How It’s New York: This Breton blow-out is put on by BZH- NY,  a group run by Charles Kergaravat to promote Breton culture.
How It’s Irish: It’s Celtic, and if you spend time in the West of Ireland you’re almost certain to meet some  French-speaking players. Brittany is one of the seven Celtic nations, and you can really hear it in the music.  The Festival Interceltique de Lorient: August (Lorient, Morbihan) is supposed to be one of the best around! One of these summers I’ll get there!

Last year we did an interview with Charles as he geared up for Fest Noz for the podcast; download and listen to it here!

Ever been to a Chieftains concert? That snake dance they always do at the end is Breton, and the often play with Breton musicians. That should give you an idea of the fun to be had! The dances are super social and easy to learn. The festival goes back to Medieval times.

It’s named for Saint Yves (Saint Ivo of Kermartin), described by Wiki as a 13th century priest who devoted his life to the poor.

Once a year, believers go on a “Pardon“, the saint’s feast day of the parish. It often begins with a procession followed by a mass in honour of the saint. 

Somehow this has morphed into a Breton ceili. At Connoly’s Times Square, it  starts at 7 and goes until 2!

ST YVES 2012 – La Fête de la Bretagne

Sat. 5/19, FEST NOZ

At St Yves at Connolly’s Times Square
121 W 45th street from 7pm- 2am.
$15 cover, $10 for BZH NY members
The annual St Yves fest noz is one of the heights of Breton culture in the Big Apple. 
This year’s edition will feature the musical talents of 44 BZH Street. Sylvain Girault, Guillaume Blain, Erwan Hamon, Francois Badeau, Francois Robin, and Frederic Bouley will transmit the energy and culture of the Breton terroir of Loire Atlantique, Brittany.
. You can hear some of their music at this site:
BZH New York is a not-for-profit organization composed of Bretons and friends of Brittany dedicated to promoting
the region of Brittany, France.
Brittany, former independent kingdom and duchy,
is a province of France since 1532.
Brittany is one of the six Celtic Nations.

Gwen Orel
About the Author

The only New York journalist who writes for both the Forward and Irish Music Magazine.