An Tarv

Tristan Guillaume

“An Tarv” is a suite written in 2020 loosely inspired from elements of traditional Breton and Vietnamese folklore and art.

This album was recorded in 2022 in Hey Ko! studios in Locmiquelic. These studios also happen to be in the backyard of trumpeter Youn Kamm (N’diaz, TRE(i)ZH, Ibrahim Maalouf, Bagad du bout du monde) , who took on the role of recording engineer for this session.

The 5 piece formation you can hear on this album was created in late 2020 when Susanne Abbuehl (new head of the Jazz Department in the Royal Conservatoire of The Hague at the time) asked if I wanted to participate in the Leiden Jazz and Grachtenfestival jazz competitions. I happily accepted and she asked if I had a band and music ready. I said yes and Susanne told me that we could record on Thursday as the final date for entries was on Friday. You see the thing was that it was Tuesday and although I did compose music, I did not have a band, nor did I have any tunes finished, so I had to get it all together for Thursday. I called a band based on friends and people I thought would get along together. Lucky me, my friends also happen to be incredible musicians!

For the next 2 years we got to play this music around the Netherlands, France and Belgium and became even greater friends. This allowed us to become so familiar with the music and ourselves that it strengthened the music and our interplay. Some of the members of the band were going to be moving away, so we recorded this before we parted ways to be able to share this with others.

An Tarv is a suite that has 5 parts to it:

1 – Barzhoneg
Poem, in Breton. The first line of this song is based off of a version of a traditional song from the center of Bretagne called “L’Amant tué par les gars de la ville”. It is inspired by the traditional breton song form called “gwerz”.

2 – Ys
Ys is the name of a city in Breton folklore. The city is said to have been in the sea, off the coast of Douarnenez, and because of a story involving greed and indulgence, the city falls to the bottom of the ocean, killing all the innocent civilians. The melody is inspired from E ti Eliz Iza, a traditional “gwerz” (choral piece) from west Bretagne.

3 – Kurun/An Tarv
An Tarv means “Bull” in Breton. The song is inspired from an event that happens at a yearly Vietnamese traditional ceremony in Do Son; Water buffalo fighting. In this cruel sport, the buffalos are pushed to extremes, fighting until one of them dies from the other, or from exhaustion. “Kurun” (thunder in Breton) is an improvised drum piece based on the traditional Vietnamese drumming that you can hear at festivities.

4 – Dialga
Dialga is the song of hope in this story. It is an epic story about pushing forward and trying your best.

5 – Say it again
It seems to me that this song is about feeling responsible and helpless for big issues, whether it be an environmental, health, or social crisis. It is about saying the same thing over and over again so loud that it’s impossible for the people that need to hear it not to hear it… But will they listen?

I sincerely hope you enjoy!


José Cervera - Alto Saxophone Pietro Mirabassi - Tenor Saxophone Dani Font - Guitar Snorri Skulason - Double bass Tristan Guillaume - Drums, compositions Recorded June 2022 at Hey KO! Studios, Locmiquelic Mixed by Younn Kam Mastered by Vincent Nyer