FolkWorld Live Review 09/2004 by Adolf "gorhand" Goriup:

Festival de Cornouaille in Quimper, July 25th 2004
Les voix de la Terre

Quimper Festival, photo: Adolf GoriupSunday night the "Pavillon de Penvilliers" in Quimper hosted some of the finest musicians of the contemporary Folk scene of Brittany, Wales, Ireland and Scotland. Gilles le Bigot (guitar) has gathered 4 singers and 9 musicians to perform a single event at the Festival de Cornouaille in Quimper.

Karen Matheson (vocals), Donald Shaw (electric piano and accordion) and Ewen Vernal (double bass) from Capercaillie filled the hall with Gaelic/Scottish sounds. Karan Casey (vocals) and the two members of her band, Robbie Overson (guitar) and Niall Vallely (concertina and low whistle) brought Irish Folk to Brittany, while Julie Murphy, a singer from Wales, represented this part of the Celtic world. Jean-Michel Veillon (flute), Bernard le Dreau (tenor saxophone) Ronan Pinc (fiddle) and Patrick Boileau (drums and percussion) as well as the Kan ha Diskan singer Marthe Vassallo stood for the Breton world. Quimper Festival, photo: Adolf GoriupThe pavilion seemed to be sold out and the audience was burning with impatience before the show. Gilles le Bigot had prepared a striking mixture of Breton, Welsh, Irish and Scottish folk music.

Some contemporary compositions like Karan Casey's ballad Distant Shore, accompanied by the three other singers, were added as well. The dominating vocal tracks were nevertheless alternating with some stunning instrumentals, which were a perfect showcase for the excellent musicians. We heard slow reels, a Scottish gavotte composed by Donald Shaw as well as Niall Vallely's slow air Malfunction Junction. Marthe Vassallo sang her wonderful Breton dances solo or with Julie Murphy or Karen Matheson. Julie Murphy surprised the audience with two Welsh songs. The resemblance of Breton and Welsh Gaelic was obvious.

Highlights of the concert were certainly the duets of Karan Casey and Karen Matheson on Lord MacDonald and Curra Road. Karen Matheson added two hauntingly beautiful Gaelic ballads. When Gilles le Bigot, who had guided us through the show, announced the last song Oran, all 4 singers came back together on stage to join in. Marthe told the audience that Quimper Festival, photo: Adolf Goriuponly an extraordinary ovation could bring them back for the encores and Karan, with a little smile on her face, added that they'd like to go to the Fest-Noz, after-all.

But well the audience gave them a standing ovation and they were happy to come back and add an awesome a cappella performance before they closed the show with a reprise of Oran. I'd like to congratulate the organisers who made this possible, the "metteur en musique" Gilles le Bigot and the artists who really were in top form. We were privileged to participate in this event, which represents Folk Music at its best. I hope this has been recorded, the sound was excellent as well and it would be a pity not to be able to share it with all those who love music.


Photo Credit: Adolf Goriup

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