Influenced by the works of Alan Stivell and Glenmor, French actor, poet, and singer/songwriter Gilles Servat went on to become one of the most outspoken advocates of the Breton language. Born in Tarbes in 1945, he originally studied sculpture at college before a trip to the Isle of Groix inspired him to leave his civil servant job and pursue a career campaigning for the preservation of Breton culture. Following his 1972 debut, La Blanche Hermine, he remained a prolific artist up until the early '80s, releasing an album virtually every year, including the critically acclaimed La Liberte Brille dans la Nuit (a tribute to late Breton poet Rene-Guy Cadou) and the live album Gilles Servat en Public. The '90s saw a resurgent Servat join Dan Ar Bras' Celtic music collective L'Heritage des Celtes, record a protest album (Touche Pas à la Blanche Hermine) in response to the French National Front's use of his Brittany anthem during their meetings, and pay respect to the music of Ireland with 1996's Sur les Quais de Dublin. During the 2000s, he published further installments of his Celtic mythology novel series, received l'Ordre de l'Hermine for his contribution to Breton society, and -- 40 years after his first hit -- released his 19th studio album, Ailes et Îles, in 2011. ~ Jon O'Brien
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