The Renaissance of
Welsh Music in the 18th and 19th
Harp Music and "Penillion Singing"
the 18th and early 19th centuries you could find many
itinerant harpists, fiddlers and ballad singers such as Dick Dywll, who was
famous for his performances in the pubs and brothels of the notorious China
district of Merthyr Tydfil.
houses were often the only refuge open to the Penillion singers. Singers, crwth
players, harpers and Penillion singers – were regarded (especially by prude
Nonconformists) with suspicion.
Society of Gwneddigion (founded in 1771) and "Canorion"
(founded in 1820) promoted the old art of penillion singing to harp
accompaniment. However the original songs of the middle ages were lost forever.
of the early harpists became favourites of the English Establishment. One of
them – John Parry – gave concerts in London, Oxford, Cambridge and Dublin in
the mid-18th century.
But the lower classes were excluded from this highly developed art of harp playing ("artificially constructed to the delectation of metropolitan sophisticates" ).