I’ve had a few appreciative comments about the German “pagan folk” group Faun that I mentioned in last week’s music post. I thought a few more posts focusing on folk traditions that are less well known in the USA might be appropriate. I’ll space them out over time, so as not to bore those who don’t like them.
This week, I’ve picked four Breton tunes from the rich musical heritage of Brittany, a region of France. It’s strongly influenced by Celtic music, but has a lilt and lyricism all its own, and some unique historical instruments. The Breton language, too, branched off in different directions from French or the various forms of Gaelic. In some ways, to my uneducated ear, it resembles the Basque language, IMHO – although I’m no expert, of course. Some of you may have heard (or heard of) the Breton folk group Kornog, which toured the USA for several years.
To begin, here’s the song “Ar Soudarded Zo Gwisket e Ruz” (“The soldiers are dressed in red”). Lyrics (with English translation) may be found here.
Next, a slower, more meditative song, “Gortoz a ran” (“I’m Waiting”). Lyrics here.
Here’s Kornog, performing live in California in 1986, with an instrumental medley of “Ton Bale” and “Son a Rost”, two Breton marches.
Finally, a rousing sea song, “Tri Martolod” (“Three Sailors”). Lyrics here.
Those are just a foretaste of the many and varied Breton folk tunes out there. YouTube has a number of them. It’s an interesting field to explore.