Over the course of the last 40 years Brittany has experienced an intense revival of activity in the area of vernacular traditional music performance and social dancing. Round dancing there is arguably the most popularly enjoyed community based traditional dance form in Western Europe. In its most traditional form the music and singing which drive the dance is immediate and arresting in its raw appeal. In this publication, which is directed at both scholarly and musical constituencies, Irish musician and academic Desi Wilkinson seeks to open a nuanced window, informed by his own experience, into this vibrant socio-musical reality. The book will deal with such issues as local identity as expressed through the aesthetic medium of music and dance and will include access to field recordings of selected singers and musicians. Directly related to these recordings are basic transcriptions of both text and music that taken together are intended to give the reader a good template from which to develop some understanding of its aesthetic features. The representative Pan-Breton selection to be found here is the cohort of dance forms that have evolved to be most representative of the Breton tradition. Descriptions of the dances themselves will also be included. The notional world of contemporary popular Celticism (Celtitude) is tied into folk music performance and the particularity of its Breton and francophone construction will also be examined in this book.
One of the leading exponents of the traditional Irish flute ("the timber flute") and a fine singer, to boot. Desi has recorded 4 albums with Cran, his primary musical group, and 2 solo albums as well. Originally from Belfast, Desi has worked and toured with most of the best-known musicians and groups on the traditional Irish music scene, like De Dannan, Donal Lunny, Liam O'Flynn, Mairtin O'Connor and Andy Irvine. He has toured the U.S.A. as guest star with De Dannan and has arranged and performed music for the theatre. From 1992 - 1994 he lived in Brittany, learning, playing and studying Breton music. Desi, who speaks French fluently, currently teaches at ICMUS, University of Newcastle.