Vannes

Album Songs and Lyrics

7 Hills


3 Comments

[ lyrics, translation & facts for the last song from our album >here< ]

This song is a really really famous one, all over Brittany although it is originally from the Vannes area (>google map<). The dance itself is quite simple. The song is usually called by the 1st sentence of the lyrics, du-hont ar ar manez over the mountain/hills. Indeed, the Breton word for mountain may be used for hill as well, they aren’t any huge high mountains, highest point is 380 meters (yes !) at the Mont Saint Michel de Brasparts.

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Yann transformed the initial dance rhythm by adding a 7th beat. To be more technical it was a 6/4 and it was turned into 7/4.

Music & Lyrics: traditional

Instruments : acoustic & electric guitar, acoustic & electric saz

Rythme : hanter-dro dance with an extra beat

In case you had miss it, here is the video from that song that you may listen to while reading further. In case you hadn’t? Well take a chance to enjoy it once more!!!

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The Vannes area has a particular Breton dialect, for linguistics lovers, the stress on the words and sentences tend to be on the last syllable, a bit like in French but unlike the other dialects from Brittany – and for non linguistics lovers, well, it does have a huge impact on the beat and the rhythm of the songs. Some words are also spelt

Du-hont, du-hont, àr ar manez ez eus ur verjelenn
Berjelenn e c’houarn he deñved a sonas ur sonenn.

On the top of the hills there’s a shepherdess
While she’s taking care of her herd, she’s singing a song

Mabig ar roue he selaoue hag he selaoue mat
Na dre ar fenestr uhellañ ‘oe e palez e dad

The son of the king listen to her, and he listens well
From the highest window of his dad’s castle

Sonet, sonet, berjelennig, kar me ‘gav brav ho son
O na raktal pan he c’hlevan e rejoui ma c’halon

Sing, sing young shepherdess, since I like your song ,
And when I hear it my heart is full of joy

Nompas, nompas, denig yaouank, me ne ganin ket ken
Kar me ‘meus ur breur en arme hag a ra din anken

Oh no, young man, I won’t sing any longer
Since I have a brother gone to the army, which makes me sad

Ouian ket mard eo beuzet er mor, pe lazhet en arme
Kaset em eus un evnig rouz da c’houiet e zoare

I don’t know whether he drowned in the see or if he died at the army
I’ve sent a little red bird to hear about him

Mar da ma breur ha dont en-dro me ‘vo-me begulez
Mar da ma breur ha chom en dour me ‘vo-me minourez.

If my brother is to come back I’ll have children
If my brother drowns in the waters I’ll be orphan

This is as usual a personal translation, with emphasis on the meaning than on the exact-correct-official translation

§ Simone

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Album Songs and Lyrics

Mouezhioù


[ 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?

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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”

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Music & Lyrics: traditional

Instruments : guitar, darbuka

Rythme : kas a-barh dance.

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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

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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

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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.

Astrakan world music album on band camp