The Band was born in 1972, on the initiative of Jean-Marie Renard, guitarist from the beginning and manager of the Band today, in the wake of a basic musical current launched by Alan Stivell. He brings together five musicians friends of different musical cultures (traditional, jazz, folk, rock'n'roll) around a common passion, the Celtic music, to form the band GWENDAL. At that time in France many bands inspired by the Breton and Irish traditional music appeared. GWENDAL distinguished itself from the very start by the choice of what will make the continuity of its style during its entire career: a sound mixing melodies of traditional influence, with arrangements and rhythmic strongly influenced by modern musical currents of various times: jazz, rock'n'roll...
During its three decades of existence, GWENDAL has seen many changes of musicians accompanying the evolution by the group, the flautist Youenn Le Berre, current leader, being the only remaining member since the beginning. As of the first disc (1974: "Irish Jig"), one finds the core instrumental which remained a constant of the sound of the group: metal flute and violin for the melodies, acoustic guitar, mandolin and bass for the rhythmic one. The Band is electric starting from the third album (1977: "Rainy Day") with the addition of the electric guitar and the drums.
Parallel to this evolution, the repertoire comprises more and more personal compositions, which will constitute the entirety of the contents of the albums from "Gwendal 4" on. With "Glen river" (1989), the Band passes from five to six musicians on the scene, with the introduction of the synthesizer.
The last CD ("War-Raog" 2005) is the result of the work of scene and studio of the current:
Flutes, bombards, bagpipe: Youenn Le Berre
Violin: Jean-Claude Philippe
Acoustic and electric guitars: Ludo Mesnil
Keyboards: Jérôme Guéguen
Bass: Pascal Sarton
Drums: David Rusaouen
(Left to right: J. Guéguen, P. Sarton, L. Mesnil, D. Rusaouen, Y. Le Berre, J-C. Philippe)
The career of GWENDAL started very quickly, with many concerts in France, and in various European countries (Ireland, Belgium, the Netherlands, Germany, Switzerland, Great Britain, Italy...).
In Spain in particular, the Band has a history and special relationship, resulting in complicity with its youth, and the faithfulness of the public defying the course of time.
This long history started in 1975, just after Franco’s death. The Basque singer Imanol, political refugee in France and a good friend of the Band returned to his country and choose GWENDAL to play as the introduction Band. In these times, the youth who had suffered for forty years the cultural crushing of dictatorship, these concerts represented the advent of an extraordinary time of expression. The meeting of popular instrumental music mixing tradition and rhythmic rock'n'roll, and a public hungry for festive concert-events, led to an immediate success. The Band started then to criss-cross the roads of the Basque Country, then Asturias, Galicia...
The signing of a contract with CBS in 1978 allowed the distribution of the records in all of Spain, and the tours took the group from Madrid to Barcelona, then in the South and very quickly in the whole of Spain.
The recognition by the press and by the public of GWENDAL as “mythical” Band associated with the cultural rebirth and the blossoming of passion for Celtic music not only by the public, but also by many musical groups of various areas of Spain, goes back to this time.
first album at EMI: "Irish Jig",
the jacket of the giant playing bombard will be the Band’s emblem for a very a long time.
Y. Le Berre (flutes, bombard), Bruno Barré (violin),
Patrice Grupallo (mandolin), J-M Renard (guitar), Roger Schaub (bass)
"Joe Cant' S Reel", jacket by Claire Brétécher.
"Rainy Day", jacket by Bilal
New musicians: Ricky Caust (electric guitar), Arnaud Rogers (drums)
“Les Mouettes s’Battent” ("the Gulls Fight")
New musician: Olivier Pédron (drums)
"Gwendal in concert", recorded in public in Madrid, in the Rolling Stones’ mobile studio.
New musician: François Ovide (electric guitar)
"Locomo", recorded in the castle of Hérouville
New musicians: Robert Le Gall (bass), Patrice Guillaumat (drums)
"Danse la musique" (“Dance music”)
New musicians: Patrick Tillman (violin), Bertrand Binet (electric guitar)
"Glen river", “Great Price Charles Cros” 1990
New musicians: R. Le Gall (goes from bass to violin), Paul Faure (keyboards) 1995: "Pan ha Diskan"
Compilation "Lo Mejor de Gwendal" gold record in Spain
Compilation "Celtic Adventures" at EMI
New musicians: Jean-Claude Philippe (violin), Ludo Mesnil (guitars), Jerome Gueguen (keyboard), Pascal Sarton (bass), David Rusaouen (drums)
Compilation "Best Of" at Keltia Musique