Music of Wales
Wales has a strong and distinctive link with music. Singing is a significant part of Welsh national identity, the country is traditionally referred to as "the land of song"; this is a modern stereotype based on 19th century conceptions of Nonconformist choral music and 20th century male voice choirs and arena singing, such as sporting events, but Wales has a history of music, used as a primary form of communication. Wales has a history of folk music related to the Celtic music of countries such as Ireland and Scotland, it has distinctive instrumentation and song types, is heard at a twmpath, gŵyl werin or noson lawen. Modern Welsh folk musicians have sometimes reconstructed traditions, suppressed or forgotten, have competed with imported and indigenous rock and pop trends. Music in Wales is connected with male voice choirs, such as the Morriston Orpheus Choir, Cardiff Arms Park Male Choir and Treorchy Male Voice Choir, enjoys a worldwide reputation in this field; this tradition of choral singing has been expressed through sporting events in the country's national sport of rugby, which in 1905 saw the first singing of a national anthem, Wales's Hen Wlad Fy Nhadau, at the start of an international sporting encounter.
A tradition of brass bands dating from the Victorian era continues in the South Wales Valleys, with Welsh bands such as the Cory Band being one of the most successful in the world. The 20th century saw many solo singers from Wales become not only national but international stars. Ivor Novello, a singer-songwriter during the First World War. Opera-singers such as Geraint Evans and Delme Bryn-Jones found fame post World War II; the 1960s saw the rise of two distinctive Welsh acts, Tom Jones and Shirley Bassey, both of whom defined Welsh vocal styles for several generations. In more modern times there has been a thriving musical scene. Bands and artists which have gained popularity include acts such as Man and solo artists John Cale & Mary Hopkin in the early 1970s and solo artists Bonnie Tyler and Shakin' Stevens in the 1980s; these were followed by a wave of acts in the 1990s and early 21st century which produced a credible Welsh'sound' embraced by the public and the media press of Great Britain.
Such acts included the Manic Street Preachers, Catatonia, Super Furry Animals and Gorky's Zygotic Mynci. Wales has a history of using music as a primary form of communication. Harmony and part singing is synonymous with Welsh music. Examples of well-developed, vertical harmony can be found in the Robert ap Huw Manuscript dating back to the 1600s; this text contains pieces of Welsh music from the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries that show amazing harmonic development. The oldest known traditional songs from Wales are those connected to seasonal customs such as the Mari Lwyd or Hunting the Wren, in which both ceremonies contain processional songs where repetition is a musical feature. Other such ceremonial or feasting traditions connected with song are the New Year's Day Calennig and the welcoming of Spring Candlemas in which the traditional wassail was followed by dancing and feast songs. Children would sing'pancake songs' on Shrove Tuesday and summer carols were connected to the festival of Calan Mai.
For many years, Welsh folk music had been suppressed, due to the effects of the Act of Union, which promoted the English language, the rise of the Methodist church in the 18th and 19th century. The church frowned on traditional dance, though folk tunes were sometimes used in hymns. Since at least the 12th century, Welsh bards and musicians have participated in musical and poetic contests called eisteddfodau. Welsh traditional music declined with the rise of Nonconformist religion in the 18th century, which emphasized choral singing over instruments, religious over secular uses of music; the development of hymn singing in Wales is tied with the Welsh Methodist revival of the late 18th century. The hymns were popularised by writers such as William Williams, while others were set to popular secular tunes or adopted Welsh ballad tunes; the appointment of Henry Mills as a musical overseer to the Welsh Methodist congregations in the 1780s saw a drive to improve singing throughout Wales. This saw the formation of local musical societies and in the first half of the 19th century Musical primers and collections of tunes were printed and distributed.
