Interview with Gilles H (Daonet) for the album “Donemat”

Plus: Lúnasa video and new releases fromAndrew “Slim” Black,  Michelle Mulcahy and Eliseo Mauas Pinto.

Gwendal Meillarec, Herve Briand and Gilles Bogzh-daonet.

I am glad to discover the band Daonet from Nantes. They are a fine addition to our ever growing collection of Breton artists. They play catchy rock oriented music using Breton language. It doesn’t matter if you don’t speak the language. The music is fun, catchy with just enough loudness to awaken your caffeine deprived family members. The lead vocals of Gwendal Meillarec (he also plays the flute) is strong but not imposing which is a good thing. He sometimes mimics the sound of the bagpipes with his guitar tuned in a unique fashion using great effects.

My guest Gilles H  mostly plays bass guitar. He explains : “I personally mostly play bass guitar except on O’surfin on which we play with 2 guitars (Gwendal on chorus me in rhythmic guitar and after we exchange the roles). On stage I also play synth sounds controlled by my bass (organ, guitars sounds etc.) or my guitar on “O’surfin” (upright bass sound) but on the CD, I’ve used this sounds on “Marv Ponkalleg” intro and one effect on “Nerzh-kalon”. The drums of Herve Briand make the crunch! If you read further,  Gilles gives us an in-depth look at the Celtic music scene in the whole of France not just in Brittany. Here, Gilles uses the terms Breton and Celtic to differentiate the specific from the general.

You made a different treatment of Tri Martolod..it has a  more energetic and punk feel. What are your expectations in terms of people’s reactions to this song and those who are loyal with Alan Stivell’s version?

Yes we play Tri Martolod on stage in our way since 2003, 2004 I think. The reactions to our interpretation of this traditional song are always good, never any complaints 😉 people sing and clap their hands every time 😉

Daonet means Damned in English. Why did you choose that name for the band?

We are from the town of Nantes = Naoned in Breton language and there is an expression from Brittany “Mont da Naoned da c’hortoz bezan daonet” = going to Nantes waiting being damned, an expression referring to people from west part of Brittany who had to go to Nantes to get a job in the 19th century. The 12th track of Donemat album, “Mont da Naoned” is a folk-rock style song based on this expression with a parallel on  nowadays people who have to migrate to find a job … Paris or elsewhere on the planet …

 How about giving us a brief background of each band member?

Gwendal founded the band in 2000. He is an electric and acoustic guitarist. He also sings, and plays tin whistle. He writes lyrics mainly in Breton or in French.

I (Gilles) have joined the band in 2002. I play bass guitar, upright bass, synth guitar, and I also sing.

I’ve played in the late 80’s and early 90’s in a Celtic rock band from Vannes called Tan Flam. I’ve also played, wrote and sung in rock, rock’n roll, blues-rock bands  ….for example Bogzh ! with Hervé on drums …

Hervé has joined Daonet in 2006,  he plays drums, derbouka, djembe, cajon etc. He played in different music styles band before Daonet : rock, punk-rock, blues-rock …

 What can we expect from the band this year?

We have recorded “Donemat” with guests’ participation on violin (Frédéric Bouley) and bombarde (Olivier Arz). We have played some concerts with Olivier. We also played in acoustic configuration (acoustic guitars, upright bass, cajon and voices). These different configurations may be developed in the future for live and recording events …

Booking / tour +33 628 362 994

 Where can listeners purchase their copies of Daonet CDs and mp3s?

The latest album “Donemat” is distributed by Coop Breizh, so dealers may have access to this record. It is also available on Daonet’s website http://www.daonet.eu/ as the previous CD “Rok a raok”, the different albums are also available in numeric version on http://daonet.bandcamp.com/ .

Donemat is also available in MP3 on itunes, Amazon platforms … It is also possible to discover the album through Deezer, spotify …

What are the festivals around France that you guys have been to?And what  memorable things  happened during these shows? 

