Yr Atal Genhedlaeth - A handy translation


A letter from Gruff Rhys.

"The title is a play on words that doesn't really translate."


We told you what we thought of Gruff Rhys' solo album, Yr Atal Genhedlaeth, last month. You can find the review in the album section. Thing was, we couldn't give you much detail as the album is sang in the Welsh language. Thankfully, Gruff was kind enough to drop us a line or two to help with the translation. Here's his track by track guide to The Stuttering Generation.



Yr Atal Genhedlaeth – track by track


1. Yr Atal Genhedlaeth (The Stuttering Generation)

The title is a play on words that doesn't really translate. Contraception in Welsh is Atal-genhedlaeth; it literally means, "Stop the next generation". By adding  'the'  it becomes "The Stopped Generation", but atal also means stuttering, so it becomes "The Stuttering Generation". So it's quite a vicious title, to define a generation. It's also just a dirty pun.

 2. Gwn Mi Wn (Yes, I Know)

It's a bit of a long story. It literally means, "Yes, I know." It's also a play on words; extended. It's about this MC called Glyn Kysgod Angau, Which means The Valley Of Death and his mate called D. Chwaeth [Ob Scene]. So it's kind of biblical. It's a track about these two fictional MC's who have a battle with bows and arrows that shoot words, and they pour beer on their cornflakes in the morning. It's just bragging really.


3. Epynt

Epynt is a mountain in North East Wales. It's also about the battle between the Euro (the E in Epynt) and the pound (pynt in Welsh). The conclusion is that it's better to get rid of money altogether.


4. Rhagluniaeth Ysgafn (May My Destiny Be Light)

Another play on words – the title literally means 'May My Destiny Be Light'. But because of the nature of the Welsh language, lluniaeth ysgafn also means 'light snack', so this could also mean 'May My Destiny Be easily digested ', or 'May My Precooked Destiny Be Lite'. I'm singing this at the Gates of Heaven, confessing all of my sins. It's a pisstake, obviously, I'm an atheist, but it's a song so there are elements of my life in it. I'm saying, "whatever your decision, I'm cool with, but if it's punishment, please make it a light snack."


5. Pwdin Wy 1 (Egg Pudding 1)6. Pwdin Wy 2 (Egg Pudding 2)

This means 'Egg Pudding', One and Two. The first song is about falling in love with a woman called Egg Pudding, and the lust at the beginning of a relationship. The second song is about the relationship falling apart, and Egg Pudding has caught a really bad disease and she's dying, and we're miles apart, and it's a tragic ending after a euphoric beginning. It's a song I've been trying to get out of my system for about ten years.


7. Y Gwybodusion (Experts)

This means 'Pundits', or 'Experts'. "Where are the experts?" it's asking. 'Looking for Answers' is the reply.


8. Caerffosiaeth (Sewage City)

A tale of a fictional city, Caerffosiaeth this loosely translates as 'Sewage City'. It's based on various cities in Wales, talking about living in 'Sewage City'. I get through a lot of moans that I've got about living in Wales in 2005, but also some of the good bits. There's nothing like having a good moan.


9. Ambell Waith (Remembering)

This is about leaving 'Sewage City' and going out on tour. It's about nostalgia and the occasional longing for home, but not a lot! It's about waking up in a different country every day. It's biographical: everything is, to a certain extent, but its one of the most straight up songs. And it's got loads of car noises on it – provided by a twenty-five quid synth I bought from a garage on the A55.


10. Ni Yw Y Byd (We Are The World)

This is like 'We Are The World'. Or 'I'd Like To Teach the World to Sing' except  a skewed version of that with a different world-view, with lines like, "Let's confuse our contemporaries, because we are the world", and "Let's prepare for revolution, because we are the world". Totally ridiculous, with a melody to try and explode people's heads, and get people dancing. It's a euphoric song to dance to – to celebrate the person you're with at the time.


11. Chwarea'n Troi'n Chwerw (When Play Turns Sour)

It's a cathartic exercise to cover a song that haunted me through my childhood, changing the odd word here and there, to make it sound a bit more psychopathic. It literally means 'When Play Turns Sour' - it's a Welsh proverb. "Play turns sour, when you're playing with fire." The song is about when lying becomes easier than telling the truth – to contradict the euphoria of 'Ni Yw Y Byd'. There's enough soft pop out there – we don't need any more!