Congregational singing was given further impetus with the arrival of the temperance movement, which saw the Temperance Choral Union organising annual singing festivals, these included hymn singing by combined choirs. The publication of Llyfr Tonau Cynulleidfaol by John Roberts in 1859 provided congregations with a body of standard tunes that were less complex with unadorned harmonies; this collection began the practice of combining together to sing tunes from the book laid the foundation for the Cymanfa Ganu. Around the same period, the growing availability of music in the tonic sol-fa notation, promoted by the likes of Eleazar Roberts, allowed congregations to read music more fluently. One popular hymn of this period was "Llef". In the 1860s, a revival of traditional Welsh music began, with the formation of the National Eisteddfod Society, followed by the foundation of London-area Welsh Societies and the publication of Nicholas Bennett's Alawon fy Ngwlad, a compilation of traditiona
The Bretons are a Celtic ethnic group located in the region of Brittany in France. They trace much of their heritage to groups of Brittonic speakers who emigrated from southwestern Great Britain Cornwall and Devon during the Anglo-Saxon invasion of Britain, they migrated in waves from the 3rd to 9th century into Armorica, subsequently named Brittany after them. The main traditional language of Brittany is Breton, spoken in Lower Brittany. Breton is spoken by around 206,000 people as of 2013; the other principal minority language of Brittany is Gallo. As one of the Brittonic languages, Breton is related to Cornish and more distantly to Welsh, while the Gallo language is one of the Romance langues d'oïl. Most Bretons' native language is standard French. Brittany and its people are counted as one of the six Celtic nations. Ethnically, along with the Cornish and Welsh, the Bretons are Celtic Britons; the actual number of ethnic Bretons in Brittany and France as a whole is difficult to assess as the government of France does not collect statistics on ethnicity.
The population of Brittany, based on a January 2007 estimate, was 4,365,500. It is said that, in 1914, over 1 million people spoke Breton west of the boundary between Breton and Gallo-speaking region—roughly 90% of the population of the western half of Brittany. In 1945, it was about 75%, today, in all of Brittany, the most optimistic estimate would be that 20% of Bretons can speak Breton. Brittany has a population of four million, including the department of Loire-Atlantique, which the Vichy government separated from historical Brittany in 1941. Seventy-five percent of the estimated 200,000 to 250,000 Breton speakers using Breton as an everyday language today are over the age of 65. A strong historical emigration has created a Breton diaspora within the French borders and in the overseas departments and territories of France. Many Breton families have emigrated to the Americas, predominantly to Canada and the United States. People from the region of Brittany were among the first European settlers to permanently settle the French West Indies, i.e. Dominica and Martinique, where remnants of their culture can still be seen to this day.
The only places outside Brittany that still retain significant Breton customs are in Île-de-France, Le Havre and in Îles des Saintes, where a group of Breton families settled in the mid-17th century. In the late 4th century, large numbers of British auxiliary troops in the Roman army may have been stationed in Armorica; the 9th-century Historia Brittonum states that the emperor Magnus Maximus, who withdrew Roman forces from Britain, settled his troops in the province. Nennius and Gildas mention a second wave of Britons settling in Armorica in the following century to escape the invading Anglo-Saxons and Scoti. Modern archaeology supports a two-wave migration, it is accepted that the Brittonic speakers who arrived gave the region its current name as well as the Breton language, Brezhoneg, a sister language to Welsh and Cornish. There are numerous records of Celtic Christian missionaries migrating from Britain during the second wave of Breton colonisation the legendary seven founder-saints of Brittany as well as Gildas.
As in Cornwall, many Breton towns are named after these early saints. The Irish saint Columbanus was active in Brittany and is commemorated accordingly at Saint-Columban in Carnac. In the Early Middle Ages, Brittany was divided into three kingdoms—Domnonée, Bro Waroc'h —which were incorporated into the Duchy of Brittany; the first two kingdoms seem to derive their names from the homelands of the migrating tribes in Britain and Devon. Bro Waroc'h derives from the name of one of the first known Breton rulers, who dominated the region of Vannes; the rulers of Domnonée, such as Conomor, sought to expand their territory, claiming overlordship over all Bretons, though there was constant tension between local lords. Bretons were the most prominent of the non-Norman forces in the Norman conquest of England. A number of Breton families were of the highest rank in the new society and were tied to the Normans by marriage; the Scottish Clan Stewart and the royal House of Stuart have Breton origins. Alan Rufus known as Alan the Red, was both a cousin and knight in the retinue of William the Conqueror.