We played for the “Festival des filets bleus” in Concarneau (Brittany) 1 year ago opening for Gilles Servat with 10 000 people attending, we were announced as the “coup de coeur” of the festival… It was great. We’ve also played for “Celtival on the rock” in Guemene-Penfao with Dom Duff and Muray Head, for Festival des nuits salines in Batz-sur-mer …

It is not a festival, but a fest like the St Patrick fest for Ireland, in Brittany around the St Yves day / Gouël Erwann may 19th there is Brittany Fest organized since several years and promoted by Brittany region, we play during this period in different contexts. We played for example, few years ago in Rennes with traditional music bands, “Les Ramoneurs de menhirs” with their special recipe mixing traditionnal music and punk music and also a punk-metal-fusion band singing in Breton … This year we played for one of this concerts for the Brittany Fest in Nantes for or the first Breton language fest in Loire Atlantique. We are also asked for playing every year for the St Patrick day with Irish music bands (traditional or rock bands). We also play sometimes our music in concerts with no Celtic, or folk theme, with rock, blues-rock, punk bands etc. for concerts organized by bikers that sometimes are a little afraid of songs in Breton but when we ask if they understand the lyrics of English singing bands this stops their fear and they often recognize that  even some French  singing bands are not so easy to understand ;-).

Tell us about making the album Donemat. How do you gather materials etc. Can you tell us the procedure down to the final mixing?

Most of the songs were played on stage several years before they were recorded but in the beginning of the new record project, we’ve selected the songs (with 2 traditional songs “marv pontkalleg” and the Brittany anthem “Bro gozh ma zadoù”) and we stopped playing others songs, new songs replacing the previous ones. We worked the titles adopted in studio versions exclusively with the strict tempo of a metronome on every rehearsal during at least one year. We recorded with Arthur Lauth, who manages when this is possible our sound on stage, in a one day captation + mix, a pre-production recording of the 12 titles. With this pre-production CD, we met several sound engineers to find the studio allowing us to get the recording we were expecting with an agenda matching ours ;-).

At this point of the project, we had the agreement of Coop Breizh for the distribution of our album in France. We also had a contact with a painter / illustrator Brucéro to order him a drawing for the CD.

We chose to work with a brand new studio : Woodbox Studio near Nantes – managed by Jeff Ferrand that worked before in others studios.

We began the recording in the end of may 2011 with drums and bass tracks (electric basses and fretless bass) in 2 week-ends.

Followed later by Gwendal during a week electric and acoustic guitars parts, a keyboard track on the slow song, tin whistle, and we recorded voices.

Two guests recorded after then theirs parts in other sessions :

– Olivier Arz (we played together in Tan Flam group long time ago) played bombarde on three tracks, we worked together for several rehearsals with Olivier with the complete band, or with guitar, bass and tin whistle/ bombarde.

– Frédéric Bouley who plays violin in numerous bands (Breton, Irish music) recorded on the song “Mont da Naoned”, we worked with him and Gwendal in rehearsal (acoustic guitar, upright bass, violin), and with a first mix of the tracks already recorded of this title.

We finished the choirs, Hervé recorded Derbouka and Djembe, I recorded upright bass licks with the bow on “Mont da Naoned”, synth guitar on “Marv Pontkalleg” intro and my rhythm and chorus guitar parts on O’Surfin …

Jeff did the mix with some adjustments after listen sessions with the band. We defined the final order for the titles and then the mastering process was done in a specialized company.

My brother Lionel took pictures of the band for the CD and newspapers, he also did the graphics of the Digipack including the booklet with lyrics etc. with the character Brucéro drew for us.

The CD was then manufactured in the first week of January 2012 and sent to stores in February by Coop Breizh, we also sent CD to fans who pre-ordered and organized a concert in Nantes to invite fans for this disc availability.

Do you think Celtic Breton is stronger now than before?

