BIO

Loïc Bléjean is from Brittany, that ancient land in the north-west of modern France, first settled by humans thousands of years ago, steeped in history and tradition and whilst his music is informed by his native culture, his love, if not that over-used word ‘passion’, is for the Irish tradition – he is a uilleann piper and low whistle player of high renown. One Breton website describes him as piper étoilé, a just and entirely fair description!

Loïc is technically brilliant and supremely musical on both instruments. His playing is characterised by a crisp clean style, with wonderful clarity in the separation of the notes; on the other hand he can pull from them the evocative, almost mournful and eerie sounds so loved by aficionados. And he is a perfectionist – the uilleann pipes are notoriously moody in their tuning, but his intonation is always flawless, a delight to hear.

He started playing the pipes in 1989, under the tuition of Alain Le Hegarat and then travelled extensively in Ireland, where he met many wonderful musicians, in particular piper Brendan Ring. Since those early days he has developed an extraordinary versatility and adaptability which has enabled him collaborate and work with a wide variety of musicians and in many different styles; with fiddler Paul Flynn and singer/guitarist David Muldrew, membership of influential bands, pop-rock Glaz, and the French-Canadian Gwazigan. Notable work in Ireland includes the “Session with the Pipers” concert series at the Cobblestone in Dublin and the William Kennedy Piping Festival in Armagh, invited to do both in 2009 and again in 2013, the first time with his younger brother Ronan on the button accordion, the second with Louisa Bennion, the noted New York concertina player.

His ability to grasp and understand other genres has led to performances with the progressive rock band Children in Paradise and with the exciting jazz band the Boclé Brothers, with whom he recorded the album ‘Rock The Boat’, released in 2015. Their new opus, recorded in New Jersey in 2019 should be released soon…

During the summer of 2016 he was one of the four musicians integral to the massively acclaimed production of ‘The Taming of the Shrew’ at Shakespeare’s Globe in London, directed by Caroline Byrne and part of Emma Rice’s triumphant first season as Artistic Director.

He joined Belfast-based supergroup Réalta right before their first U.S. tour in February 2019, he has been touring with this band (which features two uilleann pipers!) all over the USA and Ireland since.

He also performs as a solo artist, in concerts, workshops, masterclasses, or with close musical partners, as a trio with brother Ronan & long-time friend Nicolas Quémener, duo with Louisa Bennion, with Siobhan O’Donnell and many more…

He is a good organiser too, something rare enough among great musicians! In 2009 he and Ronan founded the ‘Irish Rendez Vous’ Festival, held on the north coast of Brittany, to promote Irish traditional music of the very best. Oh, and he has one other, um, ‘passion’ – slightly worn and well used Mercedes motor cars……

 

Biographie en français

Loïc Bléjean est un joueur de uilleann pipes (cornemuse irlandaise), originaire de Bretagne. Profondément ancré dans la musique traditionnelle irlandaise, il est aussi un musicien très polyvalent, ayant pris part à de nombreux projets au cours des vingt-cinq dernières années. il joue actuellement avec les jazzmen Gildas et Jean-Baptiste Boclé, avec le groupe Irlandais Réalta, avec son frère Ronan & Nicolas Quémener, et avec la virtuose New-Yorkaise du concertina Louisa Bennion.
Après une formation en percussions dans les années 80, il se tourne vers les uilleann pipes en 1989, et sillonne l’Irlande à la rencontre de grands musiciens.
Son parcours très éclectique et sa faculté d’adaptation en a fait un musicien très demandé en studio comme sur scène dès les années 90, du pop-rock breton de “Glaz”, à la musique traditionnelle québécoise de “Gwazigan”.

Loïc et son frère créent en 2009 le festival Irish Rendez Vous, sur la côte nord de la Bretagne, invitant au fil des éditions la crème des musiciens irlandais.
En 2009 également, Gay McKeon et le prestigieux Na Piobairi Uilleann de Dublin invitent Loïc au “Session with the Pipers” du Cobblestone Pub de Dublin, et il participe la même année au William Kennedy Piping Festival pour la première fois. Il participe à nouveau à ces deux grands événements en 2013, cette fois avec Louisa Bennion.

En 2010, Loïc rejoint les frères Boclé dans leur Keltic Project, et leur album “Rock the Boat”, enregistré en Bretagne et à New York, sort en 2015, juste avant leur première tournée en Irlande. Leur nouvel album, enregistré cette fois dans le New Jersey, avec des invités prestigieux, sortira en 2020.
En 2016, il intègre le Shakespeare Globe Theatre de Londres, dans la production de “The Taming of the Shrew” (“La Mégère Apprivoisée”), mise en scène par Caroline Byrne, avec un casting inédit uniquement originaire de la riche scène théâtrale irlandaise.