This relationship will be a fantastic demonstration of the vibrant, creative, contemporary and rich cultures that both languages have to offer. Aiming to learn from each other and promote minority and contemporary languages, the British Council Wales-backed project will showcase both Welsh and Breton music further.
Following a visit to the Tafwyl Festival in 2018, the association Mignoned ar Brezhoneg (Friends of the Breton language) drew many ideas for its Breton language festival, Gouel Broadel ar Brezhoneg.
The festival brings together Breton speakers, lovers and supporters for an opportunity to unleash the power of the language.
Their wish was to explore what was being done in terms of language promotion at minority language events in Europe. From then on, the idea emerged to play UKAN, a Breton pop-rock band at Tafwyl 2019, and Welsh alt-rock trio Chroma at Gouel Broadel ar Brezhoneg.
Chroma caught the eye of the organizers of the Breton language festival last year and are delighted to represent Tafwyl.
Katie from Chroma said:
“It’s a privilege to play on the same stage as artists from all over Europe who share the same passion for composing in a minority language. The festival in Britain will be the first time we’ve played live outside of Britain. We are really excited to promote our Welsh punk music on a European platform. It is important that we make every effort to spread the language in Europe, due to the uncertain nature and risks of Brexit. Every language and every culture deserves to be understood and protected.
Although Tafwyl is predominantly Welsh, this year will be a first for the festival to welcome two additional languages. As well as UKAN’s Breton performance, headlining the festival on Friday night will be Gwenno, the first artist to create a psych-pop album in the Cornish language. Having made a huge impact over the past year, appearing on Jools Holland earlier in 2018 and backing big names like Manic Street Preachers, she’s definitely one to watch.
Lleuwen, who currently lives in Brittany, will perform at both festivals. Both festivals share the same vision, to create and learn from each other. These are more than just music festivals; beyond the traditional Celtic image that many know
“I first went to Tafwyl last year and was amazed by two things – that the festival has created so many bridges to Welsh culture – bridges open to all; and in addition, on leaving, I saw a crew of Bretons! I am so grateful that this relationship has been established, because it is so important for us to share the vision – there is so much we can learn from each other, and enormous potential for collaboration and co-delight things we have in common.
“It would be great to create a festival together – a small festival with equal representation from Brittany and Wales. It would be very beneficial for artists on both sides of the sea to inspire, inform and see each other. We can learn so much from them, and they could learn so much from us.
“I can’t wait to welcome Chroma to Gouel Broadel on Brezhoneg, and I can’t wait to enjoy UKAN’s performance in Tafwyl!
“It will be great to create a festival together – a small festival with equal representation from Brittany and Wales. It would be very beneficial for artists on both sides of the sea to inspire, inform and see each other. We can learn so much from them, and they can learn so much from us.
“I’ll give Chroma a very warm welcome to Gouel Broadel on Brezhoneg, and look forward to enjoying UKAN’s performance in Tafwyl!”
This partnership comes at a particularly opportune time, as this year is UNESCO’s International Year of Indigenous Languages. Through its European Mobility Scheme, the British Council Wales has supported this project to strengthen the relationship with Europe due to climate change in the EU. The Welsh arts sector has many established relationships in Europe and participates in major international platforms such as Classical Next, the Venice Biennale and major festivals such as Le Festival Interceltique de Lorient and Cannes.
Rebecca Gould, British Council Wales Arts Officer said:
“Since its inception, Tafwyl has been a brilliant showcase of Welsh culture and an opportunity to celebrate and share the Welsh language in Wales and beyond. This partnership comes at a crucial time for Wales, as our country seeks new relationships in Europe and strengthens existing ties.
Tafwyl’s collaboration builds on the fantastic work the Arts Council of Wales and the Welsh Government did last year for the Festival Interceltique de Lorient, one of the biggest festivals in Europe, where the Pays de Wales was the Nation of Honor. There is certainly a special Celtic relationship between Wales and Breton to nurture and develop.
The Tafwyls project is part of a wider British Council Wales European Mobility scheme which is supporting 22 Welsh artists and arts organizations to develop new links with Europe, follow #GlobalArtsWales to find out more.
One of Tafwyl’s main goals for the future is to continue to be a welcoming event that breaks down barriers, ensuring everyone feels they can celebrate Welsh culture, traditions and values; Welsh speakers, non-Welsh speakers and tourists.
This relationship highlights the cross-border and international element of Tafwyl 2019 by also learning new ways of creating in a minority language context. The organizers want to attract the biggest names in Welsh music, sport, food and culture, to showcase the best of Welsh talent on the national and international stage. Tafwyl strongly believes that the bilingual elements of Tafwyl will only strengthen the event and present Wales as a dynamic and outward looking nation.