Following his service at Hastings, he was rewarded with large estates in Yorkshire. At the time of his death, he was by far the richest noble in England, his manorial holding at Richmond ensured a Breton presence in northern England. The Earldom of Richmond became an appanage of the Dukes of Brittany. Many people throughout France claim Breton ethnicity, including a few French celebrities such as Marion Cotillard, Malik Zidi, Patrick Poivre d'Arvor, Yoann Gourcuff, Nolwenn Leroy and Yann Tiersen. After 15 years of disputes in the French courts, the European Court of Justice recognized Breton Nationality for the six children of Jean-Jacques and Mireille Manrot-Le Goarnig. In 2015, Jonathan Le Bris started a legal battle against the French administration to claim this status; the Breton diaspora includes Breton immigrants in some cities of France like Paris, Le Havre and Toulon, Breton Canadians and Breton Americans, along with other Fre
The Manx are Celtic people originating in the Isle of Man in the Irish Sea in northern Europe. Their native culture has significant English influences. According to the 2011 interim census, the Isle of Man is home to 84,655 people, of whom 26,218 reside in the island's capital Douglas; the largest proportion of the population was born on the island, but major settlement by English people and others has altered the demographics. According to the 2011 census, 47.6% were born in the Isle of Man, 37.2% were born in England, with smaller numbers born elsewhere: 3.4% in Scotland, 2.1% in Northern Ireland, 2.1% in the Republic of Ireland, 1.2% in Wales and 0.3% born in the Channel Islands, with 6.1% of the population having been born elsewhere in the world. Manx people living in the UK were grouped by the 2001 census under "White British"; the high ratio of "come-overs" to "natives" has brought with it changes in terms of culture and speech. Manx people have made a significant contribution elsewhere through migration.
The Manx have a long tradition of moving to Liverpool for work, hence a lot of Liverpool people have Manx ancestry, among them Paul McCartney of The Beatles. A lot of Manx people emigrated to the United States, notably to Cuyahoga County and Lake County, Ohio. Manx people have traditionally had three vernaculars: a Gaelic language. English language Anglo-Manx, the distinctive indigenous English dialect of the Manx, now much diluted. British English, the usual form of English used in the Isle of Man for formal purposes; the English language is used in Tynwald. However some Manx is used to a limited extent in official publications, street signs etc. and education in the Manx language is offered in schools. The Manx language knowledge of most people on the island is limited to a few words; the Isle of Man is one of the six Celtic nations, has been under Norse and English control for much of the past thousand years. The earliest traces of people in the Isle of Man date to around 8000 BC, during the Mesolithic Period known as the Middle Stone Age.
Small, nomadic family groups lived in camp sites, hunting wild game, fishing the rivers and coastal waters and gathering plant foods. The Neolithic period was marked by important social changes. By 4000 BC, people once reliant upon the uncultivated natural resources of the land and sea had adopted cereal growing and stock rearing, using imported species of grain and animals. Large scale clearance of natural woodland provided fields for crops and animal fodder. During the Iron Age, Celtic influence began to arrive on the island. Based on inscriptions, the inhabitants appear to have used a Brythonic language; this language has developed in isolation since, though it remains related to Irish, Scottish Gaelic. At the end of the 8th century, Viking settlers began to arrive and establish settlements coming to dominate the island; the Norse Kingdom of Mann and the Isles was created by Godred Crovan in 1079. The Norse had a major impact on the island, leaving behind Norse placenames, influencing its distinctive political system, one of the oldest parliamentary democracies in the world.
