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BERNARD BENOIT

Prog Folk • France


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Bernard Benoit biography
Bernard Benoit is a guitarist who hails from the same folk scene as ALAN STIVELL and DAN AR BRAZ and has been around almost as long. He also plays celtic harp. Since 1972 he has released over a dozen albums and continues to tour. He has also participated in the works and concerts of Breton singer and renowned Nationalist GLENMOR. He evokes comparisons to the aforementioned artists as well as MALICORNE and MIKE OLDFIELD, but his style remains singular and beautiful.

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BERNARD BENOIT discography


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BERNARD BENOIT top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.00 | 2 ratings
Guitare Celtique
1972
3.02 | 3 ratings
Lutunn Noz
1975
4.00 | 1 ratings
Rigena
1978
0.00 | 0 ratings
Prelude Englouti
1981
3.00 | 1 ratings
Barbaz Breiz
1995
0.00 | 0 ratings
Guitare et Bombarde (with Christophe Caron)
1996
0.00 | 0 ratings
Avel dro an Distro
2001
0.00 | 0 ratings
La Guitare et Les Oiseaux
2009
0.00 | 0 ratings
La "12 Cordes" selon Bernard Benoit
2012
0.00 | 0 ratings
Envol
2012

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BERNARD BENOIT Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Barbaz Breiz by BENOIT, BERNARD album cover Studio Album, 1995
3.00 | 1 ratings

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Barbaz Breiz
Bernard Benoit Prog Folk

Review by dsbenson

— First review of this album —
3 stars Barbaz Breiz is a compilation album. The songs appear to be taken mainly from Benoit's early studio albums. Those are more highly recommended, however, since they have a more consistent sound and feel. This album contains more of the Breton sound, with the small bagpipes playing behind the guitar. There's nothing Progressive Folk about the sound on most of the pieces chosen here, though it's quite lovely. The bagpipe sound reminds me a bit of the early Mike Oldfield use of the Uilleann pipes (Irish bagpipes), but beyond that it's very pretty folk.

For a better, more self consistent approach to Benoit's music, try the excellent Lutunn Noz, which really does have a progressive folk sound, with the pipes and wordless background singing reminiscent of early Mike Oldfield and Pink Floyd.

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 Lutunn Noz by BENOIT, BERNARD album cover Studio Album, 1975
3.02 | 3 ratings

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Lutunn Noz
Bernard Benoit Prog Folk

Review by apps79
Special Collaborator Neo Prog Team

2 stars Primarly a folk guitarist, Bernard Benoit came from Frehel in the Bretagne area and his early career finds him in the line-up of the Folk band Diaouled Ar Menez, at a time when he had already released a first solo effort entitled ''Guitare Celtique''.His experience with Diaouled Ar Menez lasted a couple of years, before pursuing a personal career and in 1975 he returned with a second album on Arion, ''Lutunn Noz''.Benoit plays the guitars and he is accompanied also by Didier De Calan, Tanguis Le Dore and Philippe Le Balp on folk instruments and bass (the last two coming from Diaouled Ar Menez) and Jenika Gaelle on female voices.

The music of Benoit hasn't changed from his early years and, while this album circulates as a Prog Folk release, it is 100% a Breton Folk effort with a very relaxing mood and a generally melancholic instrumental approach.There are lot of acoustic crescendos by the French guitarist with hardly any instrument supporting in a very minimalistic and pastoral enviroment and the style gets soon quite repetitive and boring.Of course there are some better moments with the lovely sound of bombarde, the dreamy bagpipes and the accordeon here and there in richer and more optimistic Celtic-influenced soundscapes, but the overall sound does not actually change any level of energy.Some sporadic female choirs make ''Lutunn Noz'' an even more ethereal listening and propably a great choice for background music.But the album suffers from a similar atmosphere all the way, while the lack of a wider instrumental palette makes it a bit of a sterile effort.

End of story.No Prog Folk here.''Lutunn Noz'' is a crystal-clear, calm and atmospheric, all instrumental Breton Folk work with some things to offer for fans of the style, but nothing more that would make it escape the limited circle of Breton Folk lovers.

