Streets of Paimpol

One of the things that I loved about our stay in Brittany was the amount of music going on all around and good stuff too – it was quite a contrast to some of the fairly lame efforts you come across on English streets. It was a real thrill and in Paimpol, particularly, you just didn’t know what you were going to come across around the next corner. In all I recorded four acts playing on the street (and bought two CDs).

The first people I saw were these three players who set up outside the junk shop I was poking around in. I was still getting used to this videoing mullarkey and there were one or two comedy moments as I tried to make this recording (the first one involving a van reversing slowly across the shot and another where an elderly woman walked across the screen with her fingers in her ears…). But eventually I got this. The lady in the middle is playing a bombarde, and her two partners are playing the Breton pipes which I think are known as “biniou”.

To be honest, at first it’s a bit of a hard listen to our American educated ears, but stick with it, there’s something rather haunting about it.

(I should say, these are street recordings, and I am notoriously cack-handed about these things, so you’ll have to put up with general murmurings, background interference and camera wobbles. Think of it as additional “street flavour”, I say…)

I also came across this trio of musicians, quite literally around the next corner, who had a distinct Breton sound but had mixed into it tinges of Irish music, jazz and Klezmer. The feller in the hat looks like he’s playing another bombarde but obviously there’s something different about it, he’s getting a completely different sound out of it.

After this song, the fiddle player explained that they called themselves Kornigell, which is apparently the Breton word for a seabird and also some sort of Breton dance step. I can’t find anything about them on the Internet, so I guess I can claim this as some sort of exclusive. You heard it here first!

The fiddle player also asked me to send him a copy of the video, I hope this suffices. Many thanks for the performance and for patiently explaining everything in English, after my French had let me down so miserably…

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