The region of Brittany, in the northwest of France, is well known for its unique Celtic language and culture, and has a folk music tradition as vibrant and fascinating as any of those of its ‘relatives’ in Wales, Cornwall, Ireland and Scotland.
The three tunes arranged in this set are taken from traditional songs, each of which has its own, highly individual story:
Gwin ar C'hallaoued (‘The Wine of the Gauls’) tells of a raid in the 6th Century by a tribe from the Vannes area on their long-suffering neighbours, the Gauls. The plunder of conquest included plenty of white wine, a fairly scarce beverage in Brittany at the time.
Filhorez an Aotrou Gwesklen (‘Du Guesclin’s Goddaughter’) relates an episode in the life of a renowned 14th Century Breton knight and commander, Bertrand du Guesclin, during which he laid waste to the Château de Trogoff to protect the honour of his goddaughter, then at risk of violation by the castle’s governor.
‘R gerig zo du-hont [war ar menez] (‘In a little house on the mountain’) is a typical tale of courtly love, in that the poet believes he might actually die if he doesn’t see the face of his beloved emerge from her mountainside cottage. Well yes, indeed...