À l'Olympia (Alan Stivell album)

À l'Olympia (Also called At the Olympia and Olympia Concert) was Stivell's first live album, recording at L'Olympia. It was released by Fontana in 1972.

À l'Olympia
À l'Olympia Alan Stivell 1972.jpg
Live album by
RecordedFebruary 28, 1972
VenueL'Olympia in Paris by Paul Houdebine & Henri Lousteau
GenreCeltic music
Celtic fusion
Celtic rock
music of Brittany, folk music
ProducerFranck Giboni
Alan Stivell chronology
Renaissance of the Celtic Harp
À l'Olympia
Chemins de Terre



This live concert was divided into two parts: the first acoustic folk, the second part being electric folk in a style then known as Celtic rock. The evening is a musical tour around the Celtic fringe, from Brittany northwards. It was broadcast live on one of the three radio stations in France (seven million listeners live on Radio Europe 1)[1] Alan Stivell was accompanied by Dan Ar Braz on guitar, Michel Santangelli (the future drummer for Jacques Higelin) on percussion, Gabriel Yacoub, René Werneer, Pascal Stive, Gérard Levasseur, Serj Parayre and Michaël Klec’h.

Stivell à l'Olympia sold a staggering 1,500,000 copies in just over a year (more than 2 million thereafter) and put both Stivell and Breton music on the cultural map once and for all[2]

Context and impactEdit

1972, the year of its release, was one of radical ferment at home and abroad. The widespread revolt of May 1968 had generated a "back to the earth" movement amongst French students and intelligensia. The entry of Britain and Ireland into the EEC was seen by radicals in Brittany as the long-awaited opportunity to bring the Celtic nations together and make the ancient dream of Celtic unity a reality. Alan Stivell was closely identified with these trends, even at times hailed as a champion of one or the other cause, but he was himself, as he often later claimed, uneasy about taking on the role of a musical freedom fighter. His deep fascination with cutting edge technology, fuelled by his early love of science fiction put him at odds with any "back to the earth" idealism. Despite the hopes he shared with many of his fellow Breton for a Celtic cultural revival and unity, he always sought to avoid being straight-jacketed by a narrow traditionalist outlook.

The electric ambiance of Alan Stivell and his musicians quickly spread like wildfire in France: Stivell had just launched the first "Breton wave". Music from Brittany also became extremely popular and the song Tri Martolod, which is still playing on the radio and in our memories, became the battle flag for an entire generation.[3]

Track listingEdit

1."The Wind of Keltia"3:42
2."An Dro"3:07
3."The trees they grow high"3:04
4."An Alarc'h" (The swan)2:25
5."An Durzhunel" (The turtle dove)3:23
6."Telenn Gwad / The Foggy Dew"3:57
7."Pop Plinn"3:37
8."Tha mi sgith"4:22
9."The King of the Fairies"3:20
10."Tri Martolod"4:27
11."Kost ar c'hoad"3:54
12."Suite Sudarmoricaine"3:29

Lyrics and musics are traditionals arranged by Alan Stivell except "The Wind of Keltia" written by Alan Stivell and Steve Waring.



  • Alan Stivell – lead vocal, Celtic harp, tin whistle (Irish flute), bombard
  • Gabriel Yacoub – guitars, dulcimer, banjo, backing vocals
  • René Werneer – fiddle
  • Pascal Stive – organ
  • Gérard Levasseur – bass
  • Henry Delagarde – cello, flute, bombard
  • Dan Ar Braz – electric guitar
  • Michel Santangeli (29 August 1945–30 September 2014) – drums
  • Serj Parayre – percussions
  • Mikael Klec'h – flute, bombard


  • Producer – Frank Giboni for Fontana Records
  • Engineer – Paul Houdebine
  • Engineer Assistant – Henri Lousteau



Fontana 6399 005 [original French release]
Fontana 6325 321 [France, Italy]
Disques Dreyfus 834-289-2 [French CD release of 1988]



  • Jonathyne Briggs, Sounds French: Globalization, Cultural Communities, and Pop Music in France, 1958–1980, Oxford University Press, 2015, Chapter 4 "Sounds Regional: The World in Breton Folk Music" ISBN 9780199377091