|Askol ha Brug (Thistle and Heather in English) Pipe Band is the oldest pipe band of Brittany.|
1977-1984 : The beginning of the association In Briton language, askol means thistle (for Scotland), and brug means heather (for Britanny). Thistle and Heather is an association which was created in Saint Herblain (Britanny) on impulse by five founding members : René Guilbaud, Patrick Pouchard, André Jutier, Jean-Luc Pouvreau, Patrick Jutier. The creation of the association was officialised on april 28th 1977. The goal of the association is to promote in South of Britanny the scottish pipes and drums without forgetting celtic music in general. In 1978, Ollivier Thoraval joined the group and became Pipe Major in 1985. In 1981, the pipe band participated in the meeting of St Herblain's twin towns Sankt Ingbert (Germany) and Waterford (Ireland). The pipe band has adopted the Royal Stuart tartan whose origins go back to a Breton governor of Dol. The wearing of that particular tartan is permitted to Breton and French by the Stuarts. The group's coat-of-arms represents a stoat and a lion.
1985-1999 : Links with Saltcoast In 1984, for the first time, Thistle and Heather Pipe Band welcomes Scots from Saltcoast region (thanks to Y. Bocquel and a Breton dance group who was already making exchanges with them). In 1985, the pipe band was in turn welcomed in Scotland by the band from Ardneil. These exchanges continued and became more and more important, particularly in 1994 and 1997, thanks to the musical trainings given by our scottish friends and by the large scottish celebrations in Onyx (cultural complex of St Herblain), as well as with the Ardneil PB and the Harbour Band (Jazz and Fiddle band from Saltcoast), uniting more than 500 people. In 1995, Thistle and Heather PB took part in the commemoration of the 700th anniversary of the Auld Alliance in Aubigny sur Nère and in June 1998 in Roscoff, at the commemoration of Mary Stuart's voyage in Britanny. Thistle and Heather PB also participated in several contests in the 4th and 3th grade. Its members received the voluntary service medal at the beginning of 1999.
From 1999, the new statutes In mid 1999, the association saw the departure of several members and, in consequence, the modification of its statutes. In December 99, Thistle and Heather PB edited a CD of 500 examples, representing the main moments of the Onyx concert in 1997. This live CD is solt 10€ the copy. In Y2K, the pipe was present at the Millenium of Edinburg among 9200 other pipers and drummers.
In 2005, the 2d celtic nights of Caussade event took place on the 11th of june. We and Siller Tassie joined up together to play at a concert. We played just after the traditional Irish group Flook and just before the famous Booze brothers. It was a fun hour of non stop Scottish tunes and our ten drummers really move the 6,000 spectators.
The week after, at the 8th Anne of Brittany festival in Pornichet, we took the opportunity to record some footage for a video clip. The tremendous DVD of Askol ha Brug Pip Band is now available !
After an accident in July which left three of our and members injured and several bits ofour band equipment damaged (our bass drum, tenor drums and our drum major's staff), we had ten members go over to Edinburgh to play at the pipefest parade on the 21th august in the Royal Mile. We practiced really hard to perfect our piping and drumming sets and we joined the 44th block which were exactly the same level as us piping and drumming wise. It was a great parade and the weather was great as well so it was a really enjoyable trip. The mass band was fantastic and each tune sounded like an earthquake. More than twenty hours later on our flight back to France from Prestwick airport, we still had the sound of pipes and drums in our heads. Yet again, we more warmly welcomed by our friends of Ardrossan and thanks to them and the Pipefest organisers, we managed to find our bus to come back !
The current formation of the PB is : one drum major, 12 bapipers and 11 drummers. The drummers are equiped with Premier material. The bagpipes are from various origins, but the chanters and reeds are from McCallum.