Cécile Corbel in Tokyo for the St-Yves 2010.
|Born||1980 (age 34–35)
Pont-Croix, Finistère, France
|Instruments||Vocals, celtic harp|
|Labels||Keltia Musique, Polydor|
Cécile Corbel (born 1980, Pont-Croix, Finistère, France) is a French and Breton singer, harpist, and composer. She has released five albums of original music and worked for Studio Ghibli as a composer for its 2010 film, The Borrower Arrietty. Corbel sings in many languages including French, Italian, Breton, and English and has done songs in German, Spanish, Irish, Turkish, and Japanese. Her lifelong partner is songwriter Simon Caby, who is also her co-composer.
Cécile Corbel was born in Pont-Croix in 1980. As a child, she traveled all throughout Brittany with her parents, who had a traveling marionette show. She first learned to play guitar, and discovered the Celtic harp as a teenager during a concert by Greek harpist Elisa Vellia, who later became her teacher. At age 18, after obtaining a baccalauréat scientifique, she moved to Paris to study. She then entered the École du Louvre and earned a MAS in archaeology. She first performed in pubs and the streets of Paris, and gave her first official concert at the pub, Ti Jos, in 2002.
In 2005, she released an EP with six tracks, Harpe celtique et chants du monde. After she signed with the record label Keltia Musique, her first studio album was released in 2006. SongBook 1 contained Breton, Welsh, and Irish songs. After this release, she began to go on tour. In 2006, she went to Australia, where she performed at a French festival organized by the Alliance française of Adelaide. She opened Laurent Voulzy's concert at Olympia Hall in Paris, and also shared the stage with Altan, Lúnasa, Alan Stivell, Carlos Núñez Muñoz, Dan Ar Braz, Hélène Flaherty, Ousmane Touré, and Ariana Savall. She performed in many countries including Germany, Switzerland, Italy, England, Estonia, the Czech Republic, Poland, the Netherlands, the United States, Paraguay, and Burma. In 2008, SongBook vol. 2 was released, with the first 10 of the 12 songs composed by Corbel.
In 2009, she played the role of Anne of Brittany in the rock opera, Anne de Bretagne. Songwriter Alan Simon chose Cécile Corbel after having difficulty finding someone for the role. Also participating in the project were other musicians such as Tri Yann and Fairport Convention. The show was staged at the end of June 2009 at the Château des ducs de Bretagne in Nantes, and was preceded by an album in which over 200 musicians participated.
Work with Studio Ghibli
After promotion ended for SongBook vol. 2, Cécile still had some promo albums left, so she sent them to people she admired. She sent one to Studio Ghibli because she had been a fan of their films for years. At the time, The Borrower Arrietty was in pre-production and producer Toshio Suzuki wanted a Celtic-inspired film score. Less than ten days later, she received an email from Studio Ghibli about her CD. The envelope, because it was handwritten, had caught the eye of Suzuki, and he had listened to the CD. He was captivated by Corbel's voice and the sound of the harp, and played the CD for the film's director and Yamaha Music. As a result, Corbel was assigned to write the title song of the film. She was later asked to write more songs. By 2009, she was asked to compose the whole score. This was the first time a non-Japanese composer had worked with the studio.
The score combines the musical styles of Celtic folk music, medieval Turkish songs, Baroque madrigals, and Irish marches. It was recorded in France with a small orchestra including acoustic guitar, bass, a string quartet, bagpipes, Irish flutes, bodhrán, percussion instruments, and accordion. The soundtrack album won "Best Original Soundtrack Album" at the 2011 Japan Gold Disc Awards. It also became a RIAJ-certified gold record in Japan, where more than 200,000 copies were sold.
New albums and projects
In June 2011, the third studio album, SongBook vol. 3 – Renaissance was released.
The fourth studio album, SongBook vol. 4 – Roses, was released on 24 June 2013. This album had influences from Mediterranean, medieval, and world music, including Japanese and Celtic music. It contains songs in French, English, Breton, and even Judaeo-Spanish ("Hija Mia"). Most of the twelve tracks are self-composed, and the album incorporates Breton and Irish traditional themes. It also includes a cover of "The Riddle", a song by English singer Nik Kershaw.
In 2013, Cécile Corbel wrote songs and co-composed (with Fabien Cali) the film score for the wildlife documentary, Land of the Bears. The soundtrack album was released 26 February 2014 by Polydor Records. Cécile sings five songs on the album. She also sings and plays harp on "Les Nuits Urbaines", the sixth track on Stanislas' album Ma Solitude, released on 28 April 2014.
On 26 June 2014, Cécile Corbel released a single, "Entendez-Vous", from her upcoming album. Her fifth studio album, La Fiancée, was released on 6 October 2014. All twelve songs on the album were written by Corbel, with music co-composed by Simon Caby.
List of musicians that perform at concerts:
- Cécile Corbel - harp and voice
- Cyril Maurin - guitars
- Pascal Boucaud - bass and backing vocals
- Julien Grattard - cello
- Christophe Piot - percussion
- Studio albums
- 2006: SongBook 1
- 2008: SongBook vol. 2
- 2011: SongBook vol. 3 – Renaissance
- 2013: SongBook vol. 4 – Roses
- 2014: La Fiancée
- Compilation albums
- 2009: The Cécile Corbel Collection
- 2010: Le Coffret
- 2014: Best of SongBooks
- Extended plays
- 2005: Harpe celtique et chants du monde
- 2010: The Borrower Arrietty
- 2014: Terre des ours
Japan Gold Disc Awards
|2011||The Borrower Arrietty Soundtrack||Best Original Soundtrack Album||Won|
Tokyo Anime Awards
|2011||Cécile Corbel – The Borrower Arrietty||Best Music||Won|
- Gorgiard, Ronan (15 April 2010). "La fée bretonne compose pour le cinéma nippon". Ouest-France (in French). Archived from the original on 13 January 2011. Retrieved 24 September 2014.
- ジブリ最新作の主題歌に初の外国人歌手. Asahi Shimbun (in Japanese). 8 April 2010. Archived from the original on 28 September 2012. Retrieved 24 September 2014.
- "Cécile Corbel Biography". Cécile Corbel Official Website. Retrieved 25 September 2014.
- "Review Digest: Cécile Corbel". Musical Discoveries. 16 November 2008. Retrieved 24 September 2014.
- "Cécile Corbel: Starry-eyed starlet". What's On? Bretagne. CRT Bretagne. Retrieved 24 September 2014.
- "Celtic Journeys: Cécile Corbel Harp solo and songs". Alliance Française USA. Délégation générale de l’Alliance Française aux Etats-Unis. Retrieved 24 September 2014.
- Jambon, Frédéric (24 June 2009). "Anne mérite bien un rock opéra". Le Télégramme (in French). Retrieved 24 September 2014.
- Noyer, Jérémie (15 November 2010). "Arrietty, the Borrower and Cecile Corbel, the Composer". Animated Views. Retrieved 25 September 2014.
- Gérard, Classe (19 June 2013). "Le retour de la fée celte". Le Télégramme (in French). Retrieved 25 September 2014.
- "Cécile Corbel. Écoutez en exclusivité son nouvel album". Ouest-France (in French). 5 October 2014. Retrieved 6 December 2014.
- La Fiancée (booklet). Polydor Records. 2014.
- Official website (French)
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