Impossible to evoke the bagad of Lann-Bihoué without evoking your song. How was she born?
She was born with Laurent Voulzy, a lover of Brittany, he spent his youth there, went there on vacation. Me too, my parents came there on vacation. When we are Parisians in the 1950s, as is our case, we do the usual things: we eat pancakes, we bathe in slightly cold water because we are 8 years old, we shiver a little . And then, there are parties and in particular the bagads (sic) who play music that we are not used to hearing with bagpipes and bombardes which are very loud. One day, I saw the Lann-Bihoué bagad, the army bagad which maintains Armorican music, and I thought it was magnificent. These uniforms, these people, this music with sounds that are violent – because it’s violent when there are five or six bombardes playing at the same time, that’s fine! – and at the same time beautiful. We evoked holiday memories like that, with Laurent Voulzy.
Just saying the bagad of Lann-Bihoué is beautiful.
Is this the look of an 8-year-old child?
Yes. When you are 8 years old, you watch it go by, you say to yourself that you would like to be in there, that to succeed in your life is to be in the bagad of Lann-Bihoué. It’s scrolling, everyone applauds you, everyone admires you. Laurent Voulzy has found this air which really looks traditional (he plays it with his mouth). I was excited. We were in Sologne, in Cour-Cheverny, a place where my grandparents were. We worked all day, eight to ten day sessions. The words in the French song, it is essential, like the music, but it is much more important than in the other countries. Already saying “the bagad of Lann-Bihoué”, we do not even understand what that means when we are in Paris, in the 5th arrondissement. Just saying “the bagad of Lann-Bihoué” is beautiful.
Six years after Stivell at the Olympia, mixing song and Breton music, was it finally daring?
Yes, but it was a trend that appealed to students, people who thought a little. In fact, there was no question. When we make songs, we try not to be like everyone else. I felt that there, I was almost the only one doing it. My song, as it was successful, made a little known what a bagad was.
You played with bagad, what memories do you have of it?
They have always been extremely courteous, kind to me. They write to me on New Year’s Day to wish me a happy new year. They gave me a beret marked “Bagad de Lann-Bihoué” which I have as a relic in one of my cupboards. I’m proud of it.
Once – I don’t know if it was for a Drucker program which was relocated there – I was told: “You’re going to sing your ‘Bagad de Lann-Bihoué’ but with the bagad. They’re going to play with you, they’re going to play your chorus” (he sings it again). So, I start to sing and at the time of the chorus, strength and power! They were maybe 50 around me in a semicircle. It’s crazy how strong it is! Suddenly, I couldn’t hear anything, it was so loud and magnificent.
Some took it badly, they didn’t understand my admiration for Brittany.
The song was not always well received?
As I was a funny singer (he sings: “I’m ten years old”, “Tar’ ta gueule à la récré”, “Hello mama bobo”), at the beginning, I received letters telling me: “Don’t don’t give a shit about Breton music”. Some took it badly, they didn’t understand my admiration for Brittany. At the beginning, I was a little roughed up, it’s not a big deal.
Now, can’t you not sing it?
Yes. Once I sang it at Guingamp (22). The first row got up when (he sings) “You didn’t see her like that”. They took each other’s hand and started dancing. I was upset. Oh, that was wonderful. It was about ten years ago, I thank them again.