In many cases, folk traditions were revived in relatively recent years to cater to tourists. These  groupes folkloriques tend to focus on very early 20th century  melodies  and the use of the  piano accordion .
As Europe experienced a wave of  roots revivals  in the 1950s and 1960s, [1]  France found its regional culture reviving traditional music.  Brittany Limousin Gascony Corsica  and  Auvergne  were among the regions that experienced a notable resurgence in the popularity of folk music. Traditional styles of music had survived most in remote areas, such as the island of Corsica and mountainous Auvergne, as well as the more nationalist lands of the  Basques  and Bretons.

Folk music and dance now has an established place as a popular pastime in its own right with innumerable festivals, concerts and bals folks across France and a number of regular publications devoted to it.[2]


Auvergne is known for cabrette bagpipes. The cabrette (little goat in Auvergnat) is a bagpipe made of goatskin (goats being an integral part of Auvergnat traditional life) and without drones, blown by elbow-driven bellows. Some famous old players : Martin CaylaJean BergheaudMarcel BernardAntoine BouscatelJoseph CosterosteGeorges Soule, and some modern players: Dominique ParisVictor LaroussinieDidier PauvertStéphane CharpentierMichel EsbelinFrançois Lazarevic. They play both regrets(slow airs), bourrées (typical auvergne danse) and swift, 3/8 dance music.

Joseph Canteloube was a well-known composer from Auvergne in the early 20th century, and produced a famous collection of folk music called Songs of the Auvergne.


Béarn’s revivalist scene has been quite limited in scope, though it has produced the nationally renowned singer  Marilis Orionaa . Traditional instruments from the area include the  tambour de Béarn , a six-string drum used as a rhythm drone instrument to accompany the three-holed recorder.


One of the biggest stars of the French roots revival was Perlinpinpin Folc, formed in 1972 and led by Christian Lanau, whose Musique Traditionelle de Gascognewas a popular release that sparked interest in the traditional music of Gascony.

Gascon small pipes, called boha (bouhe), are a well-known part of the local scene. They have a rectangular chanter and drone combination, which is unique to Gascony, and are made out of sheepskin with the fleece showing.


Languedoc is home to several unusual instruments, including the bodega, a kind of bagpipe, and the aboès and graille, both kinds of oboes. The bodega is made out of goatskin, using an unusual process in which the innards of the animal are removed through the neck so that the entire, unbroken skin can be used for the instrument. It has only one large shoulder drone. The bodega is known from at least the 14th century. Popular traditional groups from Languedoc include CalabrunTrencavelLaurent Audemard‘s Une Anche Passe and Trioc.


Limousin is known for its violin music, as well as the chabrette bagpipe. Eric Montbel is the biggest star of Limousin folk, while Françoise EtayJean Pierre ChampevalOlivier DurifValentin Clastrier and Pascal Lefeuvre are also popular. Instruments include the cabrette bagpipe and the ancient army fifepifre. Limousin violin music, focussed in Corrèze, has produced stars François Etay and Trio Violon, while more modern fiddlers include François Breugnot, Olivier Durif, Jean Pierre Champeval and Jean-François Vrod. The hurdy-gurdy in Limousin has been extended to avant-garde styles utilizing electronic music, jazz and other influences, including Pascal Lefeuvre, Dominique Regef and Valentin Clastrier.

Provence and Alps

The most iconic form of Provençal folk music is a duo of  fife  and drum, or ensembles of  galoubets-tambourins ; the most prominent characteristic of the region’s folk music, however, is the  Italian musical  influence. Performers include  Patrice Cornte Yves Rousguisto  and  André Gabriel . Provence’s diverse communities include  Savoie , whose distinct  hurdy gurdy tradition has produced the modern band  La Kinkerne , the  Alpes Maritimes  choral tradition, which includes choirs like  La Compagnie Vocale  and  Corous de Berra , and the northern region, which has produced a vibrant violin tradition,  Dauphiné ‘s  rigaudon  dance and performers  Rigodon Sauvage Patrick Mazellier  and  Drailles . Dauphiné also features one of the rare sword dances that have stood the test of time, the  Bacchu-ber  performed yearly in  Briançon .


The southwestern region of Roussillon’s music is shaped by its unique ethnicities, and includes forms of Catalan and Gypsy music. The former includes the sardana and is based around the city of Perpignan. The sardana is played by a band (coble) consisting of three kinds of oboes, flutes and other instrument, including shawms and bagpipes among some recent revivalists. Modern traditional performers include Cobla Mil-LenariaLa Cobla de JoglarsEls Ministrles del Rossellano and La Colba els Montgrins.


  1. Jump up^ [1] Archived May 9, 2008, at the Wayback Machine.
  2. Jump up^ “TRAD Magazine”. TRAD Magazine. Retrieved 2014-06-27.