Flan cupboards

A Welsh plygain song I’ve been learning recently with some friends (Carol y Swper) features the word fflangell in the line “Ein Meichiau a’n Meddyg dan fflangell Iddweig”.

We weren’t sure what it meant at first, and guessed that it was some kind of container for a flan or a flan cupboard. A fflan is a flan, and cell means cell or bower, and in compound words can mean a container or building. For example oergell (cold cell) is a fridge, rhewgell (frost/ice cell) is a freezer, and llyfrgell (book cell) is a library.

So we thought the line meant something like “Our arms and doctor under the Jewish flan cupboard.” Hilarity ensued. It actually means “Our Surety and Healer under the Jewish scourge.”

You can hear the whole song at:

We will be singing in a plygain service in Bangor cathedral starting at 7pm on Friday 15th January as Parti Min Menai.

Do you have any examples of mistranslated or misheard song lyrics?

One thought on “Flan cupboards

  1. I think in this religious context “ein Meichiau…” is better translated using the Christian terminology as “our Redeemer…”.
    “Fflangell” is how Welsh has rendered the Latin “flagellum” – scourge, whip.

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