Castle of Stone and Sea: The Life, Songs, and Stories of a 19th-Century Breton Woman

In partnership with the Scottish Storytelling Centre

Photo credit Véronique Le GoffLinklater Rooms – Free Admission

One of Brittany’s most acclaimed voices, Marthe Vassallo, shares emotions and awe as she retraces, via a treasure trove of documents, the life, song, and personality of an ‘obscure’ 19th-century woman, Maryvonne Le Flem. A story of poverty, pride, and mysterious islands, celebrating the power of speech and song.

Maryvonne would be a forgotten name in a registry, were it not for her encounter with Breton writer and folklorist, Anatole Le Braz, and musician Maurice Duhamel: the former collected pages and pages of her traditional songs and her stories, and gradually became a true friend of hers; the latter published over 60 of her tunes in his vast collection of traditional Breton music. It took Marthe Vassallo's curiosity, one century later, to find that all this corpus, as well as a portrait she had found, depicted the same person – and a fiercely interesting person at that.

Marthe Vassallo is hailed as one of the greatest voices in today's Breton music. A versatile artist, whose interests range from opera to many kinds of stage performance, she remains true to Breton traditional singing, collaborating with singers and musicians such as Gilles Le Bigot and Jean-Michel Veillon, the Bagad Kemper, Annie Ebrel, Nolùen Le Buhé, Philippe Ollivier and dance music band Loened Fall. In the past few years she has also become more visible as a writer. Her book+ CD Les Chants du Livre Bleu was distinguished in 2016 by the prestigious Académie Charles Cros.