This relationship will be a fantastic display of the bustling, creative, contemporary and rich cultures both languages have to offer. Aiming to learn from one another and promote minority and contemporary languages, the project supported by the British Council Wales will showcase both Welsh and Breton music further afield.
Following a visit to Tafwyl Festival in 2018, the association Mignoned ar Brezhoneg (Friends of the Breton Language) pulled many ideas for their Breton language festival, Gouel Broadel ar Brezhoneg.
The festival brings Breton speakers, lovers and supporters together for an opportunity to spark the power of the language.
Their wish was to explore what was being done in terms of language promotion in events in minority languages in Europe. From then on, the idea emerged to have UKAN, a pop-rock band from Brittany to play at Tafwyl 2019, and alt-rock Welsh three-piece, Chroma at Gouel Broadel ar Brezhoneg.
Chroma caught the eye of the Breton language festival organisers last year and are so pleased to be representing Tafwyl.
Katie from Chroma said:
“It’s a privilege to play on the same stage as artists from across Europe who share the same passion for composing in a minority language. The festival in Brittany will be the first time we play live outside of Britain. We’re really excited to promote our Welsh punk music on a European platform. It’s important that we make every effort to spread the language in Europe, because of the uncertain nature and risks of Brexit. Every language and culture deserve understanding and protection.”
Although Tafwyl is predominantly Welsh, this year will be a first for the festival to host two more languages. As well as UKAN’s Breton performance, headlining the festival on Friday evening will be Gwenno, the first ever artist to create a Cornish language psych-pop album. Having made a massive impact over the past year, appearing on Jools Holland earlier in 2018 and supporting big names like Manic Street Preachers, she is definitely one to watch.
Lleuwen, currently living in Brittany, will be playing at both festivals. Both festivals share the same vision, to create and learn from one another. These are more than just music festivals; beyond the traditional Celtic image many are familiar with
“I went to Tafwyl for the first-time last year and was stunned by two things – that the festival created so many bridges to Welsh culture – bridges open to all; and on top of that as I left, I saw a crew of Bretons! I’m so grateful that this relationship has been established, because it is so important for us to share the vision – there’s so much we can teach each other, and a huge potential to collaborate and co-delight in the 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 from both sides of the sea to get inspiration, information and vision from 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 look forward to enjoying UKAN’s performance at Tafwyl!
“It will be great to create a festival together – a small festival with representation from Brittany and Wales being equal. It would be very beneficial for artists from both sides of the sea to get inspiration, information and vision from each other. We can learn so much from them, and they’ll be able to learn so much from us.
“I will give Chroma a very warm welcome at Gouel Broadel on Brezhoneg, and look forward to enjoying UKAN’s performance in Tafwyl!”
This partnership comes at a particularly appropriate time, as it’s UNESCO International Year of Indigenous Languages this year. Through their European mobility programme, British Council Wales have supported this project to strengthen the relationship with Europe due to the changing climate in the EU. The Welsh arts sector has many established connections in Europe and participates in major international platforms such as Classical Next, Venice Biennale and major festivals including Le Festival Interceltique de Lorient and Cannes.
Rebecca Gould, Head of Arts for British Council Wales said:
“Tafwyl has since its inception 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 out new relationships in Europe and strengthens existing ties.
Tafwyl’s collaboration builds on the fantastic work that the Arts Council of Wales and Welsh Government did for Festival Interceltique de Lorient last year, one of Europe’s largest festivals, where Wales was the Nation of Honour. There is certainly a special Celtic relationship between Wales and Breton to nurture and develop.
Tafwyls project is part of a wider British Council Wales European Mobility programme which is supporting 22 welsh artists and arts organisations to develop new links with Europe, follow #GlobalArtsWales to learn more.”
One of Tafwyl’s main aims for the future is to continue being a welcoming event that breaks down barriers, making sure everyone feels they can celebrate Welsh culture, traditions and values; Welsh speakers, non-Welsh speakers, and tourists alike.
This relationship highlights the cross-border and international element of Tafwyl 2019 by also learning about new ways of creating in a minority language context. The organisers want to attract the biggest names in Welsh music, sport, food & culture, to showcase the very best of Welsh talent on a national and international stage. Tafwyl believe strongly that bilingual elements at Tafwyl will only strengthen the event and showcase Wales as a dynamic and outward-looking nation.