Category Archives: barry island

Introducing Children to Welsh Through Song, with Babi Bach the Album

babi bach

My 4-year-old has just learned her first Welsh word ,’canu’ meaning to sing.

How does a child living in the US with non- Welsh speaking parents learn such a word?  From the wonderful, bilingual album, the girls received as a gift.  The album was created by a friend of mine who runs ‘Babi Bach’ a bilingual music group in South Wales.  The girls are fascinated by this unfamiliar language and love it when I tell them the meaning of a Welsh word.

The songs are familiar favourites, including, row, row ,row your boat, incey wincey spider and one finger, one thumb and are sung by male and female voices, in both English and Welsh.   The Welsh versions brought back distant memories of my days as a student teacher in Wales. As an added surprise, when browsing the cover,  I recognised one of the singers as a child who attended my after-school club in the 90’s.  My friend confirmed that it was him, all grown up and singing professionally. More happy memories of home.

Living in the US, my children are unlikely to hear the Welsh Language.  I’m not a Welsh speaker but the Welsh language was at the forefront of my early school years. We had Welsh assembly once a week, played games in Welsh and learned the Welsh language. The girls are fascinated that there is this strange language that is only spoken in Wales.

The girls sing along in English and try their best to join in with the Welsh.  Initially, they spouted  gibberish, laughing hysterically at the complicated words in ‘head, shoulders,knees and toes. My Welsh isn’t really strong enough to help them but I point out the words I recognise. My next step is to print off the Welsh lyrics , so I can sing along. The songs are separated by enthusiastic conversations between a group of friends in both languages, so it is easy for them to follow.

After hearing the songs a few times, they are already beginning to sing along in Welsh even without my help.

I can highly recommend this for Welsh parents who have moved away from Wales. It is the perfect  introduction to the Welsh language.  Equally, it is a simple and fun way to learn Welsh for children living in Wales.

Digital copies of Babi Bach yr Albwm are available from Amazon Music and other digital music platforms.

Disclaimer :This is not a sponsored post no payment was received.

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Barry Island – A Strange Phenomenon

I am completely intrigued and bemused by the phenomenon that is Barry Island. I grew up in Barry and Barry Island has always conjured up a Morrissey lyric

This is the coastal town that they forgot to close down.

So when my friend’s 13 year old niece greeted me with great excitement and a multitude of questions after telling her that I grew up in Barry, I was a little taken aback.  Of course it is all fueled by Gavin and Stacey, a programme that I absolutely love and somehow Barry has been given a chance to redeem itself.

Barry used to be a thriving resort full of day visitors and holiday makers at the Butlins Camp. As a child we didn’t visit Barry Island much because my dad hated sandy beaches, bemoaning how he got sand in his sandwiches.  We spent most of our time at the other pebbly beach in Barry scrabbling for the tiny piece of sand that emerged when the tide went out.  Going to Barry Island as a child was a huge treat – oodles of sand, arcades, funfair, tacky shops – a child’s dream. We had a children’s party once on the penny machines and the arcade with the historic slot machines displaying 1940’s film stars was a huge hit for those on a small budget.

As teenagers we used to meet at the amusement park for a night out, go for day trips to Butlins and trawl the arcades in search of ‘foreign’ boys. As 6th formers we loved the Warehouse nightclub and Pebbles but by the late 80’s early 90’s the holiday camp had closed the nightclubs were mostly boarded up and anything that was still open was forced to close at midnight.

During the 90’s I worked at Barry Island and often went for walks to the sea front on a Sunday afternoon. It was still busy but not quite what it had been in its heyday. We took my daughter to Barry Island funfair as a toddler – I was amazed at how little it had changed from when I was a teenager, it certainly hadn’t moved with the times.

I still think I was extremely lucky to grow up by the sea, to be able to make going to the seaside a regular occurrence and to be able to sit and look out over the sea when I needed thinking space. We took it very much for granted as children. Now  I live by the sea again but we don’t have any particularly nice beaches so I do appreciate more the ability to walk to the beach on a regular basis.

I think it’s great that there is a new sense of excitement about Barry.  It’s become a popular location for many television programmes including Being Human (filmed in my cousin’s street), Dr Who (our Wedding Venue featured in an episode) and of course Gavin and Stacey.  I just hope that it lives up to the hype.

So for me, a small town Welsh girl, the idea that my home town has become a phenomenon is very strange, but I’m getting used to it.

photographs courtesy of Augusta Trussell