Kristen Nogues ‎– Marc'h Gouez (Nevenoe – NOE 30008 - France - 1976)


Noguès learned the Breton language as a child, at the same time as the Celtic harp. At the beginning of the 1970s, she discovered the Breton song tradition (soniou and gwerziou) through Yann Poëns and became involved in Névénoé, a cooperative of traditional expression founded by Gérard Delahaye and Patrick Ewen. It was under this label that her first album Marc’h Gouez, was released in 1976.

With a dozen friends playing guitar, piano, violins, flutes…, Noguès composed not Breton music, but music from Brittany: a type of shared folklore in which imagination is married to the reality of the moment, that of social demands and companionship. At the very beginning of the record, we can hear her drawing up a chair, before the plucked notes of the harp become a cascade: “Enez Rouz”, is an invitation to listen up close.

We are reminded here of the Meredith Monk of “Greensleeves”, there of the early albums of Brigitte Fontaine / Areski, elsewhere of Emmanuelle Parrenin, Pascal Comelade... Noguès rhyming pattern is ever changing: airy (“Hunvre”), cosmopolitain (“Pinvidik Eo Va C'hemener”), enigmatic (“Ar Bugel Koar”), profound (“Ar Gemenerez”) or enchanting (“Hirness An Devezhiou”). And then there is the track from which the album takes its’ name: Marc’h Gouez which, between nursery rhyme and chamber music, weaves a fabulous web in which the auditor is obliged to be caught. “Brittany equals poetry”: so said André… Breton; and Kristen Noguès proves it to be true.

Original copy on Nevenoe.

Record is VG++ / Sleeve is VG+