In 1266, under the Treaty of Perth, Norway's King Magnus VI ceded the isles to Scotland. For more than a century the Isle of Man, during the Anglo-Scottish wars, passed between Scotland and England. During this troubled period the Island was captured by the Scottish army of Robert the Bruce in 1313. In the 14th century, when England once more seized the Island, the Lordship – indeed kingship – was given to the Montacute family, Earls of Salisbury. In 1405, the Lordship was granted to Sir John Stanley, whose descendants ruled the Isle of Man for over 300 years; the lordship passed through a female line to the Dukes of Atholl in 1736, was purchased by the British Crown in 1765. Since 1866, when the Isle of Man obtained a measure of home rule, the Manx people have developed into a modern nation with an economy based decreasingly on agriculture and fishing and first on tourism and on financial and other services; the 20th century saw a revival of interest in Manx music and dance, in the Manx language, though the last native speaker of Manx died in the 1970s.
In the middle of the 20th century, the Taoiseach Éamon de Valera visited, was so distressed at the lack of support for Manx that he had two recording vans sent over to record the language before it disappeared completely. As the century progressed, the Manx tourist economy declined, first because of the effects of the two world wars and as tourists began to take advantage of cheaper air travel to take European package holidays; the Manx government responded in the 1960s by promoting the island as an offshore financial centre. While this has had beneficial effects on the Manx economy, it has had its detractors, who have pointed to negative aspects such as the effects on local house prices, also money laundering; the economic changes gave a short-lived impetus to Manx nationalism in the 1970s and 1980s, spawning Mec Vannin, a nationalist group, as well as the now-defunct Manx National Party and Fo Halloo, which mounted a direct-action campaign of spray-painting and house-burning. Nationalist politics has since declined and a number of its former proponents are now in mainstream politics.
The 1990s and early 21st century have seen a greater recognition of ind
Bluegrass music is a genre of American roots music that developed in the 1940s in the United States Appalachian region. The genre derives its name from the Blue Grass Boys. Bluegrass has roots in traditional English and Scottish ballads and dance tunes, by traditional African-American blues and jazz; the Blue Grass Boys played a Mountain Music style that Bill learned in Asheville, North Carolina from bands like Wade Mainer's and other popular acts on radio station WWNC. It was further developed by musicians who played with him, including 5-string banjo player Earl Scruggs and guitarist Lester Flatt. Bluegrass pioneer Bill Monroe characterized the genre as: "Scottish bagpipes and ole-time fiddlin'. It's Holiness and Baptist. It's blues and jazz, it has a high lonesome sound."Bluegrass features acoustic string instruments and emphasizes the offbeat. Notes are anticipated in contrast to laid back blues where notes are behind the beat, which creates the higher energy characteristic of bluegrass. In bluegrass, as in some forms of jazz, one or more instruments each takes its turn playing the melody and improvising around it, while the others perform accompaniment.
This is in contrast to old-time music, in which all instruments play the melody together or one instrument carries the lead throughout while the others provide accompaniment. Breakdowns are characterized by rapid tempos and unusual instrumental dexterity and sometimes by complex chord changes. There are three major subgenres of bluegrass. Traditional bluegrass has musicians playing folk songs, tunes with traditional chord progressions, using only acoustic instruments, with an example being Bill Monroe. Progressive bluegrass groups may use electric instruments and import songs from other genres rock & roll. Examples include Cadillac Bearfoot. Another subgenre, bluegrass gospel, uses Christian lyrics, soulful three- or four-part harmony singing, sometimes the playing of instrumentals. A newer development in the bluegrass world is Neo-traditional bluegrass. Bluegrass music has attracted a diverse following worldwide. Unlike mainstream country music, bluegrass is traditionally played on acoustic stringed instruments.
