see,

A mare and her foal,

Wild and running,

Through green fields,

Bathed and warmed by the sun,

Mother and the Mabon as one.