Winds of Song in France, Italy and Brittany
Shira Kammen



Bright Angel Records

1 - Jean BLANCHARD: La Crabe Noire   [2:02]
2 - Gherardello da FIRENZE: I vo bene   [4:45]
3 - Quand j'etais jeune   [2:42]
4 - Shira KAMMEN: Au Renouvel   [3:44]
5 - Cominciamento di Gioia (estampie)   [6:12]
6 - BORLET: He tres doulz rossignol / Breton Gavottes   [4:07]
7 - Francesco LANDINI: Cosi pensoso (caccia)   [2:36]
8 - Estampie Cosi pensoso   [4:51]
9 - Plinn / Wine of Gaul / An Dro   [4:12]
10 - Aelis / Crawford YOUNG: Custos desertorum   [6:42]
11 - Robertus de ANGLIA: O Fallaze e Ria Fortuna   [2:12]
12 - Youenn Le BIHAN, Gilles le BIGOT: Hanter Dros   [3:17]
13 - Cis chans veult boire (motet) [Quant je le voi]   [1:01]
14 - Ray PRICE, Shira KAMMEN: Kas-a-barn - Joy after Sorrow   [5:10]
15 - Kost ar'Choat   [2:54]

Shira Kammen • vielle (#1, 2, 4, 5, 6, 8, 9, 10, 12, 14), fiddle (#3, 9, 15), rebec (#6), voice (#3, 7, 11, 13)
Dave Bartley • cittern (#1, 2, 12, 15)
Crawford Young • medieval lute (#4, 8, 10)
Peter Maund • tar (#2, 6, 9), dumbek (#5), percussion (#14)
Kit Higginson • recorder (#5)
Debra Nagy • douçaine (#3, 9), voice (#11)
Jim Oakden • guitar (#3, 6, 9, 15)
Aaron Sheehan • voice (#7, 11, 13)
Richard Van Hessel • sackbut (#6, 7, 13), voice (#13)
Shay Black • voice (#9, 13)
Ray Price • English border pipes (#14)
Derek Bianchi • bass (#15), drums (#15)


The Mistral is possibly the best known local wind in Europe. This cool sea wind blows across northern Italy and southern France. It is said to be the most pleasant amongst the coastal winds, blowing from the west or the north west, generally accompanied by clear skies and fine weather. However, Mistrals are considered the most dangerous of all Mediterranean winds due to their high speeds and persistence, are likely to cause rough and high seas, and if they persist in a lengthy and dramatic manner, are said to drive people mad.

La Crabe Noire
This cheeky, crooked tune was composed by Jean Blanchard of the central French pipe ensemble La Grande Bande des Cornemuses (recorded for Ethnic [France]).

I vo bene
Composed by the 14th-century Italian Gherardello da Firenze, this piece is in the ballata form (AbbaA), one of the important formes fixes of the middle ages.

Quand j'etais jeune
I learned this well-known Breton song in French from my friend and colleague John Fleagle. It comes from the region of Morbihan in Brittany and is a Hanter Dro dance song.

Au Renouvel
Based on the trouvére song of the some name, this instrumental piece was derived from the original medieval melody.

Cominciamento di Gioia (estampie)
The estampie is the prevailing musical form for instruments from the Middle Ages. We are fortunate to have those few estampies left to us (less than 30), several of which are included in the MS. 29987. This important and fascinating codex, housed in the British Museum in London, contains both vocal and instrumental compositions from the fourteenth century, preserving the magnificent art of the minstrels of the central and northern Italian courts.

He tres doulz rossignol / Breton Gavottes
The ars subtilior of late l4th-century France was a time of musical complexity in notation, and a fascination with prolation and proportion. He tres doulz rossignol, by the ars subtilior composer Borlet, is based on a folk tune in the lowest voice, with melodies above in various time signatures. This four-voice chanson is followed by a set of Breton Gavottes, learned from the spectacular Irish fiddler Kevin Burke.

Cosi pensoso (caccia)
The word caccia means hunt or chase, and the form of this composition by Francesco Landini (c.1325-1397) is a musical chase, where the second voice imitates the top voice, both over a slower-moving lower line. This style of writing is typical of this 14th-century Italian genre.

Estampie Cosi pensoso
In the style of the 29987 estampies, this dance tune is based on the Landini caccia of the same name.

Plinn / Wine of Gaul / An Dro
This invocation of wine, fire and sword, oak and earth recalls a time of elemental ritual, and also calls on the image of the old Celtic sword-dance in honor of the Sun. The song is sandwiched between two different kinds of traditional Breton dance tunes.

Aelis / Custos desertorum
Crawford Young arranged this instrumental lai based on the lovely melodies of the 13th-century Lai d'Aelis, and composed his own piece in the mixolydian mode: Custos desertorum (guardian of the desert).

O Fallaze e Ria Fortuna
Robertus de Anglia (fl. 1450) composed this three-part piece with a text alluding to the Lady Fortune, who turns the wheel at her will, directing the fates of men and women. Sometimes you're the windshield, sometimes you're the bug...

Hanter Dros
These two Breton dance tunes were composed by two musicians of the wonderful Breton band Skolvan. Tadin Tinakéta is the first melody, composed by Youenn Le Bihan, and the second tune is by Gilles le Bigot. Many Thanks to Gilles le Bigot and Skolvan for permission to include these pieces here!

Cis chans veult boire (motet) [Quant je le voi]
From the manuscript Roman du Fauvel, this triple texted anonymous motet encourages both song and wine.

Kas-a-barn: Joy after Sorrow
These tunes were composed for the Breton dance Kas-a-barh – the first was written by piper Ray Price and Shira Kammen on a sunny May day some years back, and the second one is by Ray.

Kost ar'Choat
Another Breton dance tune, with the flavor inspired by Derek Bianchi.



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