The fiddle, five-string banjo, guitar and upright bass are joined by the resonator guitar and harmonica or Jew's harp. This instrumentation originated in rural dance bands and is the basis on which the earliest bluegrass bands were formed; the guitar is now most played with a style referred to as flatpicking, unlike the style of early bluegrass guitarists such as Lester Flatt, who used a thumb pick and finger pick. Banjo players use the three-finger picking style made popular by banjoists such as Earl Scruggs. Fiddlers play in thirds and fifths, producing a sound, characteristic to the bluegrass style. Bassists always play pizzicato adopting the "slap-style" to accentuate the beat. A bluegrass bass line is a rhythmic alternation between the root and fifth of each chord, with occasional walking bass excursions. Instrumentation has been a continuing topic of debate. Traditional bluegrass performers believe the "correct" instrumentation is that used by Bill Monroe's band, the Blue Grass Boys. Departures from the traditional instrumentation have included dobro, harmonica, autoharp, electric guitar, electric versions of other common bluegrass instruments, resulting in what has been referred to as "newgrass."
Apart from specific instrumentation, a distinguishing characteristic of bluegrass is vocal harmony featuring two, three, or four parts with a dissonant or modal sound in the highest voice, a style described as the "high, lonesome sound." The ordering and layering of vocal harmony is called the "stack". A standard stack has the lead in the middle and a tenor at the top. Alison Krauss and Union Station provide a good example of a different harmony stack with a baritone and tenor with a high lead, an octave above the standard melody line, sung by the female vocalist. However, by employing variants to the standard trio vocal arrangement, they were following a pattern existing since the early days of the genre; the Stanley Brothers utilized a high baritone part on several of their trios recorded for Columbia records during their time with that label. Mandolin player Pee Wee Lambert sang the high baritone above Ralph Stanley's tenor, both parts above Carter's lead vocal; this trio vocal arrangement was variously used by other groups as well.
In the 1960s Flatt and Scruggs added a fifth part to the traditional quartet parts on gospel songs, the extra part being a high baritone. The use of a high lead with the tenor and baritone below it was most famously employed by the Osborne Brothers who first employed it during their time with MGM records in the latter half of the 1950s; this vocal arrangement would be the home aspect of the Osbornes' sound with Bobby's high, clear voice at the top of the vocal stack. Bluegrass tunes can be described as narratives on the everyday lives of the people whence the music came. Aside from laments about loves lost, interpersonal tensions and unwanted changes to the region (e.g. the visible effects of moun
Celtic fusion is any modern music which incorporates influences considered "Celtic", or Celtic music which incorporates modern music. It is a syncretic musical tradition which borrows from the perceived "Celtic" musical traditions of all the Celtic nations, as well as from all styles of popular music, it is thus sometimes associated with the Pan-Celtic movement. Celtic fusion may or may not include authentic traditional music from any one tradition under the Celtic umbrella, but its common characteristic is the inspiration by Celtic identity; the oldest musical tradition which fits under the label of Celtic fusion originated in the rural American south in the early colonial period and incorporated Scottish, Scots-Irish and African American influences. Variously referred to as roots music, American folk music, or old-time music, this tradition has exerted a strong influence on all forms of American music, including country and rock and roll; the connections between traditional Scottish and Irish music and Rock music are deep and go back to the origins of American music.
As Elvis Costello put it: "I started with rock n' roll and...then you start to take it apart like a child with a toy and you see there's blues and there's country... You go back from country into American music...and you end up in Scotland and Ireland eventually." Another manifestation of this syncretic tendency emerged in New York City in the 1890s, as bands performing traditional Irish music for the large Irish immigrant community there began incorporating big band influences, adding brass and reed instruments and performing quicksteps and other popular contemporary dance tunes. More there has been a flowering of several distinct genres of Celtic fusion; these can be broken down as follows: The fusion of Celtic music and reggae is a hybrid started by the band Edward II and The Red Hot Polkas, an example of Celtic dub, The Trojans, an example of Celtic ska, followed on by PaddyRasta, an example of Celtic folk reggae, The Celtic Reggae Revolution who have done it to good effect. Other collaborations include Sharon Shannon and Bréag.
