The following is a very short selection of books and articles about Breton music and dance. Not included are a variety of song or tune collections which often include interesting notes. Articles in English have been included when possible, even though these might not be as significant as French language publications. Breton recordings are sometimes accompanied by 50-80 page booklets which also offer extremely rich documentation of particular instruments, regions or genres.
Roland & Laure Le Gurun.
Spezet: Coop Breizh, 1994. 120 pages
Best single source of background information on Breton music--especially excellent for piping and instrumental traditions.
"Guide de la musique bretonne"
Dastum. 3rd augmented edition. Rennes: Dastum, 2000. 446 pp.
Exhaustive listing of addresses and indexes for musicians, musical instrument makers and teachers, groups, organizations, and festivals. Should be updated via Dastum's web site: www.dastum.net
"Musiques traditionnelles de Bretagne. 1 - Sonnoux et sonerien"
Skol Vreizh no. 35, 1996.
"Musiques traditionnelles de Bretagne. 2 - Etude du répertoire à danser"
Skol Vreizh no. 39, 1998.
3 - Kanerien et chantoux; forthcoming.
"Music and identity in Brittany, France" Kuter, Lois. Discourse
in Ethnomusicology, Vol. II.
Bloomington, IN: Ethnomusicology Publications Group, 1981, pages 15-41.
Brief overview of different styles of music and relation of music to social and political issues.
"Muzik e Breizh - un regard sur 20 ans de musique breton"
Maisonneuve, Arnaude & Loiez Bloñs.
Coop Breizh. 2000.
"Bretagne - Terre de Musiques" Morvan, Daniel and Bernard Galéron.
Collection Bretagne ma Terre. 2001. 142 pages.
Portraits of some 60 movers and shakers on the Breton music scene with wonderful photographs. Also includes a CD with additional images and sound bites.
"Musique Bretonne - Histoire des sonneurs de tradition"
Douarnenez: Le Chasse Marée/Ar Men. 1996. 512 pages.
History of instrumental music in Brittany, especially bombarde and biniou--beautifully documented with photography.
Several magazines published by cultural organizations in Brittany are of particular interest in documenting not only musical events and activities, but also in including well-researched articles, book and record reviews.
Ar Men Abri du Marin, 29171 Douarnenez cedex, France
This is a beautifully produced bi-monthly magazine on all aspects of Breton culture and history. It often includes excellent articles on Breton musicians and musical instruments, and has regular record reviews.
Ar Soner 55 impasse de
l'Odet, 29000 Quimper, France
Published by Bodadeg ar Sonerion, an organization for bagpipers and bombarde players with approximately 3,000 members. This magazine primarily of interest to these musicians (with contests results and music transcriptions as a major part of the content), but it also includes occasional articles on Breton music of more general interest.
Bro Nevez 169 Greenwood Ave., B-4, Jenkintown, PA 19046, U.S.A.
One of the only sources available in English. Includes regular record notes and reviews, catalogs, festival notes, and short articles on Breton music. the bulk of this quarterly newsletter produced by the U.S. Branch of the International Committee for the Defense of the Breton Language focuses on the Breton language and its situation in Brittany.
Click here to download a full index of all the reviews since 1981!
Musique bretonne Dastum, 16 rue de la Santé, 35000 Rennes, France
Dastum is an archives of music recordings, transcriptions, song texts, photography, popular media (newspaper clippings) and other documentation of Brittany's oral traditions. It's monthly magazine features research articles as well as short notes on cultural events, book and record reviews. The best single source of information on Breton music.
"Of Pipers and Wrens - The Fight for Survival of Brittany's Musical
by Film by Gei Zantzinger, based on research of Lois Kuter. Constant Spring Productions (P.O. Box 2, Devault, PA 19432). 1999. 58'21 minutes. Includes 19-page booklet. Also available in French "De souffle et de roseau" in NTSC, PAL and SECAM formats.
Introduction to traditional styles of Breton music and their transmission from one generation to the next through a healthy oral tradition.