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Ancient Welsh folk tune used in new hit Netflix series Wednesday

04 Dec 2022 2 minute read
Jenna Ortega plays cello as Wednesday Addams, in new Netflix series ‘Wednesday’.

The new hit Netflix series Wednesday includes an ancient Welsh tune, an expert on folk music has noticed.

In a scene where the titular Addams family character visits a Pilgrim World theme park in the third episode, a traditional Welsh folk tune is heard prominently in the background.

Despite being set in the new world, the music played is Y Pêr Oslef, also sometimes called Rhisiart Annwyl. The subtitles simply read that old-fashioned folk music is playing and do not name the song.

The music is heard between 9 minutes 53 seconds and 10 minutes 35 seconds in the third episode.

There is no known connection between the series and Wales – apart from the fact that it stars Welsh actress Catherine Zeta-Jones as Morticia Addams in two episodes.

Huw Dylan Owen, and author of the book Sesiwn yng Nghymru on Welsh folk music, said that his daughter Mirain Owen – herself an accomplished folk musician – picked up on the track while watching the series.

“Apparently, it’s a tune from the 16th century,” Huw Dylan Owen said. “It is a Welsh harp tune in Edward Jones’s Musical and Poetical Relicks of the Welsh Bards from 1784.

“The tune is also recorded in English Country Dance books of the 18th century as a “Welch” dance.  It is possible/probable that the Rhisiart in question was King Richard III.”

Whatever its origins, plenty of viewers will have heard the song being used. Wednesday this week surpassed Stranger Things’s record as Netflix’s most-watched title ever in a single week.

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Cynan again
Cynan again
1 year ago

Binge watched the whole thing. Refreshes Tim Burton’s tired old “dark and quirky” schtick nicely.
I’m guessing he cast CZJ as Morticia because HBC was unavailable?
Great show. Didn’t notice the track mentioned. Though since I keep the subtitles on (cos life often gets loud) I DID notice it described as “old folk music” and thought the subtitles was a bit lazy

Last edited 1 year ago by Cynan again
1 year ago

There is another Welsh connection, a pre production company based in Cardiff called Painting Practice worked on the show. Highly doubt that’s related to the music mentioned.

Y Cymro
Y Cymro
1 year ago

It’s surprising where Welsh folk songs turn up. Another of note was used in the 1989 American hit comedy National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation starring Chevy Chase & Beverly DiAngelo. We see them and two kids in a scene where they are travelling on a highway into the snowy mountains to obtain a Christmas tree for the holidays when they are all prompted by Clark (Chevy Chase) to sing Deck The Halls , a 16th century Welsh melody connected to Nos Galan.

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