The fusion of rock and Celtic music is the least surprising of the modern hybrids, since rock is based on "roots" music, based on a fusion of African and many other traditions. Modern Celtic rock acts like The Waterboys, Jethro Tull/ Ian Anderson, Alan Stivell, Gaelic Storm, Sinéad O'Connor, Red Cardell, Peatbog Faeries, Lordryk, Croft No. 5, Enter the Haggis, The Dreaming, Spirit of the West, the American Rogues, Ashley MacIsaac, Wolfstone, The Paperboys and Great Big Sea, many others have proven the genre's vitality. Since rock music is so diverse and is influenced by every other genre, the sounds of these groups vary considerably. Celtic pop artists such as The Corrs, Nolwenn Leroy and Gwennyn incorporate pop music elements into traditional tunes. Celtic punk was invented by The Pogues in the early 1980s and gained popularity following the release of their first album in 1985, it is one of the best established of the modern Celtic fusion genres, includes drums, bass and fiddle, sometimes with tin whistle, bodhran, or accordion.
The sound is fast with aggressive lyrics, rock beats, melodies. Bands in this genre include Flogging Molly, Dropkick Murphys, The Real McKenzies, Smiting Shillelagh, Flatfoot 56, The Tossers, The Vandon Arms, The Molly Maguires and Black 47; the genre is most popular in Ireland, England, the United States, Canada. Punks singing in Celtic languages began to emerge in the late 1970s in Wales, where groups such as Ail Symudiad and Y Trwynau Coch began performing in fast-paced idioms reminiscent of the Jam; the 2000s saw in Scotland the emergence of several Gaelic-language punk bands, such as Mill a h-Uile Rud and the genre is represented in Brittany with the band called Les Ramoneurs de Menhirs. The first Celtic-identified hip hop group to gain mainstream notoriety was House of Pain, a Los Angeles based hip hop group which incorporated rhymes about the Irish-American experience into their music. With a few exceptions, their actual instrumentation did not incorporate traditional "Celtic" instruments, though they did use time signatures typical of Jigs on several songs - a major deviation in a hip hop market where everything is done in 4/4 time.
Marxman, an Irish-Jamaican hip hop group, whose explicitly nationalist and Marxist politics gained them notoriety and infamy in the United Kingdom in the 1980s, incorporated traditional instruments into several songs on their first album, but abandoned them on their second album for a more electronica- and blues-oriented sound that would form the basis for the emergence of trip hop. Sinéad O'Connor contributed vocals to several of Marxman's songs and tried her hand at rapping on her 1994 album Universal Mother with a track about the Great Irish Famine. Starting in 1998 Manau, a French hip hop group of Breton origin, created the first consistent fusion of Celtic music and hip hop in two critically acclaimed albums incorporating a wide range of traditional instruments and melodies and combining them with hip hop beats. In one of their songs they used part of an arrangement of a traditional tune by Alan Stivell, were subsequently sued by him for copyri
The modern Celts are a related group of ethnicities who share similar Celtic languages and artistic histories, who live in or descend from one of the regions on the western extremities of Europe populated by the Celts. A modern Celtic identity emerged in Western Europe following the identification of the native peoples of the Atlantic fringe as Celts by Edward Lhuyd in the 18th century. Lhuyd and others equated the Celts described by Greco-Roman writers with the pre-Roman peoples of France, Great Britain and Ireland, they categorised the ancient British languages as Celtic languages. The descendants of these ancient languages are the Brittonic and Gaelic languages, the people who speak them are considered modern Celts; the concept of modern Celtic identity evolved during the course of the 19th century into the Celtic Revival. By the late 19th century, it took the form of ethnic nationalism within the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland, where the Irish Home Rule Movement resulted in the secession of the Irish Free State, in 1922.
