Posts about storytelling, landscape and culture with a focus on Welsh material and places. Mostly by me but also featuring plenty of guest posts and interviews.

Mabinogi Monday #1 with Dafydd Davies-Hughes

I am delighted to present a conversation I had with the storyteller and social enterprise director Dafydd Davies-Hughes who has the good fortune to live in the incomparably beautiful and myth-soaked landscape of the Llŷn Peninsula where he works as a storyteller and is the director of Menter Y Felin Uchaf.

Dafydd in action

Dafydd in action

Inside the Roundhouse at Felin Uchaf

Inside the Roundhouse at Felin Uchaf

I was particularly interested in talking to Dafydd because of his close connection to landscape in the Llŷn Peninsula in North West Wales and his commitment to community building. I first met him making traditional Welsh furniture in an Eisteddfod many years ago and was struck by the way he let the natural beauty and form of the wood speak for itself in furniture that was both functional and beautiful. More recently he has devoted himself to building much bigger structures at Menter Felin Uchaf including the amazing roundhouse which has become a lively and well attended venue for storytelling.

The conversation took place the summer before last when we were both taking part in a Beyond the Border mini-festival of storytelling inside Harlech Castle - the location for the opening of the Second Branch of the Mabinogi, Branwen ferch Llŷr.

Our conversation was wide ranging and included

  • the way narrative knowing hides inside academic practice and the bridge between art and science

  • story as the breath of landscape

  • the need to digest certain material thoroughly before telling it

  • the Mabinogi in Welsh and English

  • how stories can be both specifically located and universal

During the interview Dafydd refers to the horrific actions of a character called Efnisien. Just in case you can’t call to mind who this is, he is the one in the Second Branch, aka Branwen, who mutilates the horses of Matholwch, the Irish king, after Efnisien discovers that his sister, Branwen, has just been married to him.

Harlech Castle complete with Celtic mist.

Harlech Castle complete with Celtic mist.

We also had a parallel conversation about the Mabinogi and related topics in Welsh and if you want to hear what we had to say in the language of heaven keep your eyes peeled for updates or sign up to my mailing list below.

As ever, if you do have any observations or questions do leave a comment below.

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