[ lyrics, translation & facts for the 7th song from our album >here< ]
We’ve played this song for many years, in fest-noz (breton balrooms). The dance itself is called kas a-barh, and it has origins in the south of Brittany (in the Vannes area). The rhythm is similar to many traditional dances from various places in Europe and in the Balkans.
Traditionally in that area of Brittany, the assembly will repeat the lyrics after the leader while dancing. Our way to add extra voices however is more influenced by the time we recorded it, in Shiroka Laka, a small mountain village from the Bulgarian Rodopi Mountains. During our breaks we used to watch Folk TV. The result then of course doesn’t sound Bulgarian at all, maybe more Albanian?
Because of these voices, we named the song “mouezhioù” which means “voices”. Indeed, most of Breton songs, unlike Irish ones, don’t have any official title, we tend to refer to them by the beginning of the first verse, this one being referred to as “pa garche ma mamm”
Music & Lyrics: traditional
Instruments : guitar, darbuka
Rythme : kas a-barh dance.
Pa garche ma mamm ha ma zad / Ma’m behe bet ur chansig vat
Ma’m behe bet ur chansig vat / Ma’m behe mab un avokat
Ma’m behe mab un avokat / Breman m’eus bet un astralhuiad
Breman m’eus bet un astralhuiad / Na oar na devoam nag arad
Na oar na devoam nag arad / Med konduin e c’har a c’huitellad
Med konduin e c’har a c’huitellad / Monet d’en davarn mintin mat
Ha leun an ti a vugale / Pevar ar bank pemb e gwele
Pevar ar bank pemb e gwele / C’hoaz a vo c’hoaz ma vez danvez
C’hoaz a vo c’hoaz ma vez danvez / Ya ma bez bolontez Doue
Ya ma bez bolontez Doue / Bolontez an dud gwech a vez
If my mother and father had wanted to / I would have been more chanceful
I would have been more chanceful / I had married a lawyer
I had married a lawyer / Now I’m with a drunkard
Now I’m with a drunkard / He doesn’t know how to plow a field
He doesn’t know how to plow a field / But he drives his wagon and whistles
But he drives his wagon and whistles / And goes to the pub early in the morning
And the house is full of kids / Four on the bench and five more on the bed
Four on the bench and five more on the bed / And there will be more if there is willingness
And there will be more if there is willingness / Or if it’s God’s will
Or if it’s God’s will / And also people’s will sometimes
Notes: As usual, it’s a personal translation, with no attempt to translate the poetic style, it might not be fully accurate, the purpose is more to give an idea about what it is.