I suppose that you ask the question of Breton music . Is it stronger ? It is always present. In Brittany there are many bands playing traditional music : bagadoù created on the model of pipe bands. There are fest-noz bands (fest noz can be translated in night fest) and they play music to make people dance traditional Breton dances. They are very active. There are also Celtic rock bands and some Breton rock bands. They play songs written in Breton, in Gallo with or without traditional, Breton or Celtic music influences. The success of Celtic music and of Breton music for masses is cyclic in France. Alan Stivell, Tri Yann, Soldat Louis, Manau (Celtic rap), Armens, Dan Ar Braz, Matmatah (their first album), Merzhin etc. had a very good success in some periods, Nolwenn Leroy with her cover album of best of traditional songs in Breton had been a big success recently.

The scene for Celtic music and Breton music is always present here, especially in Brittany, where the festivals are very popular and numerous (Festival interceltique de Lorient, Nuits salines in Batz sur Mer, Filets bleus in Concarneau, Festival de Cornouaille etc. In the Festival des Vieilles Charrues in Carhaix-Plouguer  it is much more rock and pop oriented,  but a stage is reserved for Breton music). But bands playing Breton music are not only present in Brittany. In every region of France there are Breton associations including a bagad, a “cercle celtique” (breton dance group) promoting Breton music and Breton learning in the region where they live. There are also Celtic rock, folk-rock bands in the different regions playing Breton, Celtic inspired music…

A band like Daonet mostly plays rock sung in Breton language to promote its use, its learn that was in the past reduced in use by the action of France (interdiction in French schools).

Daonet band is based in Nantes, a town that officially is not a part of administrative region Bretagne, the department of Loire Atlantique was in fact removed from the historic Brittany to create an artificial region called “Pays de la Loire”. Numerous songs of Daonet are based on Brittany and Nantes history, and the use of Breton language for a band from Nantes in this context is of course a  symbol. Others bands from Nantes that don’t still exist played Breton rock sung in Breton, EV and Tri Bleiz Die for example, (EV guitarist-singer Gweltaz ADEUX plays now pop-rock songs in Breton), the band Tri Yann that exists since the 70’s, plays Breton and Celtic music with some songs in Breton language is also based in Nantes.

https://www.facebook.com/daonetrock

http://www.daonet.eu/

http://www.myspace.com/daonet

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Featured Video: Lúnasa”The Merry Sisters of Fate”

Called “the hottest Irish acoustic band on the planet” by the Irish Times, Lúnasa performs live from the intimate confines of The Burren Irish Pub in Somerville, Massachusetts. Named for an ancient Celtic harvest festival in honor of the Irish god Lugh, patron of the arts, Lúnasa is made up of some of the top musical talents in Ireland. The current lineup includes:

Seán Smyth — Fiddle, Whistles
Kevin Crawford — Flutes, Whistles
Trevor Hutchinson — Double Bass
Cillian Vallely – Uillean pipes, Whistles
Ed Boyd – Guitar

The Burren Backroom Series is hosted by Brian O’Donovan of A Celtic Sojourn on WGBH Radio.

Subscribe to our YouTube Channel WGBH Music: http://www.youtube.com/subscription_center?add_user=WGBHMusic

Audio Engineer: Antonio Oliart
Camera/Editing: Greg Shea
Camera: Annie Shreffler
Producer/Host: Brian O’Donovan

My big thanks to Greg Shea for this one.

