Can Anyone Help with a Welsh Song about a Small Bird (Un deryn bach )?

Alex Worrall wrote asking for help with a Welsh song. Here’s his note:

In 1963, I was a 6 y.o. English kid parachuted into a Welsh school in Haverfordwest. Actually, I was born in Haverfordwest on a previous visit but that’s another story all to do with RNAS Brawdy. I am quite proud of a bit of Welshness, I have to say, especially when it comes to rugby.

At Mount Airey School in Haverfordwest, I was very happy. In Singing Lesson, we were taught a Welsh song, bits of which has stayed with me all this time but I have never been able to identify despite hours spent trawling websites and Spotify. I am hoping that, if I give you my recollection of the words I remember, you might recognise it.

Something like:

Un deryn bach 
Yn canun iach
Did-a-dee, did-a-daw

(One small bird
Singing very pretty)

As I recall, the rest of the song was much the same.

Can you help? (I still remember the tune – if it really comes to it, I could record my rendition and send that!)


Alex Worrall.

Alex later sent me a recording. You can listen to it here.

If anyone can help with any info about this song, please comment below.

Thanks in advance! 

Mama Lisa

This article was posted on Wednesday, April 13th, 2022 at 8:48 pm and is filed under Countries & Cultures, Languages, Mama Lisa, Questions, Readers Questions, Wales, Welsh, Welsh Children's Songs. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

4 Responses to “Can Anyone Help with a Welsh Song about a Small Bird (Un deryn bach )?”

  1. John Goode Says:

    I well remember singing this particular song as a very young child in a pre school (kindergarten) in the village of Llanbradach, probably round 1950. Sadly, there was no effort made to teach children Welsh in our area, throughout our schooling years, up to the age of fifteen.

  2. Monique Says:

    I asked Sian from the Mudcat Cafe and here’s what she answered…

    “Well, I checked with a friend in the Welsh Folk Song Society and she replied (I’ll translate for you)…
    ‘I learned it in grade school & it’s in a book of songs. I might have a picture of it; I’ll look.
    From what I remember, the words went something like this:

    Aderyn bach yn canu’n iach
    Little bird singing in good health (sort of ‘robustly’)
    Dere di, dere do, (nonsense words noting the bird song)
    Aderyn bach yn canu’n iach
    Dere di, dere do.
    Canu’n iach ar frig y llwyn,
    Singing robustly on a twig at the top of the shrub
    Canu cân i’r gwanwyn mwyn,
    Singing robustly to the gentle spring.
    Aderyn bach
    Yn canu’n iach
    Aderyn bach yn canu’n iach,
    Dere di, dere di, dere do.

    ‘A right jolly little song – we sang it a lot on long car journeys….’

    It sounds like it was popular in the school system.

    Hope that’s of interest.”

  3. Alex Says:

    Thank you – that is one of my life’s great mysteries solved.

  4. Abi Says:

    This was a set piece for the Urdd Eisteddfod (National Wales Children and Youth Arts Competition/Festival). I remember singing it in a local eisteddfod – Trallong Eisteddfod (still running annually) in the run-up to the Urdd. This was in the late seventies when I was in infant school (pre-eight-years-old).
    I could only remember the first two lines too, so it’s great to have the rest of it. Thank you for the answers and the fond memories.

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