In December 1970, on the Feast of Saint Jean, three young men of that first name performed together at a folk festival in Brittany, a province in Western-most France. The audience was dazzled by their energetic treatment of Breton and other Celtic styles and knack for close-harmony singing. Jean Chocun, Jean-Louis Jossic and Jean-Paul Corbineau were dubbed Tri Yann An Naoned ("Three Jeans From Nantes" in Breton) and quickly became regional favorites. As time went on, Tri Yann morphed from an all-acoustic trio into an eight-piece ensemble capable of integrating unplugged traditions, medieval balladry and rollicking folk-rock into a empowering statement of Breton pride.
The band's homeland, Brittany (Bretagne in French, Breizh in Breton), is one of the original six Celtic nations. Boasting a magnificent coastline and a long and colorful maritime history, Brittany has been host to a significant Celtic presence as far back as the 5th century. The natives have been actively seeking to secede from France since 1532, when their last autonomously ruling duchess married a French king. But modern Bretons, despite centuries of repression, have successfully reclaimed their native tongue and brought ancient folkways more-or-less intact into the present. The worldwide '70s folk revival that galvanized musicians in England, the U.S.A. and Ireland also made major landfall here, sending droves of young song collectors fanning out into the countryside, searching for living repositories of their heritage. Thanks to harpist Alan Stivell and politically galvanized poet-singer Giles Servat, along with Tri Yann and other pioneering bands, fest-noz (night festival) dances, which are descended from harvest celebrations, have once again become commonplace while several record labels have assembled extensive catalogues of local music. A profound sense of shared identity has been aroused and the Breton people are a force to be reckoned with.
Why Tri Yann has such a low profile outside of Brittany and the rest of France, where the group has long since garnered a devoted following, remains a mystery. The band's sound, which fuses Breton bagpipes and bombardes (a member of the oboe/shawm family) and medieval instruments onto a framework of powerhouse rock, is remarkably accessible. Plus, the group's spectacularly staged-and-costumed concerts routinely fill entire stadiums while its gold-and platinum-selling albums provide a timeline for the development of Breton music over more than three decades. Suite Gallaise (1974), which explores songs from the three bandleaders' native Pays Gallo where French is commonly spoken, is a lively example of the group's early acoustic sound, although some tracks are already leaning toward folk-rock. An Heol a Zo Glaz (The Sun Is Green, 1981) is a flawless concept work, ranging from a militantly pacifist ecological cantata sung entirely in Breton to "Si Mort a Mors," an Irish-inspired ballad about the last Duchess of Brittany that is one of the band's signature pieces. Cafe du Bon Coin (1983) draws heavily on Irish material while Portraits (1995) constitutes a musical gallery of personalities the band is intrigued by, from ancient times to the present.
01. Marie-Camille Lehuédé
02. Madeleine Bernard
03. Gerry Adams
04. Arthur Plantagenest
05. Goulven Salaün
06. Olivier Herry
07. Brian Boru
09. Anne de Bretagne
10. Guillaume Seznec - le voyage
11. Guillaume Seznec - le proccs
12. Guillaume Seznec - l'adieu
13. Guillaume Seznec - le bagne
14. Guillaume Seznec - la délivrance
15. Seznec est innocent !
Jean Chocun (lead vocal)
Jean-Paul Corbineau (lead vocal)
Jean-Louis Jossic (lead vocal, bombarde, chalémie, psaltérion, cromor)
Gérard Goron (vocaux, batterie, percussions, mandoloncelle)
Louis-Marie Séveno (vocaux, basse, violon, rebec, dulcimer électrique,)
Jean-Luc Chevalier (guitares acoustique et électrique)
Christophe Le Helley (vocaux, veuze, flutes médiévales, flute a bec, tin)