FolkWorld #69 07/2019
© Agence Heymann Renoult / Lorient Interceltic Festival

Festival Interceltique de Lorient 2019

The Other Finistere

All roads do not lead to Rome! In the north-west of the Iberian Peninsula, in Galicia, is Santiago de Compostela. The 49th edition of the Festival Interceltique de Lorient celebrates Galicia, with artists such as Mercedes Peón, Milladoiro, Xosé Lois Romero and Aliboria. Although the festival is a predominantly musical event with its traditional flagship events such as the Grand Parade of the Celtic Nations or the Interceltic Nights, it also features dance, literature, the visual arts, cinema, history, etc.

Galicia's Coast


Festival Interceltique de Lorient

49th Lorient Interceltic Festival

»Year of Galicia«

2 - 11 August 2019

Artist Video Lorient


Festival Internacional do Mundo Celta, Ortigueira

Music of Galicia ...

More Galician Artists @ FROG

In north-western Spain, Galicia has preserved its language, culture and traditions. The region, with its 2 760 000 inhabitants and its 29 574 km2 of surface has a major asset: Santiago de Compostela (St James of Compostella). Since the ninth century, thousands of pilgrims have reached the city by traveling very ancient paths, often those which the Celts followed until the end of lands, to meet the setting sun over the sea, the door to the beyond.

Galicia is an exception in Spain, a land flowing into the Atlantic Ocean, a land swept by winds and rains, reminiscent of Brittany or Ireland with its oceanic climate and Celtic traditions. It is surrounded by the Principality of Asturias, Castilla y León, Portugal and the Atlantic Ocean. The region has always been sea-oriented, as evidenced by the commerce, fishing, and transatlantic ports, but also the many canneries or shipbuilding sites.

Galicia has been occupied since the Megalithic, as evidenced by thousands of dolmens spread throughout the region. In the Iron Age, Celtic peoples abandoned their itinerant life to settle in hamlets, which are called "castros" in Galicia. These fortified villages, most of them located on the mountains or near the coasts, were ideal for protection from the invader. But it was impossible to resist the Romans ... Galicia later became a Roman province.

The warmth of the Southern Celts is often described by their sense of celebration, an opportunity to get together in a friendly, popular and supportive atmosphere. Originally, these festive gatherings were of an agricultural, religious, gastronomic or cultural nature. The most popular takes place on July 25th in Santiago de Compostela (capital of the autonomous community of Galicia, a World Heritage Site) during the Feast of Saint James the Apostle, in Compostella, and also the day of the regional festival of Galicia. Galicians enjoy sharing their culture, especially in Ortigueira, where bagpipes and gaitas parade through the streets to celebrate celtitude and tradition.


Our 49th edition celebrates Galicia and our catch line, "The other Finistere: At the end of the road, the joy and warmth of the Southern Celts", announces that the 2019 edition will be solar, both in terms of artistic expression as well as conviviality and celebration.

The quality of the gaiteros and gaitas bandas, the female songs to the tambourines and the Galician dance groups has always been appreciated at the Lorient Interceltic Festival, and the Galician gastronomy is also very famous. Everyone can savour the culinary specialties of this region in the "Pavillon Galicien", while sharing the inexhaustible sense of celebration that characterises it.

During the ten days and ten nights of the Festival, you can discover artists who are international references from Galicia, and also discover traditions inscribed in the aesthetics of urban music, or the transition to a music that has incorporated new technologies and industrial atmospheres, all driven by the energy and creativity of the new Galician generations. The cinema, the exhibitions, the lectures and the human exchanges that will be present this summer, will allow you to grasp the character of Galicia today.


The path of Breogan. For this opening night, discover a mix between folklore, popular music and symphonic music. A journey into time and space, where popular fanfares feed on traditions and traditional music to welcome new rhythms, harmonies and instruments. The Banda de Gaitas de Forcarei and its harmony orchestra have built a common repertoire with exceptional guests. They present a truly dynamic and surprising scenic ensemble, where the Galician tradition is revealed in all its splendour.

Peatbog Faeries


Galicia presents an exceptional show, designed to demonstrate the excellence and richness of the nation's traditions. More than 150 artists will perform on stage and share the warmth of the Southern Celts. In the first part of the evening, discover Tiruleque, a quintet that combines a traditional repertoire stemming from the musicians' collecting work and collections of scores published in the 20th century. By combining non-traditional instruments, they succeed in renewing the heritage repertoire of Galicia. Aliboria will also be on stage.


Mercedes Peón is considered one of the most charismatic Galician women on the current world music circuit and she received the Galician Critics Award in 2018. The tambourine playing and the singing of Ribeirana were the trigger for the development of her world. After exploring traditional music for more than 25 years, her compositions have led her to a special atmosphere, surrounded by vocals and percussions, industrial sounds bordering on electroacoustics, which are a hallmark of her music. Her latest work, Deixaas, is the result of intense research into the possibilities of sound art in the field of tradition.


Xosé Lois Romero is a key figure in the revival of popular music in Galicia. A well-known accordionist, percussionist and composer, trained under the auspices of traditional music, he has collaborated with some of the most remarkable artists of recent decades. He is now on stage with Aliboria, a group of new Galician musicians with in-depth knowledge of their folklore and high technical quality. Xosé Lois Romero & Aliboria combine the ancestral voices of oral tradition with the power and richness of multitimbral drums, bass drums, frame drums, frying pans, bones, shells, tambourines, paprika boxes, etc.


