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DASTUM - Making Brittany's rich oral and musical heritage available to everyone


Editor's Note: Much of the following information is drawn from a brochure produced by Dastum (in English, Breton, Gallo and French versions). While it is not possible to reproduce the graphics of the brochure, the following text describes very well the role this organization plays in Brittany.

Dastum - A place where memories come alive

Dastum - in Breton «collect, bring together» - was founded in 1972 with the aim of collecting and promoting Brittany's musical and oral heritage.

Today, Dastum provides people with access to songs, music, stories and tales, personal and historical accounts, proverbs and sayings - in Breton, Gallo, or French. Everyone - from folk art specialists to musicians - can have access to a variety of collected material - people telling stories around the fireplace 30 years ago, music festivals or Breton traditional dances (fest-noz).

Dastum's Main Aims

Gathering and bringing together collections

Enthusiasts travel throughout the five regions of Brittany to meet «bearers of culture.» With their microphones they wander through pubs and kitchens, go to evening music and storytelling sessions and «fest-noz,» musical competitions and family reunions. They collect both written and visual material: song-books, postcards, music scores, pictures...


Collected material donated to Dastum is sorted and catalogued, after which it can be consulted by all: musicians, researchers, students or those who are just curious. We have an open-door policy and access is free.

Passing on and developing a duty of restoration:

Today Dastum provides:

Dastum - the network

Dastum is active throughout historic Brittany - complementing its collecting and cataloging activities with research, publishing and live event organization. The media library in Rennes co-ordinates the network's documenting and archiving work, from receiving collected material to making it available to the public. All archives can be consulted in Rennes, in regional offices or at sister organizations.

16 rue de la Santé
35000 Rennes
Tel: 02 99 30 91 00
Fax: 02 99 30 91 11
Dastum Bro-Leon
12 rue de la Marne
29260 Lesneven
Tel: +33 (0)2 98 21 16 41
Dastum 44
69 rue de Bel-Air
44000 Nantes
Tel: +33 (0)2 40 35 31 05
Dastum Kreiz-Breizh
1 place de la Marie
29246 Poullaouen
Dastum Bro-Dreger
9 rue des Haras
22300 Lannion
Tel: +33 (0)2 96 46 59 11
Dastum Bro-Ereg
6 quai du Plessis
56300 Ponttivy
Tel: +33 (0)2 97 25 70 90
Dastum Bro-Gerne
Ti-ar-Vro Kemper
18 rue Ste-Catherine
29000 Quimper
Tel: +33 (0)2 98 52 06 37
Associated Organizations:
Groupement Culturel Breton des Pays de Vilaine
6 rue des écoles
35600 Redon
Tel: +33 (0)2 99 71 45 40
Centre de resources Marc-Le-Bris
22600 Saint-Caradec
Tel: +33 (0)2 96 25 10 75
La Bouèze
Ferme des Gallets
26 av. Pierre Donzelot
BP 10218
35702 Rennes cedex 7
Tel: +33 (0)2 23 20 59 14

Dastum was established in all its activities, in convention with the regulations of the Ministry of Culture and Communication as a traditional music center. It also complies with the regulations of convention of Rennes-Métropole. Dastum is also an associate member of the National Library of France via FAMDT (Federation of Traditional Music and Dance Association) and is also a member of other organizations such as the Association of Breton Dance and Music and the Cultural Council of Brittany.

Cahiers de musique traditionnelle

Dastum's early work was focused on the production of studies of different pays ("countries") within Brittany. These lps/cassettes included 60 to 100-page booklets which documented language, costume, architecture, dance, musical instruments, and song, as well as the particular performers on the recording. Each is an excellent sample of the music to be found. Each selection is transcribed, and the text is given as sung by the performer, with unique features of language noted, and other versions of the song sometimes also provided. the basic text of each study is in French, so if a song is in the Breton language, a French translation is given. Notes are also included on the performers, musical instruments or specific traditions related to the music. Each study is liberally documented with photographs. Studies produced have focused on Pays de Lorient-Hennebont, Pays Pagan (Bro Bagan), Pays de Mur-Loudeac, Bro Fanch, Pays d'En-Bas (Questembert), Bro Noal (Pontivy), and Pays d'Oust et de Vilaine.