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New Releases:

Slim’s forthcoming LP, ‘Gallows Tree Tales’, is a barn-storming folk-rock romp through tales of love, loss, booze, laughter and madness. With big productions, there’s everything from americana rock, celtic folk, country balladeering, and even a gospel choir thrown in for good measure. Once the record’s released, you’ll be able to buy it here, and there’ll be a full band tour, gigs-aplenty, and of course, a fair few ‘Gallows Tree Tales’ to tell. Get it here: http://www.slim-music.com/tcms/home

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Michelle Mulcahy, Suaimhneas (Cló Iar-Chonnacht)

Read the wonderful review here: http://www.robadamsjournalist.com/index.asp

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The Celtic Harp  By Eliseo Mauas Pinto

“The Celtic Harp” is a very interesting quick guide not only approaching to questions regarding the origins of its name, its history and revival, but also to the surviving types, suggested Celtic Harpists, and a list of related external links. https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/210054

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Cecile Corbel – Sweet Amaryllis

Cécile Corbel
“Sweet Amaryllis” (John Wilbye/Corbel)
Original music video (c) Bran Music 2012
from the album “SongBook vol.3”

Cecile Corbel on tour!

Do you ever get this impulse of being stuck in one song and finding your self playing it again and again? I know it isn’t what normal people do because what happens is when a song ends you move to the next track. Today, I found myself getting stuck in this one song by Breton musician Cecile Corbel. The song is called Mary and there is this stanza that goes:

Mary was a sailor
But she is drowned to die
She sleeps under the sea
Mary ever on her way

Kind of morbid don’t you think? But the music of Brittany has always been steeped in stories of seafarers. This song made me go to her website and I saw her new video called Sweet Amaryllis taken from the new album Songbook 3. I am impressed by her knack for powerful melodies and tight vocal harmonies. This is a kind of music that artists like Moya Brennan and  fellow Breton Nolwenn Leroy make. Very catchy and haunting at the same time. Need I say that her videos are always appealing ? She is on tour right now and more can be found in http://www.cecile-corbel.com

Thomas Felder

I accidentally stumbled upon his page while doing my searched on Breton music. Then I realize not only that the information is in French(I am just beginning to study that language) but there is nothing much info on the web other than the fact that he teaches music in north Brittany. So I called his number and talked to him. He doesn’t speak English so I talked to his girlfriend  who was very helpful and she said that if I can email him the questions then she will help him out. Very interesting turn of events.

 

Alan Stivell Releases New Album Emerald

I have listened to Brian Boru and Tri Martolod by Alan Stivell these past few days. What a surprise it has been to receive a letter from his website about Emerald , the new album. A coincidence! I would like to share the news to those who love Breton music and the talent of the one and only Alan Stivell. According to his official site:

It’s been almost 40 years since Alan Stivell released “Reflets” (Reflections), his first album featuring him singing. An Emerald anniversary, one could say. It’s definitely a return to the roots, a return to the violin and to folk-rock (“Chemins de terre”), much as he did with “Brian Boru”. But it’s also an album for 2010. It fuses electric and acoustic bagpipes – like his latest acoustic and electric harp prototypes – in musical arrangements that are as eclectic as they are original. Alan, the singer and the Breton of today: with his Gaelic, Anglo-Saxon, Indian or African influences and his very distinctive vocal and writing styles, he effortlessly blends Breton, French and English (along with Gaelic and Welsh). In addition, Alan wanted to present songs that were popular in the Brittany of yesteryear as well as in English-speaking and other Celtic countries … songs of his youth that are today forgotten. He brings them back to life and hopes others will love them too..

emerald

It is also in the chapter nostalgia that he invited the very beautiful Ensemble choral of the “bout du Monde” for “Mac Crimon” (a homage to Gwennole Ar Menn, Eliane Pronost, Roger Abjean, Paul Ladmirault and to Scotland).
He invited his stage musicians to join him on this disc, and also invited Dom Duff (song) for “Brittany’s” and “Tamm ha tamm”, Solenn Lefeuvre (song) for “Lusk”.
An album with much of emotion and festive.