Carlos Núñez; photo by The Mollis

Artist Video Carlos Núñez

How could we celebrate the year of Galicia without the most Breton of Galicians: Carlos Núñez ? This Galician returns to the FIL with a unique concert, specially designed to celebrate the connection between the Celtic countries and the Iberian Peninsula. His charisma, his energy, his pioneering spirit have made him very popular, he who constantly pushes the limits of his instruments: the Galician bagpipe - the gaita - and the flutes. He will be on stage with more than 60 musicians and in particular, on some tracks, with his artist friends: Alan Stivell, Bagad Cap Caval, Banda de Dulzainas de Ávila, Alicante and other surprise guests !


In 1971, the Lorient International Bagpipes Festival was born. Thanks to its success, it was renewed and became the Lorient Interceltic Festival over the years. Recognised as one of the 13 most important festivals in Europe by the European Commission in 1996, it is celebrating its 49th edition this year.

For 10 days and 10 nights, the Festival aims to defend Celtic culture and all its facets through a rich and varied programme: concerts, shows, parades, literary meetings, sports events, gastronomic tastings, exhibitions of contemporary arts and crafts ...

More than 750,000 festival-goers gather every year in the streets of Lorient and acclaim 4500 artists from Scotland, Wales, Brittany, Acadia, Asturias, Cornwall, Galicia, Isle of Man and Ireland ...

As well as from Celtic diasporas from Australia, New Zealand or Argentina. A true immersion in the common culture of the Celtic peoples!

The Lorient Interceltic Festival renews tradition by opening up to modernity, folk, rock and jazz: "I am working with the Festival's values, the identity of each Celtic Nation but also with an open mind, constantly searching for contemporary perspectives". Lisardo Lombardia, Festival Director


Flagship of the Festival, the Great Parade welcomes 3,500 artists in the traditional costumes of different Celtic nations. A strong and unique moment which must not be missed! Kilts, bagpipes, bagadoù, pipe bands, dancers and joy of life are gathered in the streets of Lorient for the enjoyment of festivalgoers. The passage of the Celtic flags gives way to the famous Bagad de Lann-Bihoué then all the other musicians and dancers parade in turn.

Martin Hayes


The Interceltic Night is an exceptional show for the whole family. It combines music, dance and singing with more than 500 artists from all Celtic nations, let's vibrate to the sound of bagpipes, bombards, trumpets and brass instruments in 2019. Stunning lights and video projections on giant screens mixed with digital sequences will take you to the heart of the magical Celtic world. A firework display will close this magical evening with new music specially composed by Étienne Chouzier. A must-see!


The seven mercenaries of the Soldat Louis crew are taking the stage to celebrate their 30th birthday in 2019 at the Lorient Interceltic Festival! Remember: In 1988, supported by Renaud, the Première bordée album was literally carried by the famous chorus "Du rhum, des femmes…" which swept over the airwaves and on hexagonal stages. Two gold records and eight albums later, after hundreds of concerts in ports and on stages worldwide, Soldat Louis has decided to break the record truce and get back on stage! In early 2018, he released a new album Quelques nouvelles du front.


Mercedes Peón, TFF.Rudolstadt 2009

Artist Video Mercedes Peón

Nolwenn Leroy is back at the FIL with her new Folk album. In this opus, the artist interprets songs by Jacques Higelin, Nino Ferrer, Nicolas Peyrac or Francis Cabrel, among others. Songs that are all part of a musical genre and a state of mind: folk music, which warms and wakes up buried emotions. With the help of a small group of joyful musicians, Nolwenn has recorded 13 iconic songs, live. Clarisse Lavanant will be playing in the first part of the evening, a journey which will be rich in emotions through a varied repertoire, Celtic and mixed, in French but also in Breton.


Goran Bregović, the eternal accomplice of Émir Kusturica, turned to music to tell the story of the city of Sarajevo, a crossroads between civilizations, before its tragic explosion. These Three Letters from Sarajevo are an ode to peace and understanding between peoples, carried by the breath of Goran Bregović and his incredible wedding and funeral orchestra (composed of brass, strings and singers). Accompanied by the Symphonic Orchestra of Brittany, conducted by Aurélien Azan Zielinski, the musicians will express their metaphor of living together and hope.


After their sulphurous passage at the FIL in 2014, the bagad Kemper and Red Cardell return with a new project, NERZH, to celebrate the 70th anniversary the most successful bagad in Brittany.

Nearly 50 musicians will be on stage for a great show, breathtaking visual and sound energy. Since 2011 and their first meeting, the two groups have been able to weave a beautiful human and musical complicity. NERZH, strength, power and energy uniting the territories of music, abolishing the boundaries of styles, growing with nature and altruism. The famous Australian rock band Claymore will be playing in the first part of the evening.


A "Celtic Electro" evening awaits you with three bands that will certainly make you dance!

The legendary Scottish pioneers Peatbog Faeries have created a glorious mix of traditional music and dance floor rhythms. Based on a myriad of dazzling influences, from jigs and Scottish dances to Techno, Jazz and African music ...

A unique formation in the current Breton musical landscape, NOON is breaking the codes by combining electronic music and the sound power of four bagpipes. Well influenced by electro, trap or traditional Breton music, the five Breton members of NOON have many surprises in store.

Mercedes Peón will be on stage to present her latest opus, Deixaas, the fruit of intense research on the possibilities of sound art in the field of tradition.

Photo Credits: (1),(3) Festival Interceltique Lorient, (5) Peatbog Faeries (unknown/website); (2) Galicia's Coast, (6) Carlos Núñez (by The Mollis); (4) Festival Internacional do Mundo Celta, Ortigueira (by Marcus Metz) (7) Martin Hayes, (8) Mercedes Peón (by Walkin' Tom).

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