ICDBL.org© Guide to the Music of Brittany

Musical Instruments of Brittany: The Celtic Harp

The Telenn or Celtic Harp is a small harp whose golden age in Brittany as well as in the other Celtic countries was the Middle Ages. Professional harpers brought the harp to the halls of noble families as well as more common folk, and a great deal of musical exchange between harpers of Brittany, Wales, Scotland and Ireland is recorded in history. Combined economic, social, political and cultural changes contributed to the decline of this instrument, and by the end of the 18th century harps had disappeared in Brittany. A rebirth of the Celtic harp in Brittany can be dated to the 1950s and Jord Cochevelou (father of one of the best known Breton performers on harp, Alan Stivell) was an important figure in the reconstruction of ancient harps. By the early 1970s the popularity of the Celtic harp started to grow and today hundreds of Bretons learn harp, performing at annual competitions and festivals in Brittany in solo or in a group with other instruments.


«Harpe et Bretagne - deux siècles d'histoire» Armel Morgant..Ar Men 140 mai-juin 2004. pages 10-17.

«Harpe Celtique - le temps des enchanteurs». Thierry Jigourel. Celtics Chadenn. 2004. 144 pages.
Focused on the revival of the harp in Brittany with portraits of contemporary performers.

«Telenn: la harpe bretonne. Alan Stivell & Jean-Noël Verdier. Ed. Le Télégramme. 2004. 258 pages.
Richly documented history of the Celtic harp and its reintroduction in Brittany.


Patrice Arnould, Violaine Mayor, Joël Herrou
Musique celtique ancienne. Hent Telenn Breizh. MCA 01/DB 5X2. 2004.
Features wire-strung harp.

Yann Bertrand
Kan ha telenn. Drop Studio 2004/Outre Bleu OBL 404-091. 2004

Dominig Bouchaud
L'ancre d'argent. Keltia Musique KMCD 127. 2001.
20 melodies, dances, marches and compositions.

Dominig Bouchaud & Enzo Vacca
Vèis. Arte Nomade AN 00904. 2004

Cécile Corbel
Harpe celtique et chants du monde. Keltia Musique RSCD 270.
Music and song form Brittany and other world cultures.

Les Fileuses de Nuit.
Trio de harpes celtiques. Studio BNC. 2005.
Aurore Bréger, Clotilde Touillaud and Maire Wambergue with high energy arrangements and compositions.

Job Fulup
Harpeur. Escalibur CD 839. 1991.

Armelle Gourlaouen
Récital de harpes. Self-produced. Gour 003. 2003.

Anne Marie Jan
Parallèles. Keltia Musique/TVB Prod. 1994.

Soazig Kerambon & Fred Samzun
An Arvor hag ar reter. Self-produced CD KS 001. 2003.
Harp and fiddle.

Gwenaël Kerleo
Chemin de brume. CDK 03. 2000.
Yelen. Coop Breizh GK04-DB 5X2. 2004.

Marianig Larc'hantec
Chall ha Dichall (flux and reflux). D.F. Kerig. Kerig 13. 1999.

Mariannig Larc'hantec & Dominig Bouchaud
Diou delenn--deux harpes celtiques. Rikou Soner, BAS collection Eus ar Vagann. RS BAS 308,M104

Mariannig Larc'hantec & Yann Dour
Bleu--harpe et accordeon diatonique. Caruhel CAR 002. 1987.

Mariannig Larc'hantec & Myrdhin
Harpes celtiques--mille ans d'histoire. Conservatoire régionale de musique de Ploeumeur. 1988.

Violaine Mayor
Danse avec les fées-Musiques de Bretagne et d'Irlande. Hent Telenn Breizh. VM01. 1996
Stujenn haleg/Willow Shoot. Hent Telenn Breizh/Vocation Records VOC 039. 2001.
Metal strung harps featured.

A cordes et à cris. Iguane Production. 1995.
Buhez Marzin. RIA-Kerig 595. 1999
Just two latest of a number of recordings by this harper.

Myrdhin & Zil [Duo Ars Celtica]
Fréhel féeries. Kerig KCD 160. 2000.

Myrdhin & Pol Huellou
Harp and shakuhachi. Goasco Music. GM027. 1988 (cassette);
Harp et bamboo. Escalibur CD 841. 1992
Pairing of Celtic harp and Japanese shakuhachi flute.

Myrdhin. Philippe Lefevre & Gabriel Jégo
Run. Self-produced/Harpenciel. 2004. Harp, fretless bass & percussion.

Kristen Nogues
Kernelec. Klang Welten 75-144. 1990 (distr. Keltia Musique)
An envor. Coop Breizh CD 882. 1999..

Nicolas Pierre
Musique pour harpe celtique. Alain Pennec CAP 18. 20902.
CD plus book for learners.

Gwenola Roparz
Telenn Vreizh--Musique bretonne pour harpe celtique. Arfolk CD 430, 1994. 50'50 CD
Baradoz (Cantiques et musiques populaires de Bretagne pour voix, harpe et orgue). Escalibur CD 877. 1997.

On our way. Keltia Musique KMCD 62. 1996
De l'autre côté/The Other Side. Keltia Musique KMCD 96. 1999.
Duo of harp including lots of song and less traditional arrangements.

Alan Stivell
Renaissance de la harpe celtique. Fontana 6325-302, 1971 (also released on Rounder Records 3067).
Classic Stivell which stands up very well with time.
Harpe du nouvel age. WEA Filippachi 240 7371. 1985.
"New age" style in arrangements of Celtic melodies. See also Stivell in «New Arrangements» Section

Various performers
Harpe Celtique / Telenn - L'Anthologie, Vol. 1. Coop Breizh CD 951. 2004.
Two-CD set with 21 well known harpists. Richly documented with a 60-page hard-bound booklet.

See also the group Triskell in «New Arrangements» listing.

Resource Organization

Hent Telenn Breizh
Organize workshops for metal strung harps.