Glaou (Breton for ‘the glow of a coal fire’) is a band with a lively repertoire of Breton dances with a strong vocal element.
Glaou brings together Janick Penvern (fiddle, mandolin, vocals) from the St Malo sea-song tradition and professional music teacher Marc Jacquier (guitar) with established fest noz duo Mike James (melodeon, vocals) – originally from Wales, but a Breton resident for over 40 years – and Yves Leblanc (clarinet, vocals).
Yves and Mike have played as a duo for over 25 years, with three highly-acclaimed CDs of Breton dance music from Breizh Uhel (Haute Bretagne or Higher Brittany) with a strong vocal element in Gallo. The border between Breizh Uhel to the east and Breizh Isel (Lower Brittany) to the west is very indistinctly defined. In Gallo, the eastern area is known as Haùtt-Bertaèyn.
Mike has also performed on solo albums by Yves. In addition to being greatly in demand in Brittany, they have toured Russia and eastern Europe. The pair also play as part of a four-piece band called Jacal.
Here are Yves and Mike playing for a dance which has become well-known here in the Island, and which they call An Dro Retourne –
You can also hear some extracts of Yves and Mike’s playing here –
Mike has played with a number of other Breton artists, and also in a Welsh trio called Twm Twp, bringing the twmpath to Brittany. More recently he has been playing in a duo with his double-bass playing son Dylan, who visited Yn Chruinnaght as a member of Breton band An Tri Dipop.