Chanteurs et musiciens de Bretagne

«Singers and musicians of Brittany» is a series begun in 1990 which, like the «cahiers», provides an in-depth presentation, a cassette with a 70-100 page booklet of information. While the «cahiers» presented a particular region this series of recordings focuses on a particular performer, musical instrument, or a musical event. The series includes:

No. 1: Chansons traditionnelle du pays de Fougères: Melanie Houedry. DAS 111, 1990.
No. 2: Tradition de veuze en pays nantais. DAS 112, 1990.
No. 3: Chants traditionnels de Haute-Bretagne: Bogue d'Or 1989. DAS 113, 1990.
No. 4: Tradition familiale de chant en pays bigouden (Lisette Floc'h, Marie-Aline Lagadic, Klervi Rivère). DAS 114, 1991.
No. 5: Clarinettes et anciennes danses populaires du Trégor. DAS 115, 1991.
No. 6: Airs à danser du pays de Chateaubriant (accordion). DAS 116, 1992.
No. 7: Chants traditionnels de Haute-Bretagne: Bogue d'Or 1990. DAS 117, 1992.
No. 8: Fête plin de Danouet. DAS 120, 1994.
No. 9: Bombardes et binious de la Montagne--Retrospective du Trophee Per Guillou. DAS 124, 1995.
No. 10: Eugénie Duval--Chanteuse et conteuse de Haute Bretagne. DAS 125, 1995.

Tradition Vivante de Bretagne

This series of compact discs tends to focus on particular regions, but CDs can feature a theme or musicians. Each CD comes with a well documented 40 to 100-page booklet of information.

No. 1: Gouel 20 vloaz Datum-Dastum fait le boeuf à Berrien. DAS 119. 1993 (Dastum's 20th anniversary festival). While not part of this series, Dastum also recorded a collection for it's 30th anniversary: Dastum 30 ans/vloaz: 1972-2002. DAS 142.
No. 2: Quand les Bretons passent à table. DAS 121. 1994 (song and music on the theme of food and feasting)
No. 3: Chant et veuze en presqu'île guérandaise. DAS 123. 1994.
No. 4: Les Mangeouses d'oreilles. Plaignons les courreurs de nuit. 1996 (features a group of women singers from the Loudéac/Mur de Bretagne area)
No. 5: Musique et chants des pays de Pontivy, Baud et Pourlet. DAS 127. 1997.
No. 6: Veillées en Bretagne-ur wezh 'oa bopred. DAS 128. 1997.
No. 7: Nantes en Chanson. DAS 129. 1998. (traditional and less traditional music related to the city of Nantes)
No. 8: Filaj e Langidig. DAS 130. 1998. (traditional song from the Languidig area)
No. 9: Deo ket jaojapl ur seurt - Histoires en Breton vannetais. Dastum Bro Ereg. DAS 133. 1999.
No. 10: A pep tu d'er Blanñhoèh - Chants traditionnels en pays de Melrand, Guern, Pluméliau, Baud, Bubry. Dastum Bro Ereg / Bugale Melrand, Dastum. DAS 134. 1999.
No. 11: Chansons en Presqu'île guérandaise. DAS 135. 1999.
No. 12: Albert Poulain. Y'a rien de plus charmant. DAS 136. 1999. 73'51. 60 page booklet.
No. 13: Gwerzioù ha sonioù Bro Dreger - le repertoire trégorrois, cent ans après Luzel. DAS 138. 2000.
No. 14: Pauses et melodies du Léon. 2001 (?)
No. 15: Pa vez gwelet Bro-Dreger o tañsal. DAS 140. 2002.
No. 16: Saint-Nazaire en chansons. DAS 139. 2001
No. 17: War roudoù Léon Braz. DAS 144. 2002. (repertoire of famous «sonneur» interpreted by Yves Berthou and Patrick Molard).
No. 18: War roudoù En Arboulet - Sur les traces de J.-L. Larboulette. DAS 146. 2004. Jean Baron and Georges Epinette interpret repertoire collected in ealy 20th century by Jean-Louis Larboulette.)

