Since his début in 1977, traditional Breton singer Yann-Fañch Kemener  has made a huge contribution to the popularity of gwerzioù (unaccompanied laments) and to the revival of the “kan ha diskan” style, the traditional call and response singing for dancers. Now one of the most recognizable voices on the Breton music scene, Yann-Fañch Kemener has breathed new life into the genre either by collecting and composing new songs or by reinterpreting the repertoire through various collaborations with several innovative groups or artists such as Barzaz, Skolvan or Didier Squiban amongst others.

Yann Fanch Kemener & Aldo Ripoche - An Dorn (2004)
Yann Fanch Kemener & Aldo Ripoche – An Dorn (2004)

In 2000, the singer started working with Aldo Ripoche, a classically trained cello and viola de gamba player. Since then, both musicians have initiated a novel exploration of the traditional Breton song repertoire through the prism of baroque music. Ar veleien (priests) is a traditional song set to a dañs fisel rhythm, a dance step specific to the Fisel area in central Brittany. It is the first song from Yann-Fañch Kemener and Aldo Ripoche’s 2004 recording An Dorn.

The extension, adaptation, variation and metamorphosis of a melodic, rhythmic and poetic repertoire, along with known or anonymous authors who are the living witnesses of a way of thinking and of folk genius – such were the guidelines of our choices – Yann-Fañch Kemener – An Dorn liner notes

The cello and viola de gamba arrangements generate a highly original sound and contribute to the ingenious reinvention of the Breton song repertoire. Yann-Fañch Kemener and Aldo Ripoche have recorded 6 albums to date, either as a duo or together with a choir or small baroque ensembles including violin, viola, theorbo and clavichord.