This music is born of the sea and the connections

This music is born of the sea and the connections it has provided to the Celtic peoples of the Atlantic for thousands of years. Brittany Ferries, the shipping company founded in Roscoff by Breton farmers, and with whom I share the passion to continue to unit all these cultures, is turning 50 years old.

To celebrate, we have decided to create a new music that represents our philosophy of life, always linked to the inter-Celtic spirit that leads Brittany, the geographical center of all Atlantic Celts. Brittany Ferries is simply continuing a 10,000 year old tradition of exchanges across the Celtic Sea.

Brittany Ferries has also been a key element for modern interceltism. From my Irish masters The Chieftains, to Polig Monjarret (the pioneer of the Bagadoù pipe bands of Brittany), countless musicians and friends, harpers, pipers…have traveled on their ships carrying tunes from Finis Terrae to Finis Terrrae from land's end to land's end, including several of the participants in these recordings. I myself have had the privilege of being able to experience the sensations of these sea routes. And it is from that magic that this album is born, like a journey.

Perhaps, the most important quality of the Celtic world is the virtue of connecting everything as in an interlace. It has the extraordinary capacity to produce all kinds of artistic expressions: music and dance, literature, painting and sculpture… And to generate links between all of them.

The fantasy and mystery that surround the Celtic world have a lot to do with the fact that it has always been linked to orality. But the reality is that, in it, there has always been a dialogue between systems: orality and writing, the popular and the cultured, the collective creation of tradition and the individuality of composition.

Celtic music is intergenerational. For example, this album features artists of all generations, from 20 to 80 years old. It is also timeless, because it has been cultivated by the ancient bards with their lyres, by medieval troubadours and by classical composers such as Beethoven. It was one of the roots of Romanticism and of 20th-century music such as Rock and Pop. And today, in the 21st century, we can experience a real journey with it. A journey through space between those countries that have been linked by sea since ancient times and that Brittany Ferries is now reconnecting. And a journey through time as well.

In this album we use instruments from different historical periods

For this purpose, in this album we use instruments from different historical periods of this music (such as the recently reconstructed prehistoric Atlantic lyres), and we also draw inspiration from all kinds of repertoires and compositional techniques of Celtic music: the “bagpipe rhythm” (which is like a common language in all these countries), the “Scotch snap” (consisting of rhythmic syncopations originating from the Celtic languages), the “double tonic” (or binary system of harmony, characteristic of bagpipes, which we can see for the first time represented in the harmonic patterns of 1s and 0s of the ap Huw harp manuscript from Wales, heritage of the bards, which could take us to the lyres of the Bronze Age), the “pibroch” of Scotland (one of the oldest known bagpipe music with echoes of the ancient harps and lyres), the manuscripts of Edwards Bunting (containing the music of the last Celtic harpers, transcribed by him from oral tradition in Ireland, in the 18th century), the “Highland vocal airs” BY Patrick MacDonald (one of the very first publications of authentically oral Scottish music), the “Sea invocation” collected at the beginning of the 20th century in the Isle of Man, in which the sea is almost like a divinity, and many other sources.

What today we call the Celtic Sea, was known as Mare Brittanicum in the Middle Ages and, in those times, only an enlightened minority knew about the ancient Celts. Back in the 16th century, the Scotsman Georges Buchanan (considered the best Latin writer of the Renaissance and at the same time a native Gaelic speaker) was the one who discovered that the languages spoken in these Atlantic countries were related. He knew the writings of the classics that described Celtic peoples in Galicia and the Iberian Peninsula, and he knew the original “legends of origin” of the Gaelic people, which also located them in Galicia. He then came to the conclusion that the language of the Gaels had to be a Celtic language. He saw the connection between words like Galicia, Gaels and Gauls. And he coined the expression “Celtic” to link them together, which has persisted to this day.

"Olympus of the Celts"

So, there is no better starting point for inspiration to create this new Brittany Ferries music than the Alalá do Pindo. O Pindo, known as the “Olympus of the Celts”, is a spectacular pink granite mountain by the sea, in the northwest of Galicia, where the classics described how Celtic peoples lived. There was find toponyms unique in Europe like “Céltigos”, a direct reference to Celts. This melody has all the characteristics of an inter-Celtic melody. A Scottish musician, an Irishman or a Breton will not be able to tell where it comes from, but it will be close and familiar to them.

Because it now belongs to everyone.

I hope you enjoy this music that is the result of the history of a brotherhood of artist who enjoy this sea, the true spirit and muse of Celtic music.

I hope you enjoy this music that is the result of the history of a brotherhood of artist who enjoy this sea, the true spirit and muse of Celtic music.