Tracks

1 – BRITTANY’S – Ar bleizi mor – 5:56
2 – LUSK – Skye Boat Song – 4:08
3 – MARIONIG – 3:29
4 – TAMM HA TAMM – Rennes, Nantes & Brest – 3:16
5 – GAEL’S CALL – Glaoch na nGael – 6:07
6 – HARPLINN – 4:13
7 – GOADEC ROCK – 5:17
8 – EIBHLIN – Eileen A Roon – 6:52
9 – AQUARELLE – Er penn all d’al lanneg – 3:44
10 – AN HIRAÑ NOZ – Noël, espoir – Ar hyd y nos – 4:41
11 – MAC CRIMON (part I) – 2:23
11 – MAC CRIMON (part II) – 4:51
11 – MAC CRIMON (part III) – 2:58
Alan Stivell : vocals, harps, bagpipes, bombarde, flutes, percussion, synthesizers, piano, arrangements, production and composition.
Loumi Seveno : violins, alti, viele, bodhran (1,2,4,5,7,8,9).
Christope Peloil : alto (2).
Gaetan Grandjean : acoustic and electric guitar.
Nicolas Méheust : Hammond organ, melotron, piano and bass.
Marcus Camus : percussion, drums.
Iwan Ellien du Bagad Gwengamp : Scottish soldier drum (3).
Dom Duff : vocals (1,4).
Solenn Lefeuvre : vocals (2).
L’Ensemble choral du Bout du Monde directed by Christian Desbordes (11,12).
Samples of the tracks can be heard  when you go to the official site:

www.alan-stivell.com

www.alan-stivell.com/blog

Carré Manchot in The Music Map

There are so many reasons to go to France. Not only that it is the country hosting the biggest Celtic music event called Interceltique Festival, the west coast is also home to Breton music. There are so many musicians that are already out there stirring the scene with their brand of Celtic music and some of them made it to our ears. Let me present now

Carré Manchot

This  I got from the official website:

Carré Manchot is a traditional dance music band from Brittany; it was founded in 1986 by Remi MARTIN (box accordion), Jean-Claude RIOU (fiddle), Herve LE LU (bombarde) and Gilbert LE PENNEC (guitar), who still plays with the band today. The same year, they produced their first recording: “Tabalich”.


In 1988, Remi and Jean-Claude left and were replaced by Ronan ROBERT (box) and Ronan PINC (fiddle). After two albums (“Mab ar Miliner” and “An Disparti”), both Ronan left the band and three musicians joined: Yannig ALORY (wooden flute), Erwan VOLANT (bass) and Yann-Loïc JOLY (box accordion). Together they released five albums: “Noz!” (1996), “Riboul!” (1997),”Liyannaj” (1999, featuring Guadeloupean group “Akiyo Ka” and breton singer Patrick Marie), “Degemer” (2001), “Liyannaj Live” (2003). In 2005, Stéphane SOTIN (percussions) replaced Erwan Volant and in 2006, Carré Manchot recorded a new album “Laÿoù” and celebrated their 20th anniversary on July the 13th in Mûr-de-Bretagne, along with many Breton musicians and bands.


In 2007, Herve LE LU, founding member, and Stephane SOTIN, percussionist, hit the road for some new musical adventures…
Uilleann piper Loïc BLEJEAN joined in January 2007.This new line-up keeps playing with the same energy that has made Carré Manchot one of the most acclaimed Breton music band for more than twenty years on the dance floors of festou noz in Brittany and elsewhere…

My personal observation:

This is quite unique coming from Breton music. The melodies are gentle, the instruments are not the usual wall of sound you would expect without the bombarde and the binou. It is also interesting to note that the band has been around since 1986 and yet they still play with the same energy the day they started. They are still here, still making beautiful music for us. And I think this is what makes the rest of the guys wonderful.

http://www.carremanchot.fr/carre-manchot-home/1.html

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For those who are curious about the Yaouank music fest in Brittany is, this is a good link:

http://www.myspace.com/yaouankgouel

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And here is my friend

Dom DufF

with the Bagad Rosend Mor at Paimpol Chant de Marin

He has an updated website:

http://www.domduff.com/

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The last but not the least,

Hamon Martin Métamorphose Project

Wow, I love the energy of these guys. The instruments are something you would like to dip your ears into and experience a moment  of bliss. Sweet, spicy and a lot of Celtic Spirit. So watch out for these guys.

