Alan Stivell

Decades: 1970s 1980s 1990s 2000s


Alan Cochevelou, 6 January 1944, Gourin, Brittany, France. The pioneer of modern Breton music, Cochevelou learned the piano before his father remade the ancient Breton Celtic harp for his young son to play. In addition to studying traditional Breton music on the wire-strung Celtic harp, Cochevelou explored the music of Ireland, Scotland, Wales and the west country of England on tin whistle, bagpipes and Irish flute. He recorded some obscure sides for the Mouez Breiz label in the late 50s using his birth name, and also accompanied the chanteuse Andree Le Gouil. During the mid-60s he began singing for the first time and adopted the professional surname of Stivell, the Breton translation meaning fountain, spring or source. In 1967, he formed a group comprising himself on harp, bagpipes, Irish flute and Dan Ar Bras on electric and acoustic guitar, as well as adding percussion and bass. Gabriel Yacoub, who went on to form Malicorne, also featured in this pioneering...

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by Alan Stivell