This article outlines the valuable contribution made by Annie Ellis (neé Davies) to the folksong revival in Wales and in particular her influence in the Aberystwyth/Cardiganshire district during the early decades of the Twentieth Century. It draws on original correspondence, fieldwork diaries, notated transcriptions, newspaper articles (in Welsh and French) and phonograph recordings from the National Library of Wales, the British Library, Bibliotèque Nationale de France and private collections. The following areas are discussed:
- Annie Ellis’s involvement in folksong related activities at the University of Wales, Aberystwyth, including the establishing of the Canorion Society, folksong collecting competitions and performances of J. Lloyd Williams’s operetta, Aelwyd Angharad (Angharad’s Hearth).
- Six historically significant concerts of traditional Welsh music given by a quartet of undergraduate singers in Paris during March 1911, including performances at Le Lied en Tout Pays and the Richelieu Amphitheatre (Sorbonne). This visit represented the embodiment of the Entente Cordiale established between Britain and France during the years leading up to the First World War. Association with Madame Lucie Barbier (head of vocal studies at the University) and the positive response of the Parisian press.
- Ruth Lewis and Annie Ellis’s three day fieldwork visit to Landyssul, Pencader and the surrounding district in June 1913 and the outcome of their folk song collecting, including an evaluation of the texts and melodies collected.
The article also highlights the role of one Edwardian woman in developing the cultural life of Wales and her attempts to promote Welsh traditional music on an international platform.