Let’s Hear it from Breton Recording Artist Dom Duff !

2009-09-06_043210As always it is not the destination that counts but the journey. It is impossible to get into the center of ourselves when we have inhibitions, hang ups and the tendency for stereotyping. Music speaks in any language, be it Irish, Breton, Welsh, English or Latin. It is our emotional responses to it that really matters and I think that is the core of music-or certain kinds of music. There are those who create songs whose language becomes the secondary importance. There are even those who create vocal music that transcends language …when language becomes beautiful in itself not because of what it is trying to convey.

We have a guest this weekend. His name is Dom Duff. Since we are in our Breton Odyssey, why not get someone here who is both musician and native speaker  from that region? His music is vibrant, percussive and a totally different experience. If you love World Music in general then you will like what Dom Duff is doing. You can read his biography on the main site as well as check his releases. So far he has three albums out ! (Photos coutesy of domduff.com) dom

Dom Duff Music Sampler: Click on the titles to be directed to vox.com

Arzur

Sesihieo

Straet

I initially told him that I lost my initial questionnaire and that I had to do it all over again over coffee.

-Welcome to our interview today Dom. How are you doing?

I am fine, having a cup of coffee too, and working hard, after buzzy summer, strumming my fingers back on the guitar.

-Every year, Festival Interceltique  de Lorient draws a ,of people as well as musicians from all over the world. Tell us about this phenomenon that has become an international phenomenon.

Yes, it’s a great event here in Brittany, a real amazing spot to share music with an international audience, and to hook up with musicians from all over the world.
That’s started 39 years ago, and the aim as always been keeping Celtic links as strong as possible.2009-09-06_042423

-This event has become a sort of United Celtic colors of the world. Countries from Nova Scotia Canada up to the British Isle have their own special festivals. What’s the importance of keeping these events alive ?

Many efforts were done in the past years to expose every Celtic culture, bringing in artists from different countries and giving them exposure to the audience here, which is varied and wide. It comes from French families discovering Brittany during holidays to an all music addicts coming from Italy, Germany and America. The mix in the audiences is really interesting. Despite the music styles-which swings from drinking bands playing drinking songs at the fringe, to real international headers playing in another venue. It is the main place to put under the spots our cultures.

-Bretagne or Brittany is part of France, and yet uniquely Celtic. What do you think makes Brittany proud in keeping that tradition alive?

Mmmmm… You have a lot of time to spent?

Brittany is an old nation coming from pre-roman Celtic natives. Then, Brithonic migrations started about 5th century. Mostly Brithonics (Welsh, Cornish) and Gaels also (Irish) came over here. It was a kind of Celtic clans coming back in another Celtic land, so the Roman influence was out of the game. And all those ways of life remained strong, powerful (language, legends …).
And this way of life is still strong. By now there’s about 300 000 Breton speakers; they were about one million in the early twentieth century. The reasons are: France has done everything to eliminate the language, and also the decline increased with the two wars.

But at the same time,  I am not a kind of strange Breton speaker. The language was strong at home, and a lot of people which are not fluent in Breton, keep the imaginary structure of the language when they speak French. It happens, I think, in every country where both languages are spoken.2009-09-06_042625

-You are a musician composing your own original Breton music .How is your material different from other artists going through the traditional road and how is it similar as well ?

The main difference for me,is that my stuff could be sang in every language. You know, I compose with my guitars, adding chords and licks as I want. Then, the language comes in. I like to use Breton syllabs beating the music, and that’s the way I do.

In the meantime, I think the rhythm of the words and accentuations remind the traditional material, of course. But, to be honest, my north Breton accent is stronger than the other one maybe.