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 Lutunn Noz by BENOIT, BERNARD album cover Studio Album, 1975
3.02 | 3 ratings

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Lutunn Noz
Bernard Benoit Prog Folk

Review by kenethlevine
Special Collaborator Prog-Folk Team

4 stars I have the impression that "Lutunn Noz" is the most highly regarded work of BERNARD BENOIT's career, based on its relatively early appearance, availability, and internet "hits" relative to his many other releases. While "Guitare Celtique" from several years earlier was a promising first cut at sculpting acoustic guitar as a lead instrument in traditional styled performances, this sophomore effort permits the less timid participation of bombarde and pipes which serve to ignite the arrangements. Not surprisingly, while Benoit's peerless picking hath its own charms the highlights here are the tunes in which accompanist Philippe Le Balp attains equal footing.

At times "Lutunn Tuz" seems content to be relegated to the background, especially on the first few cuts, but the lively "Fidandoue kernevad" changes all that with its vivacious accordion passages and leads into the miraculous "Jenovefa rustefan", with one of the most heartwarming melodies I have heard from Brittany. Benoit weaves some flamenco stylings before bombarde assumes the mantle, a pattern we see throughout the disk. The title cut is enhanced by Benoit's vocalizations, as is "Theme de la folle de Toujane" by those of Jenika Gaelle, whose highs, while more subdued, approximate those of a contemporaneous ANNIE HASLAM. "L'Heritiere de keroulaz" begins with delicate plucking by BENOIT, sounding as much like harp as guitar, carrying well into the latter half before the bombarde falls in and hoists the already stately tune to its climax. The album closer possesses all the delicacy of ALAN STIVELL's early "Renaissance of the Celtic Harp" and matches it for atmospherics as well.

This is a gentle, dignified and timeless album that can be appreciated on multiple levels, but don't expect it to club you over the head and drag you to its lair. It's more of a sultrily wholesome companion for a cherished quiet Friday night.

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 Guitare Celtique by BENOIT, BERNARD album cover Studio Album, 1972
3.00 | 2 ratings

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Guitare Celtique
Bernard Benoit Prog Folk

Review by kenethlevine
Special Collaborator Prog-Folk Team

3 stars The word "boom" does not adequately describe the early 1970s folk scene in Brittany, France. Like so many Celtic and minority cultures oppressed and degraded within the power structure of the great empires, they finally had their day. ALAN STIVELL's aptly named "Renaissance de la Harpe Celtique" revived interest in the instrument almost by itself, and BERNARD BENOIT's debut reveals the significance of acoustic guitar in the movement.

As with Stivell, Benoit does not content himself with simply regurgitating tried and true standbys. Instead, this instrumental album is part sheer picking prowess and improvisation, and part subdued traditionally based melodies. This is almost as far from the textbook progressive sound of the era as can be, but equally as far from the bouncy early works of FAIRPORT and STEELEYE. The attitude is as progressive as can be, though, and could have provided a template for a new form of prog and salvaged new age music for some level of scholarly consideration had it taken off. But rarely is any outcome just in the folk world, be it for subject or artist!

The short list of accompanying instruments does not include percussion, and a lack of available credits confounds my ability to distinguish guitar from what might be harp at times. This is particularly so in "Avel Dro"'s opening bars, before the mainline tune asserts itself on guitar then whistle. My other favourites include "Plin ar Menez", with more plucking and flutes around a spry traditional piece, and especially the genre busting fusion of "An Dro Pour Trois Guitares", which is part sunny South America and part blustery Brittany. The three guitars for which it is named, and the light symphonics (possibly mellotron) all blend mystically.

While Benoit's technique can easily be appreciated, I cannot say it is always particularly enjoyable or memorable, and "Glao War An Doen" and "Ressac" do not capture the heart. Still, as an opening salve to a 40+ year career as of this writing, "Guitare Celtique" motivates me to hear more from this undeservedly obscure fellow.

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