What do you think of the choice of the Rennes collective Alvan & Ahez to represent France at Eurovision?
It’s superb and brilliant, even if this young music is not necessarily what I listen to. Alvan & Ahez carry a fresh and new idea of Brittany.
What do you say to those who don’t agree that France should be represented by a group that sings in Breton?
I know very well that it will always be like this. It only takes a trifle for contempt for our culture to manifest itself again. In 1996, the year we went to Eurovision, they yelled at each other in the National Assembly with sentences like: “What does Breton have to do with France? “. There will always be an ambiguity between this country and Brittany.
“I suffered a real humiliation, but I regret nothing”.
What memory do you keep of your visit to Eurovision in 1996?
It was extraordinary to represent a country and this republic which had forbidden to speak the Breton language. I believed and I dreamed that we could have a Europe of the regions. I was, in fact, fed up with the Europe of nations which only leads us to war, whereas it is from the regions that we can rebuild. The Norwegian press had written that our song was the most beautiful. The bookmakers had put us third and we finished at the end (19th out of 23). I suffered a real humiliation but I do not regret anything.? Ironically, we had been sanctioned because we represented a country that had just carried out nuclear tests.
Why are you talking about humiliation?
I have, indeed, received letters of insults and the piece was sabotaged on radios. I also got a kick out of it because I don’t have the face of a young first. I was just a bald guy going to Eurovision. I was probably wrong to accept this proposal, in 1996, to hear, the next day, on France Inter: “How do you want us to win Eurovision with a bald man who has the charisma of a manager of Félix Potin? “. Fortunately, I also received many beautiful letters from people here and elsewhere.
According to Pierre Rondeau, one of the chroniclers of Estelle Denis, a Corsican, an Alsatian or even an Occitan will not understand the text in Breton. He also believes that the choice of Alvan & Ahez will not serve France.
I hallucinate that we are still there and that this contempt is within reach of the mouth. These people are unbearable.
“I wish Alvan and Ahez to win people’s hearts, which is the greatest victory on this earth.”
Not all countries sing in their own language. The proof: in 1974, Abba won Eurovision with “Waterloo”, a title interpreted in English while the group is Swedish.
All the languages of the world are beautiful, good and necessary to communicate and especially now. The more languages there are, the more open we are. What I want above all is for the French Republic to apologize for having forbidden Breton to Bretons.
Do you think Alvan & Ahez have a chance of winning Eurovision?
I don’t know but I wish them the best in the world. Above all, I would like it to be a great experience for them and maybe they will win. I especially hope that it goes well for them because they deserve attention. Brittany is not just the Ile aux Moines and a region where the rich come to buy houses. There is also a language.
I wish Alvan Ahez to win people’s hearts, which is the greatest victory on this earth. Make way for them and all my encouragement to those who take over and who will follow the path of those who have fought so hard before so that this Brittany finally regains its dignity. But, as Eurovision remains a geopolitical radio ratchet, Ukraine is likely to win.
* At Eurovision, in 1996, in Oslo (Norway), the Quimpérois performed “Diwanit Bugale”, a song in Breton for children from Diwan schools.
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