La Bretagne des Pays

A new series focuses on specific regions of Brittany. So far (as of mid 2006) two CDs are out in this series:

Bro Bagan / Pays Pagan - Un allig c'hoazh, Chants et dañs round. No. 1 in the series Breizh ar broioù / La Bretagne des pays / La Bertaèyn dez paeyiz. DAS 149. 2006. 75'44 minutes.

Pays bigouden - Sonneurs et chanteurs traditionnels. No. 2 in the series Breizh ar broioù / La Bretagne des pays / La Bertaèyn dez paeyiz. 2006. Double CD including 24 songs and 16 tunes for biniou and bombarde collected in the Bigouden region of southwestern Brittany

Other publications and recordings

The Dastum branches (see addresses above) have been very active in recent years in the edition of CDs. Dastum Bro Dreger has produced a series called «Encyclopédie sonore du Trégor-Goëlo» which focuses on spoken traditions on a wide range of topics. Here are some of these:

Langaj al legumaj - les métiers maraîchers. DBD 042-12. 2004. Stories and songs about vegetable farming and farmers.

Bergen-Belsen - Paotr Plouared distroet deur an ifern / Mouvoir des camps de concentration Nazis. EST02. 2004. Memoirs of time spent in a Nazi concentration camp.

Yann Poëns - Eostig Tremel. EST04. 2005. Stories and songs of Yann Poëns (1920-2002)

Bouloù Pok, un mardi gras pas comme les autres. EST06. 2005. Championship for «boules» in the town of Guerlesquin.

Some other recent recordings from Dastum branches - just the beginning of good things to come:

30 vloaz - Festival Plinn du Danouët. Dastum Bro Dreger. 2005. 112-page book and photo essay with CD featuring a festival and contest for the dance plinn.

Chants à la marche. En Loire-Atlantique No. 1. 2004.Dastum 44. 2004. Songs that count things up and down used to entertain one when walking.

Baleaden e bro an Oriant. Dastum Bro Ereg DBE 001 / DAS 14. 2005. Features songs and music of the Lorient area.

Dastum branches have also published song text collections and tune transcriptions which are accompanied by CDS. Here are two published in 2005:

Iffig Troadeg. Carnets de route - gwerzioù ha sonioù Bro-Dreger / Ballades et chants du Tréog. Dastum Bro-Dreger. 380 page + 2 CDs. This is a collection of Breton language songs of the Tregor area by Ifig Troadeg. It includes over 200 song texts and 52 selections interpreted on two CDs.

Collecte de Jean-Louis Larboulette: 1902-1905, Chants traditionnels vannetais. Dastum Bro-Ereg. DBE 035. Three notebooks of songs and oral traditions collected in 1902-06 by Larboulettte, accompanied by 2 CDs.

A Final Note

Dastum offers its services to all free of charge to anyone, and this is a tremendous resource. If you consult Dastum for information, make your request as specific as possible. No one will be able to take time to answer broad questions which require a 30-page response (or a 300-page response). For instance, you are not likely to get an answer to a question such as "What are the different dances of Brittany" or "Could you give me the history of bagpipes in Brittany". Do as much homework ahead of time as you possibly can before you consult Dastum. Keep in mind that the small staff of Dastum gets hundreds of requests and tends to put in long hours. Most of the people working for Dastum are volunteers. If you will be in Brittany and would like to visit a Dastum branch or affiliated organization, make an appointment in advance. And consider making a contribution to support their work.