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Understanding Brittany: Breizh Amerika Collective

Understanding Brittany: Breizh Amerika Collective aims to educate others about the cultural region in France

Charles Kergarvat is enjoying a rainy day in New York City.
He’s gearing up to head out with the Breizh Amerika Collective for tour, which will stop in New Mexico for two shows.
“We always enjoy traveling and bringing our music to new places,” he says during a recent phone interview. “It’s also a way for us to educate people about Brittany (France).”
Kergarvat says that the main reason for the collective is to bring together innovative musicians from Brittany and the United States to collaborate, create and produce original music and bring awareness to endangered traditions, while developing durable transatlantic links of cooperation and understanding.
“Brittany is different than the rest of France,” he says. “There’s a lot of traditions that we are keeping alive with the collective. Many of them are Celtic in origin and very different from France.”
Kergarvat says that over the last 100 years, the French haven’t been the best at protecting the cultural differences between the two.
He says this is a region that has mostly Celtic speakers.
“It’s really endangered and there’s a great cultural vitality in Brittany,” he says. “The albums are produced there and then we bring them to the states.”
In fact, the current tour for the collective consists of eight dates and New Mexico is one of the few to get shows.
Kergarvat says the songs that will be performed are old Celtic songs that never really have been recorded, but they are preserved since the collective recorded them.
“We can’t let the history and the songs fade away,” he says. “This is why it’s important for us to bring awareness to what the collective is doing.”
Breizh Amerika Collective
WHEN AND WHERE: 8 tonight, The Cooperage, 7220 Lomas NE; 8 p.m. Saturday, May 23, GiG, 1808 Second St., Suite H, Santa Fe
HOW MUCH: $17 at or 886-1251