-Tell us about your former band Diwall. How is this music you are creating now different from the band?

Diwall was a band for dancing music, playing Fest-Noz (Breton ceilis). We played mostly tunes, traditional ones, or our own tunes written on traditional scheme. I used to sing three or four songs only, it was a kind of frustration for me.

-I read that your music has been classified as “power folk”. Thoughts?

Yes, I’ve heard about. Someone in UK reviewed a gig using “power folk”. I think, power was about my guitar strumming, and my broken strings? I like that : playing powerful acoustic guitar , using two or three open tunings; but I need at the same time two or three instruments around me.

-How did you get into music and chose to lead this path? You could have gone into straight ahead rock and roll but why this style?

I’ve started at 15, playing folk and rock stuff in the mid 70′. But, quickly I joined friends of mine starting a band playing Breton dances, and the line up was bass, drums, etc. They asked me for playing guitar. It was a great occasion for me to perform, and I teamed up with this village band.
I’ve always been a real rock ‘n roll fan, but in my area they were no real rock ‘n roll band. North Brittany is not Manchester or Glasgow, ha ha !
The only good thing we’ve been able to do at this period, was organizing festivals in Brittany with folk and rock bands from abroad.

-I noticed that there is this distinctive vocal style in Brittany. Can you elaborate how it is different from say the style of singing in Ireland, Scotland or other regions?

The reasons are the language I think, an also the accent. The Breton accent is stronger than Irish, because Breton accent is closer to French accent. And at the same time, Irish pronunciation is closer to English, perhaps ? Breton words use more P, K, T, sounds than the Irish. Irish is more sweet, to my ears.
Breton tunes are also high tempo sometimes: listen to the “Kan ha diskan” style, it’s a kind of rap. I am sure you could find on the web pages speaking about.2009-09-06_042703

-Who are your influences upon growing up?

Influences? mmmm … difficult.

I can mention: from Led Zeppelin to old fishermen and farmers in my village.Lol.Especially charismatic artists like Kevin Coyne, Horslips, Luka Bloom, Pogues, Stivell, and an unknown band from Brittany STORLOK, crazy people! Worth a listen . Their EP was in every jukebox pub in 78. It was rock in Breton, awesome.
But I’ve always been listening rock, folk, Irish, Scottish, etc. And Breton of course…. African singers too. I love listening guitarists from Africa, they sound great. It’s hard to answer you know.

-Most of the traditional instruments in Brittany can get really loud. How loud can a bombarde get?

It’s a dog bawling, the tail stuck in the door.

-I am listening to the great Alan Stivell while I though about the questions to ask you. He also spoke fondly of you and your  music.You contributed two tracks on his album which will be released on the 22 of October based on your blog. What did you enjoy about this project?

I’ve been really impressed with Alan Stivell when I was 13. I discovered my culture could be really as good as others cultures. When he spoke about me, I’ve been, to be honest, touched. I’ve just launch the second album, months before, there were good feedbacks with the media, but not real success. It was quite difficult for me to keep going on. I said to myself “kick in the ass now and straight ahead !”.
Last May he asked me to sing for his new album. It was great for me, as I respect those people who are still going on, after years . Nice.2009-09-06_042751

-You are also involved with the animation Brendan and The Secret of Kells. I think it’s is a beautiful animation with an interesting story line. Tell us more about it.

No, I just add a few voices for dubbing movies in Breton. They need different voices for that, so I am aboard the dubbing boat, but I am not a real character. There’s a lot of others people around. I can be a doorman in Columbo, a drunk fellow in an American pub, etc. But, there’s a lot of fun.
Brendan and The Kells is good, because it is quite a new movie which is amazing for children and adults. Also my Irish friends Kila released the soundtrack.

-What bands/music are you listening to these days?

