"you will feast in Harlech for seven years, with the birds of Rhiannon singing to you"

The birds of Rhiannon also feature in the story 'How Culhwch won Olwen', where they are described as having the power to ‘wake the dead and lull the living to sleep’.

The birds of Rhiannon appear to have captured the imagination of several composers. They have given their name to two musical works: Joseph Holbrooke’s 1926 symphonic poem (Op.87)  and James MacMillan’s 2001  tone-poem for orchestra. The Welsh singer/songwriter Fflur Dafydd has also written a song called Abercuawg, whose opening lines are Deffro’n nos yn clywed adar Rhiannon yn canu yn fy mhen ('Waking at night and hearing the birds of Rhiannon singing in my head').


Listen here to Joseph Holbrooke's 'Birds of Rhiannon' on Spotify.