on 12 July 2006
When this disc was first released, I wrote, for Musicweb (now Musicweb International) the following, which I still stand by:- "This disc represents one of my recurring sounds of this summer on the Atlantic seaboard of France and is an indicator of an ongoing musical continuum running down from the Hebrides, through Wales, Ireland and Brittany to "Green Spain" - Cantabria, Asturias and Galicia. The Celtic folk/classical/jazz tradition is alive and well and represented superbly here by Galician maestro Carlos Nuñez and his brilliant collaborators, reviving memories of his extraordinary debut disc, Brotherhood of Stars (RCA Victor 74321 453752), which featured various and significant contributions from The Chieftains and Ry Cooder.
Here, as the title suggests, the music is infused with the Breton musical heritage it pays tribute to, from the contributions of various bagadou (pipe bands) to harp doyen Alan Stivell, "el grande", as Carlos describes him, Dan Ar Braz and the charismatic singer-songwriter Gilles Servat. The opening Tro Breizh is, literally, a tour of the Breton lands and their varied musical styles, with Nuñez's flute to the fore, among accompaniments by turns refined and abrasive. Noite pecha and its following Gavotte-Pandeirada were written/arranged with Alan Stivell and here, in the nostalgic melancholia, there are echoes of the latter's recent masterpiece, Au dela de mots. Dan Ar Braz's Une Autre Fin de Terre is a melodic guitar driven instrumental brought to a resounding climax by the pipes and bombardes of the bagadou of Lokoal Mendon and Auray (a companion piece to Green Lands on Nuit Celtique - see below).
The great collector and restorer of Breton folk music, Polig Montjarret, is namechecked for the next two tracks which contrast very greatly with each other - Karante Doh Doue is a marvellous choral piece sung by the only male choir in Brittany and bearing great resemblance to the Basque vocal tradition (see Oldarra (Erato Detour 0630-19345-2), whereas Polka de Karnoéd is a brisk, very folksy insrumental piece. In the following ballad, Gilles Servat and Bleunwenn relate another traditional song very winningly, then Nuñez brings together the pipe traditions of his own Galicia with those of Ireland and Scotland in self-explanatory The Three Pipers. Saint Patrick's An Dro is the album's masterpiece (and also featured on Nuit Celtique), with a simple flute based introduction leading to a massively affecting massed piped finale. Eimar Quinn sings the lilting Yann Derrien superbly before Nuñez pays tribute to the Breton influence on Galicia and Dan Ar Braz does the same for him regarding France. The closing Ponthus et Sidoine finds us in a monastery in Catalonia with the great viola da gamba player Jordi Savall, producing a unique piece of music whose only comparator, to my knowledge is the still astonishing Chartres by Swiss violinist Paul Giger (ECM). Ten, fifteen listens later I remain totally entranced by this disc and the simultaneous Nuit Celtique (SAN5111862), a compilation featuring Nuñez but also Stivell, Ar Braz, Gilles Servat, Denez Prigent's astonishing duet with Lisa Gerrard, Gortoz A Ran (featured in Black Hawk Down) and, again, numerous bagadou". Magnificent stuff!
on 20 March 2013
One of the best music purchases this year for me though it was recorded some time ago.
Having re-united myself with the music of Carlos Nunez ( saw him live at Celtic Connections in Glasgow - one of the best CC 2013 gigs).
I collect Breton music - Alain Stivell, Soig Siberill, Gilles le Bigot....and was unaware that this CD existed. Brilliant Gallician and Breton styles on one CD. One slightly iffy electric guitar led track which sounds a bit like an STV soap theme tune but the rest is very good with fantastic creshendo afforded by mass pipes on one track.
on 1 February 2009
Any Carlos Nunez fan will love this album! Its standout track is the classic 'Three Pipers' (the reason I bought it!) and is a track that makes the hairs on the back of my neck stand on end! The tracks of this album are just wonderful, Carlos' genius seems to improve with time. The album is a delight to listen to, I can't reccommend it highly enough! If you like Celtic/folk music, this is a must!