Songs of oral tradition in the Breton language
in books, reviews and manuscripts

Welcome to the world of popular songs of the oral tradition in the Breton language. This collection was made up of transcriptions which were often made by the collectors themselves for books, magazines or manuscript collections. The collection corresponds to what is generally known as ‘oral literature’, ‘traditional songs’, ‘Breton songs’, or ‘folklore’.

Bienvenue
Extract - Théophile Salaün (1894) – Lannion Town Hall

It is sometimes difficult to place the boundary between the domain of the "traditional" domain, that is to say, songs transmitted orally with all the minor or important modifications that this can bring to the original text, and what remains of the "literary" domain, that is to say, a personal work, fixed by writing to respect the will of its author.
The "literary" domain refers to the other part of this site: printed broadsheets. This section on "oral tradition" refers to songs that have been collected from traditional ‘source’ singers.

Created by volunteers, without subsidy, with free access for all, this site tries to facilitate the users’ research. Please bear in mind that it does not pretend to be exhaustive and must be considered perpetually as ‘work in progress’. Please do not hesitate to contact us if you would like to contribute, you will be more than welcome!
In case of publication of information from the site, please mention the site "kan.bzh" as the source.

Do not hesitate to contact us for any additional research, remark, observation of error or opportunities of sources not mentioned here.

Enjoy your visit!

The site in numbers

This site brings together Breton songs from the oral tradition in 1688 song-types. These songs resulted in 11951 occurrences published or included in manuscripts. These instances correspond to 6150 different versions. For the 1982 versions, the singer and the place of collection are unknown. For the others, they were collected from 1146 different singers, in 352 communes by 300 collectors.
It is possible to consult 2051 PDF files on line through the site.
For about fifty songs, a sound illustration is available. These examples were taken from the CDs of the Bro Dreger collection published by the Kreizenn Sevenadurel Lannuon.
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