If you need a few names : I could mention Luka Bloom, a US band call 2 Dragons, WovenHand, African bands also (Tinariwen, …), Calexico, the Levellers, …2009-09-06_042844

–  You have a blog http://duffdom.blogspot.com .As a blogger myself, I really admire artists who take time to write their own thoughts for people to read. .How and why did you decide to put up a blog?

I needed to add news to the website, that is accessible for comments. I don’t need another page for that. But the blog is part of the website and it’s easy to keep connections.
You can also access lyrics & translations by clicking the label SONGS, at the top right of the blog. There’s a few translations in English, Flemish, Welsh, Irish and Icelandic.

-I know this interview has taken a lot of your time and I am really happy to get to ask you these questions. What’s your message to our bloggers and readers who love Celtic music?

Feel free to listen Breton music and to share it all around the world !

-And how to you say “ I wish you love and peace in Breton?”

That is : “Hetiñ a ran deoc’h, karantez ha peoc’h !”

-Anything you wish to add?

I am just starting to work on a 4th studio album (the last one was Live and Solo) I’ve asked my friend Dom Bott (bass) to join me. We were both in Diwall 15 years ago. Nicole Hayes, an Australian fiddler-also based in Brittany is also playing and David Seité (percussions).

Well that’s it folks. Don’t forget to visit his official site : www.domduff.com and his twitter address is www.twitter.com/domduff


Relaxing Breton Music for You

Since we are at the height of our plunge into the Celtic music of Brittany, I want to share some personal discoveries.  Again thanks for visiting and leaving your comments .  So look around, listen to the music through the links  and relax. Weekend is coming and I  still have more for you.

Alan Stivell:The Best of

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When you talk about Breton music then you have to talk about the great Alan Stivell. He has been making records since the early 70s. His name stands up there with the other greats in the world of Celtic revival. Those who heard Renaissance of the Celtic Harp released in 1972 can attest to its greatness and is now considered the album that opened Breton music to the world.

Here’s a sample music for you: Eliza Iza (From Renaissance of the Celtic Harp)

For more info visit :

Alan Stivel Official Site

The Chieftains: Celtic Wedding-The Music of Brittany

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I took out The Chieftains’ Celtic Wedding-The Music of Brittany out of my shelf.  My perspective has changed now, after learning more about Breton music. I see the wealth in its distinctive arrangement. Nolwen Monjaret’s singing was something I found strange at first because It’s really different from the rest of Celtic women I have been listening to . Her’s as well as the rest of Breton singing style is more inflected, strong and mournful. I am sure everyone would agree that her’s is more Lisa Gerrard than say, Enya or Moya Brennan.  But learning how geographical location can affect one’s style of performing, I think I really got into it, understand it and came to appreciate its uniqueness.

The album contains nine tracks that are popularly used as wedding accompaniment. Recorded at Lansdowne Studios, Dublin in 1986, Celtic Wedding became my introductory to Breton music.

For more comprehensive lists of Breton artists, you can click the links below:

http://icdbl.org/saozg/guide.php

http://tonyupton.tripod.com/brittany.html

Startijenn: Leading the Wave Of Young Breton Musicians

We will be focusing on Breton music most of this week. I visited Dom Duff‘s website from time to time and I asked him to be my next guest on my interview . I did feature the music of Brittany on my previous thread . Right now let us give the spotlight to a band called Startijenn. Most of  what you need to know about the band can be found in their official myspace music page. You can also visit the Trad.It! section to read more in English. The Official website has a lot to give. However it’s in French and Breton. I wish one day it will have an English/multi-lingual  translation available soon like what happened with Loreena McKennitt’s Quinlan Road website.startijennG

The first time I heard the music I was captivated. They resemble a bit to their Irish cousins Kila but this one has that distinctive Breton sound that can also be heard on Dan Ar Braz and Denez Prigent. They are young, great looking and they bring something to the mix that isn’t available in others.

For more information please visit the sites I posted to get more information about tour dates, news as well as new music.