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Summary

After reading, recording, and listening to the Four Branches of the Mabinogion, I'm amazed that the world isn't full of manga comics, Hollywood blockbusters, best-selling novels, sticker collections, trading cards, and fantasy role-playing games based on this quite astonishing collection of Welsh tales. The breadth and imagination of these stories is really quite amazing - How many other stories can boast such a heady collection of wizards, body-swapping, bitter curses, deep revenge lasting for generations, a giant, a cauldron of immortality, murder plots, princes, kings and even pig-embezzlement? Not to mention a woman made from flowers by two wizards as a wife for a man cursed by his mother from ever marrying another human being. A man who can only be killed by a spear which has been crafted for one year and this while he stands with one leg on a bath and the other on the back of a young goat?

The Mabinogion is a collection of tales, told over generations, recorded in two manuscripts; Llyfr Coch Hergest (The Red Book of Hergest) and Llyfr Gwyn Rhydderch (The White Book of Rhydderch). Translated into English by Lady Charlotte Guest, they contain a large number of tales from the Welsh storytelling tradition. Strictly speaking, however, the term Mabinogi (Mabinogion was mistakenly taken as the plural of Mabinogi by Lady Charlotte Guest) refers to the Four Branches recorded here.

Complete with an introduction by Welsh author and audiobook narrator Colin Jones. Cover art by Howard David Johnson.

©2017 Cadw Swn/Potassium Frog Ltd (P)2017 Cadw Swn/Potassium Frog Ltd

What listeners say about Mabinogion, the Four Branches

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    3 out of 5 stars

poor recording quality

music is fine in the background but becomes distracting as it drowns out the narrator,as a result I am unable to hear the stories. the narrator heavily over pronounciates the letter S. This is very distracting and some times piercing to listen too.

3 people found this helpful

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Great voice for narration

Colin Jones has the perfect voice for narration with his soft south Walian lilt and gentle reading pace. I find the intermittent musical overlays a little distracting, but that's more to do with my hearing than the production itself. I intend to revisit the text version of the Mabinogion and then come back to this audiobook for a second listen!

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Profile Image for Mary H.
  • Mary H.
  • 25-05-18

Audio is the best way to hear these stories!

I love books, and generally, I prefer an actual book to an audio version. However, as Colin Jones so rightly comments in the introduction, these stories come from an oral tradition, and as such, the audio version more closely replicates the listening experience of the early Celts who would have been hearing these stories in early times. Plus, for those who do not speak Welsh, it's much easier to stay with the story when one doesn't have to fumble over names as you read. My only criticism is that in some places, the narration competes with the background music/vocals, making it hard to discern the story. I wish it had been mixed with the background track a little lower in volume. Still, I enjoy it!

3 people found this helpful

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  • ryan
  • 09-02-18

background music rediculous cant even hear story

cant hear any of the story with such loud background music, not worth thw money at such low quality

2 people found this helpful

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  • Amanda K Terry
  • 30-09-17

Good story, bad music

The story was poor together well, but I did not like the choice of music.

2 people found this helpful

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  • ANDRE R WILLIAMSON
  • 06-03-21

Very interesting traditional tale; recording marred by loud background music

I enjoyed listening to the recording as I have been learning Welsh. There were several stretches in audio chapters 6 and 7, however - and there may have been other times too - when the background music became foreground music, drowning out the narration completely. Not just a few words, but entire paragraphs were rendered incomprehensible.

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  • lucindy h.
  • 20-12-20

Background music too loud

Waste of money because I can’t hear the story due to music. Find a better version!!