Les Campagnards is a French music and dance group comprising Alan Keith, Gary Breitbard, Peter Tommerup and Jena Rauti.
The melodies and songs presented by the group have been gathered from both traditional and popular sources in France. The tunes played, include a mixture of popular ballroom dance types - waltzes, polkas, schottishes and mazurkas, along with regional dances - bourrées, rondos, bransles and fandangos. The songs, including many well-known and popular ones from both Paris and the provinces, are about the usual subjects of love, rejection, war, drinking and dancing, and can be in English as well as the French language.
The instruments used, are a mixture of traditional French - cornemuses (French bagpipes - see Alan's Instrument Collection - Bagpipes) and vielle à roue (hurdy-gurdy), and popular ones - diatonic (button) and chromatic (piano) accordions and dulcimers (hammered and lap).In addition to the songs and instrumental melodies presented, distictive dances of various regions are often demonstrated during the group' performances; indeed, French dance instruction can be provided for your event when requested.
Alan Keith has been playing music since grade school and professionally since high school. With over 35 years of folk and traditional music experience, he has collected, built and learned to play in excess of 30 instruments. Although his main instrumentation consists of various bagpipes and accordions, Alan plays a number of other wind and percussion instruments as well. Alan has either lead or been a member of over twenty different folk ensembles. He is presently a member of four groups and performs numerous solo engagements as well. Alan is featured on Le Soleil's recordings Le Soleil and Bal Folk en Californie, on French Creek's Fait en Californie, and on Tour de France's Music of the French Provinces. (See Recordings For Sale for offerings and further information.)
Gary Breitbard started music at an early age and excells in the playing of many folk instruments which includes piano and diatonic accordions, fiddle, guitar, banjo, mandolin, hurdy-gurdy and piano-forte - instruments which he also teaches. He also sings and is a dance teacher and caller. His folk music playing styles include Celtic, French, Italian, German, E. European, Balkan, French-Canadian and Old-Timey American. Gary can be heard playing on the albums Tour de France - Music of the French Provinces and Slainte.
Jena Rauti sings, dances and plays the accordion and percussion instruments. She is also a dance teacher and a member the of duo, Side By Side along with Gary Breitbard.
Peter Tommerup plays hammered and mountain (lap) dulcimers. Along with teaching, he's done field collecting from traditional dulcimer players in Appalachia, studied with creative California interpreters of the instrument in the 1970's, and researched dulcimer traditions while completing a Ph.D. in Folklore and Mythology at UCLA. As well as a regular member of Les Campagnards, Peter regularly performs with two other bands: Peak Nouveau and Slainte (with which he is featured on a recording of the same title). Peter co-founded Redwood Dulcimer Day in 2001 and has also taught dulcimer at colleges, adult ed programs, the Community School of Music in Mountain View, and at Gryphon Stringed Instruments in Palo Alto.
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