Alan Stivell

Alan Stivell

Real Name:
Alan Cochevelou
Getting famous for popularizing the Celtic harp, it would be simplistic to make him just a harpist. This multi-instrumentalist of Breton descent was born January 6, 1944 in Riom, Auvergne, France.

While growing up in Paris, his father Jord Cochevelou dreams on reintroducing the Celtic harp (Telenn in Breton) in its cradle: Brittany. But it has to be reinvented as the instrument is long time lost, nobody plays it anymore. also he doesn't have a clue on how to make it. During the 2nd World War, Jord met with a harp teacher named J-M Hamonic who gave him some ideas on how to transpose drawings into a concrete instrument. 1942 saw the making of the first preliminary tests, but it was only a decade later that a true harp could be created. Alan, then an early teen attracted with science-fiction novels, mights and magic starts to play with this new instrument built by his father, getting introduced to harp by his teacher Denise Mégevand. He starts to play in Paris and Brittany. Age 9 on the 28th of November 1953, he plays at the Maison de Bretagne in Paris on his father's first protype. In 1954, he integrates the Scout Movement, as well as the Bagad Bleimor as a bombarde player. In 1955, he gets to perform as the opening act of Line Renaud at L'Olympia. He'll then seriously start on learning the Breton language, including mythology and history in order to reconnect with his roots. In 1959, he'll put on record the first ever Celtic harp song on label Mouëz-Breiz, followed with the infamous Telenn Geltiek (Harpe Celtique) (then still under his birth name; Alan Cochevelou). In 1961, he'll become "penn-soner" (lead) of the Bagad Bleimor. Together with his friend Youenn Sicard, he'll win several bombarde and biniou (Breton bagpipe) championships in Gourin, years 1966 1968 and 1969. Those years are constitutive of the the classical path followed by Stivell, but this modernist is already willing to find a new sound and will finally turn towards Rock music.

Thrilled with English Pop music and the US Folk wave, he gets to play with a brand new Celtic harp with metal strings (called bardic harp), again developed by his father. From 1966 onwards, he starts playing in Youth Clubs and various festival, such as the "Hootenannies" (some kind of jams sessions), organized by Lionel Rocheman in the American Centre of Paris where he sings for the first time. The years 1966 1967 are decisive for his following career. He gets to air on France-Inter (one of France's main radio back then and today still), and soon sings on with Philips. He'll then play several times at José Arthur's Pop-Club, and during this era, he'll change his scene name to Alan Stivell "a Breton name standing for origin", as he says.

His first LP Reflets is released in 1970, Alan already lauds cultural diversity and speaks of Ethno-Modern Music, cites East Of Eden (2) and Donovan as references for Celtic Pop Music, he's the first to talk about Breton Folk-Song. He sells 10000 copies of his LP before releasing Renaissance De La Harpe Celtique the following year, getting the Grand Prix of Académie Charles-Cros. In the following months, he becomes more and more oriented towards electric music and on the historical day of the 28th of February 1972, he performs at L'Olympia together with Dan Ar Braz, Michel Santangeli, Gabriel Yacoub, René Werneer... Meanwhile, the concert is retransmitted live on French radio Europe 1, about 1.4 million copies of À L'Olympia were sold!

As of 2014, Stivell have released more than 25 LPs and his music is still alive, it has transposed into what is today known as World Music. He played with various artists such as Kate Bush, The Pogues, Doudou N'Diaye Rose...
Regarding his political views on Brittany, Stivell doesn't militate for its independence but for autonomy (it could be directly linked to Europe).

Married to Marie-Jo in 1973 (the song M.J. on Terre Des Vivants - Bed An Dud Vew is dedicated to his wife), they got 2 sons together, Ewan (born in 1976) and Gwenvael (born in 1979). Brother of Iffig Cochevelou. He released quite some records on his label Keltia III.


Alan Stivell Discography Tracks


Alan Stivell Reflets (Album) Fontana, Fontana France 1970 Sell This Version
Alan Stivell Renaissance De La Harpe Celtique (Album) Fontana UK & Ireland 1971 Sell This Version
Alan Stivell À L'Olympia (Album) Fontana France 1972 Sell This Version
Alan Stivell Chemins De Terre (Album) Fontana Germany 1972 Sell This Version
Charles Charras, Natalie Nerval, Alan Stivell Charles Charras, Natalie Nerval, Alan Stivell - Les Chevaliers De La Table Ronde (2): Le Chevalier Lancelot (Album) Philips France 1973 Sell This Version
CN 1849/S Alan Stivell / Harvey Andrews And Graham Cooper Alan Stivell / Harvey Andrews And Graham Cooper - Stereo Pop Special-47(LP, Transcription) BBC Transcription Services CN 1849/S UK 1973 Sell This Version
Alan Stivell E Langonned = A Langonnet (Album) Fontana France 1974 Sell This Version
Alan Stivell In Dublin - Am Baile Atha Cliath Yn Nulyn (Album) Fontana France 1975 Sell This Version
Alan Stivell Trema'n Inis (Vers L'Île) (Album) Keltia III Canada 1976 Sell This Version
Alan Stivell 'Raok Dilestra - Avant D'accoster (Album) Keltia III Spain 1977 Sell This Version
Alan Stivell Journée À La Maison (Album) Keltia III Canada 1978 Sell This Version
Alan Stivell 3rd Live : International Tour Tro Ar Bed (Album) CBS Italy 1979 Sell This Version
Alan Stivell Symphonie Celtique (Album) CBS France 1980 Sell This Version
Alan Stivell Terre Des Vivants - Bed An Dud Vew (Album) Disc'Az France 1981 Sell This Version
Alan Stivell Legend - Mojenn - Légende (Album) Disc'Az France 1983 Sell This Version
Alan Stivell Harpes Du Nouvel Âge (Album) Keltia III, WEA Filipacchi Music France 1985 Sell This Version
Alan Stivell The Mist Of Avalon (Album) Disques Dreyfus, Keltia III Europe 1991 Sell This Version
Alan Stivell Again (Album) Disques Dreyfus, Keltia III, Une Musique France 1993 Sell This Version
Alan Stivell Brian Boru (Album) Disques Dreyfus France 1995 Sell This Version
Alan Stivell 1 Douar (Album) Disques Dreyfus Canada 1998 Sell This Version
Alan Stivell Back To Breizh (Album) Disques Dreyfus France 2000 Sell This Version
Alan Stivell Au Delà Des Mots (Album) Keltia III France 2002 Sell This Version
FAC K3104 Alan Stivell Explore(CD, Album) Keltia III FAC K3104 Europe 2006 Sell This Version
233178 Alan Stivell Emerald - Emrodez - Emeraude(CD, Album) Keltia III 233178 UK 2009 Sell This Version
Alan Stivell Amzer (Seasons) (Album) World Village France 2015 Sell This Version