The French region of Bas-Bretagne (the “Lower Britain” which makes Great Britain “Great”) is inhabited by descendants of the indigenous people who fled the Saxon Invasion to settle on the European mainland. They speak a “patois” (the somewhat derogatory French term for minority language) closely related to Welsh and Cornish.
There is a common misconception in French culture (proliferated by the popular comic strip “Astérix”) that they are the last remnant of the Gauls who resisted Roman occupation. This misidentification has helped somewhat in protecting their traditional culture from the steamroller of French Nationalism.*
Many years ago, my first introduction to Breton music was through the hip-hop group Manau:
The Tribe (or “Children”) of Danu (also called “Tuatha Dé Danann”) were, according to Lebor Gabála Érenn, a race (of Men or possibly Gods) who inhabited Ireland before the arrival of The Children of Míl (now commonly called “The Celts”). The melody for the sing-along chorus comes from this tune about three sailors:
Here is another rap by Manau with pronounced traditional roots:
That archetypical trio of “The Wolf, the Fox and the Weasel” also make their appearance in this old Breton song:
After all these years, the question still remains in my mind: «qui est la belette» (“who is the weasel”)?
*Please note that the assertions I make in these first two paragraphs are history painted with very broad strokes. The Ancient Gauls have many living descendants in Bretagne (as well as the rest of France); they were culturally subsumed (by the Romans, Franks and others) but never fully eradicated as a genetic stock. Also, the migration of Insular Celts to Bretagne is recorded as early as the Fifth Century, but the largest influx is generally thought to have coincided with the Saxon Invasions.
Previous Posts in This Series
I will try a new audience engagement technique with this series. In the comments, there will be two proposals concerning the next installment I will post in this series. The comment which receives the higher reward and/or is closer to the top position will determine what I post next.