The music of Brittany was introduced to much of the world through the playing of Kornog. During the six years that they were initially together (1981 to 1987), the group toured nearly non-stop and released four memorable albums. More than a decade since they went their separate ways, the members of Kornog have reunited. Despite the lengthy sabbatical, the group's mixture of Scottish ballads and original instrumentals sound as exciting as ever.
Kornog represented the combined vision of four highly-talented musicians. The sole non-Breton member, Jamie McMenemy (vocals, bouzouki, mandolin, cittern) had played with several traditional folk bands while a student at Glasgow school of Art. Turning professional in 1976, he toured and recorded with the Battlefield Band until moving to Brittany in 1979. Two years later, he recorded a solo album, The Road to Kerrigouarch, and helped to from Kornog. Although he remained outside of music during the first six years following Kornog's breakup, he began to resurface in 1993. His many projects since include performances with Belgium-based Celtic band, Orion, a duo with Kornog fiddler Christian Lemaitre, and a trio, Taxi Mauve, that accompanied vocalist Gerard Delahaye.
Lamaitre began playing fiddle in his birthplace of Paris before moving to Brittany, his ancestral home. During the years that he first played with Kornog, he balanced his involvement with the band with performances with a Breton dance group, Pennou Skoulm and a string ensemble, Archetype. Following Kornog's breakup, Lemaitre remained active, performing with an ensemble of traditional music teachers, Tantad, and a fez-noz group, Storvan. In 1992, 1995 and 1999, he toured with fiddlers Kevin Burke and Johnny Cunningham as Celtic Fiddle festival. Lemaitre resumed his collaboration with McMenemy in a duo in 1999. In addition to rejoining Kornog, he continues to work with Celtic vocalist Gilles Servat.
Wooden flute and bombarde player Jean-Michel Veillon was one of the first musicians to use the wooden flute to play Celtic music. Playing the bombarde from the agwe fourteen, he taught himelf to play the wooden flute in 1977. Prior to becoming a founding member of Kornog, Veillon recorded two albums of Breton dance music with the band, Galorn. He continued to play Breton dance music, while touring and recording with Kornog, forming a band, Pennou Skoulm in 1985. After the breakup of Kornog, he explored non-traditional music with three bands -- Den, Barbaz and the Alain Genty Group. Since 1993, Veillon has performed in a duo that he shares with Breton guitarist Yvon Riou. Veillon has also continued to record as a soloist. His 1993 album, 'E Koat Nizon, was the first album devoted to Breton music played on the wooden transverse flute. A similar album, Er Pasker, followed in 1999.
The newest member of Kornog, Nicolas Quemener (guitar, flutes, vocals) has replaced original member Soig Siberil in the revived band. A master open-tuning guitarist, Quemener grew up in Angers, France and studied percussion in the National School of Music. Emigrating to Ireland in 1990, he joined Arcady, remaining with the group until 1994 when he joined the Belgian band, Orion. Relocating to Brittany in 1993, he co-founded the traditional Breton dance band, Skeduz. In 1997 and 1998, Quemener toured with Dan Ar Braz' fifty-piece group, Heritage Des Celtes. In addition to working with Kornog, he continues to play in a duo that he shares with uillean piper Ronan Le Bars, and, joined by Lemaitre, in a trio that backs Celtic vocalist Gilles Servat. ~ Craig Harris
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