Rudy: "Almost every August for the last thirty years, a small seaport in Brittany, France, has hosted one of the world's pre-eminent gatherings of Celtic music, arts, letters and dance. The Lorient Inter-Celtic Festival begins next week. Here to tell us more is Michelle Kholos. She's here with this week's Culture Watch. Hi Michelle."
Michelle: "Hi Rudy."
Rudy: "Now, Michelle, when I think of Celtic culture I think of places like Ireland, Wales and, maybe Boston. But this festival's taking place in France. What's going on there?"
Michelle: "Well, Rudy, it's true that today those places are Celtic strongholds, but it wasn't always like that. In the days before the Roman Empire, the Celts established a loose confederation stretching from the British Isles, down across France and through northern and central Europe. There were even Celtic outposts as far east as the Black Sea. Actually, a lot of towns and rivers and valleys still have Celtic names."
Rudy: "Such as?"
Michelle: "Well, places you'd expect like Cornwall and Plymouth, in England. But other places you might not... like Paris."
Michelle: "Yeah, a Celtic tribe settled on the Ile de la Cite way back in the third century BC. They called themselves the Parisii and they remained there until about 50 B.C., when the Romans pushed up and conquered the city. Now if you know your history, you know those were some pretty brutal times and the Celts soon found themselves sandwiched between the Romans in the south and the German tribes pushing in from the east. The present day Celtic regions are really the last of what was once a huge civilization."
Rudy: "With all those wars, it's a wonder Celtic culture survived."
Michelle: "That's exactly the thinking behind the Lorient Inter-Celtic Festival. It showcases the artistic legacy of the Celts. Performers and artists do come from places like Ireland, Wales and the Isle of Man but also from Poland, New Zealand and Argentina."
Rudy: "Sounds very diverse. When does it start?"
Michelle: "August 4th and it goes through the 13th. There'll be plenty to do during that time with the hundreds of artists, poets and musicians coming in. Plus they're going to show Celtic films, have lectures and all that good stuff. And that's this week's Culture Watch."
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