There were significant Welsh and Breton nationalist movements, giving rise to the concept of Celtic nations. After World War II, the focus of the Celtic movement shifted to linguistic revival and protectionism, e.g. with the foundation of the Celtic League in 1961, dedicated to preserving the surviving Celtic languages. The Celtic revival led to the emergence of musical and artistic styles identified as Celtic. Music drew on folk traditions within the Celtic nations. Art drew on decorative styles associated with the ancient Celts and with early medieval Celtic Christianity, along with folk-styles. Cultural events to promote "inter-Celtic" cultural exchange emerged. In the late 20th century some authors criticised the idea of modern Celtic identity by downplaying the value of the linguistic component in defining culture and cultural connection, sometimes arguing that there never was a common Celtic culture in ancient times; these authors opposed language preservation efforts. Malcolm Chapman's 1992 book The Celts: The Construction of a Myth led to what the archaeologist, Barry Cunliffe has called a "politically correct disdain for the use of'Celt'" Traditionally, the essential defining criterion of Celticity is seen as peoples and countries that do, or once did, use Celtic languages and it is asserted that an index of connectedness to the Celtic languages has to be borne in mind before branching out into other cultural domains.
Another approach to defining the Celts is the contemporary inclusive and associative definition used by Vincent and Ruth Megaw and Raimund Karl that a Celt is someone who uses a Celtic language or produces or uses a distinctive Celtic cultural expression or has been referred to as a Celt in historical materials or has identified themselves or been identified by others as a Celt or has a demonstrated descent from the Celts. Since the Enlightenment, the term Celtic has been applied to a wide variety of peoples and cultural traits present and past. Today, Celtic is used to describe people of the Celtic nations and their respective cultures and languages. Except for the Bretons, all groups mentioned have been subject to strong Anglicisation since the Early Modern period, hence are described as participating in an Anglo-Celtic macro-culture. By the same token, the Bretons have been subject to strong Frenchification since the Early Modern period, can be described as participating in a Franco-Celtic macro-culture.
Less common is the assumption of Celticity for European cultures deriving from Continental Celtic roots. These were either Germanised much earlier, before the Early Middle Ages. Celtic origins are many times implied for continental groups such as the Asturians, Portuguese, Northern Italians, Belgians or Austrians; the names of Belgium and the Aquitaine hark back to Gallia Belgica and Gallia Aquitania in turn named for the Belgae and the Aquitani. The Latin name of the Swiss Confederacy, Confoederatio Helvetica, harks back to the Helvetii, the name of Galicia to the Gallaeci and the Auvergne of France to the Averni.'Celt' has been adopted as a label of self-identification by a variety of peoples at different times.'Celticity' can refer to the inferred links between them. During the 19th century, French nationalists gave a privileged significance to their descent from the Gauls; the struggles of Vercingetorix were portrayed as a forerunner of the 19th-century struggles in defence of French nationalism, including the wars of both Napoleons.
Basic French history textbooks emphasised the ways in which Gauls could be seen as an example of cultural assimilation. In the late Middle Ages, some French writers believed that their language was Celtic, rather than Latin. A similar use of Celticity for 19th-century nationalism was made in Switzerland, when the Swiss were seen to originate in the Celtic tribe of the Helvetii, a link still found in the official Latin name of Switzerland, Confœderatio Helvetica, the source of the nation code CH and the name used on postage stamps. Before the advance of Indo-European studies, philologists established that there was a relationship between the Goidelic and Brythonic languages, as well as a relationship between these languages and th
Alan Stivell is a Breton and Celtic musician and singer, recording artist, master of the Celtic harp. From the early 1970s, he revived global interest in the Celtic harp and Celtic music as part of world music; as a Bagpiper and bombard player, he modernized traditional Breton music and singing in the Breton language. He was the precursor of Celtic rock, he is inspired by the union of the Celtic cultures and is a staunch defender of the Breton culture as Eurominority. Alan Stivell was born in the Auvergnat town of Riom, his father, Georges Cochevelou, was a civil servant in the French Ministry of Finance who achieved his dream of recreating a Celtic or Breton harp in the small town of Gourin and his mother Fanny-Julienne Dobroushkess was of Lithuanian-Jewish descent. In 1953, Alan began playing the instrument at the age of nine under the tutelage of his father and Denise Megevand, a concert harpist. Alan learned Celtic mythology and history, as well as the Breton language, traditional Breton dance, the Scottish bagpipe and the bombarde, a traditional Breton instrument, from the oboe family.
