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Wales fly the flag at the Celtic Festival in Lorient

Wales fly the flag at the Celtic Festival in Lorient

01/08/2014

The National Eisteddfod is not the only major platform for Welsh culture during the next week. With around 700,000 people flocking to the coastal area of Lorient in Brittany in the first week of August for a major annual festival, it’s the perfect platform for Welsh talent.

Wales is sending an array of artists and performers to the 44th Festival Interceltique de Lorient, which celebrates the Celtic arts. The festival aims to keep the traditions and friendships between the Celtic nations alive. The town is awash with pipes, drums and the music of Celtic heartlands and the Celtic diaspora along with the musical collaborations that come about when some of the world’s most passionate musicians join in some of the most exciting of musical collaborations. It is a celebration of the cultural traditions of the Celtic nations and regions.

Wales is always a popular presence in Lorient, and this year audiences will be treated to performances by the global Harp superstar, Catrin Finch who features in Lorient in her highly acclaimed collaboration with Senegalese kora virtuoso, Seckou Keita; Swansea’s Rag Foundation take along their Welsh folk music with a contemporary twist; Alaw is a dynamic trio with a love of melody, which is the translation of their name; Robin Huw Bowen is a master of the Welsh Triple Harp and an authority on Welsh folk music. The Triple Harp is unique to Wales as an unbroken oral folk tradition for over three hundred years. In visual arts, Eleanor Whiteman will be exhibiting her photographs of Tower Colliery in the Euro Celtic Art Exhibition.

Lorient audiences love the Welsh tradition of male choirs, and this year we are represented by Côr Meibion y Fflint in a variety of venues, including the town’s football stadium in the spectacular Nuits Interceltique. Other performers will also appear in the Wales Pavilion including Kizzy Crawford, a Welsh speaking singer-songwriter with Bajan heritage who fuses bilingual soul/jazz. Guto Dafis is a storyteller, singer and melodeon player; Bethlehem Village Band play dance music from Wales on fiddle, flute, hurdy-gurdy, pipes, harp and guitar; Sild are a unique Welsh / Estonian collaboration, and Olion Byw is a fiddle, voice and guitar duo.

Artists who perform in Lorient gain a unique experience. It is often a catalyst for new collaborations, inspiration for new work and an opportunity to perform in a significant European festival. A collaborative project as part of Calan Mai in the Wales Millennium Centre this year involved the band Calan and a Galician band Os d’Abaixo, as a direct result of contacts they made in Lorient 2013.

Wales hosted what many recorded as one of the most memorable and warm of WOMEX experiences last autumn and Lorient is another staging post for Welsh musicians on a musical pilgrimage route to Santiago de Compostela in Galicia and this year’s WOMEX.

One of the revelations of last year’s WOMEX was the magical collaboration of two stars of their respective instruments, Catrin Finch and Seckou Keita. The highlight concert of this year’s Lorient Festival promises to be the bill shared by Catrin and Seckou with Anoushka Shankar on the Wednesday of the Festival week.

The presence at Lorient provides an opportunity for Arts Council of Wales and Cerdd Cymru : Music Wales (CCMW) to build on WOMEX 13, develop potential links for WOMEX 14 in Galicia, and supporting the links between Wales and Brittany formalised in a renewed Memorandum of Understanding during the WOMEX week last year. The Welsh pavilion is supported by Welsh Government and mounted by event producer Orchard.

The organisers also see it as an opportunity to develop music tourism and promotion of Wales as a cultural destination for visitors at the festival. With almost 70,000 people in Lorient every day throughout the festival, it’s a perfect platform to promote the various aspects of Welsh life and culture to a receptive audience who are already looking to engage with Wales.

Music is at the heart of the festival and Wales has a wealth of music talent available to take advantage of this significant opportunity.

For artist’s information please contact Antony Owen- Hicks on 07964 688860.

For further information please contact Siân James on 07812 801356 or email: sian.james@artscouncilofwales.org.uk

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