Alan began playing concerts at the age of eleven and studied traditional Breton, Irish and Welsh folk music learning the drum, Irish flute, tin whistle. He competed in, won, several Breton traditional music competitions in the Bleimor Pipe band. Alan spent his childhood with its cosmopolitan influences, but he fell in love with Breton music and Celtic culture, in general, went back in his teens to Brittany. Alan's first recording came in 1960, a single, followed by the LP Telenn Geltiek in 1964, he recorded solo harp and harp backing singers in 1959 with Breiz ma bro and a Mouez Breiz EP with the female singer Andrea Ar Gouilh. His stage name, "Stivell", means "fountain" or "spring" in Breton; this name refers both to the Breton renewal and to his surname "Cochevelou". With a new bardic harp with bronze strings, Stivell began experimenting with modernized styles of music known as Celtic rock. In 1966, Alan Stivell began to record as a singer; the following year, he was signed by Philips. This was during the birth of Celtic music movement.
In 1968, after two years of touring and regular appearances at the American Students and Artists Center in Paris, Alan joined the Moody Blues onstage to perform in London's Queen Elizabeth Hall. In 1970, Stivell released his first hits, the single "Broceliande" and the album "Reflets", both on the Philips record label, he became associated with the burgeoning Breton roots revival after the release of the purely instrumental 1971 album Renaissance of the Celtic Harp, which won one of the most famous awards in France, the prize of the Académie Charles Cros. The music critic Bruce Elder wrote of the album Renaissance of the Celtic Harp: People who hear this record are never the same again. Renaissance of the Celtic Harp, one of the most beautiful and haunting records made by anybody, introduced the Celtic harp to many thousands of listeners around the world. To call this music gorgeous and ravishing would be the height of understatement—indeed, there aren't words in the English language to describe this record adequately.
The opening work,'Ys', is a piece inspired by the legend of the fifth century capital of the kingdom of Cornwall, engulfed by a flood as punishment for its sins.. The reflective "Marv Pontkellec" is every bit as sublimely beautiful, but the highlight of this record is "Gaeltacht," a 19-minute musical journey by Stivell's harp across the Gaelic lands of Ireland and the Isle of Man. On 28 February 1972, Stivell performed a concert in the Olympia theater, the most famous music hall in Paris, where Alan and his band played music combining traditional Celtic music with modern sounds; this concert made his music well known throughout France. At this time, Stivell's eclectic approach to music was new and was considered risky, but it soon became popular. Over 1,500,000 records of that concert were sold. Alan Stivell's new found fame propelled him to tour across France, the United Kingdom and the United States, he continued recording, published a collection of Breton poetry in 1976. With his 1980 Symphonie Celtique, he mixed for the first time elements of rock, a symphonic orchestra, Celtic instruments and such non-European ethnic elements as Berber vocalist Djourha and sitarist Narendra Bataju.
The folk music revival faded somewhat in the 1980s. Though Alan Stivell still maintained a popular following, he did not reach the heights of popularity that he had in the 1970s, he continued recording for a loyal fanbase. He worked with the English singer Kate Bush. In the 1990s, Stivell recorded with the French singer Laurent Voulzy, Irish traditional performer Shane MacGowan and Senegalese singer Doudou N'Diaye Rose; the album was Again, it became popular in France, the beginning of a Celtic new wave. Stivell's records in the late 1990s contained more pronounced rock elements, he performed at a rock festival called Transmusicales in Rennes, he continued working with a variety of musicians, inviting Paddy Moloney, Jim Kerr, Khaled