Football : quand un joueur gallois découvre que la Bretagne et le pays de Galles ont le même hymne

Nation Cymru, 3 août 2022

When Spurs player Joe Rodon signed on a season-long loan to Rennes, little did the Welsh international defender realise that every time he steps out at the French club’s home ground, Roazhon Park, he will hear a very familiar tune.

Rennes is the capital of Brittany in north west France and the Ligue 1 club’s anthem, which is also the national anthem of Brittany, is played at every home match.

During the first interview Rodon gave to his new club, it was explained to him that the anthem – Bro Gozh ma Zadoù – has the same tune as the Welsh national anthem, Hen Wlad Fy Nhadau.

Breton is the Celtic language of Brittany, and in Breton the anthem’s title is the same as the Welsh version – Old Land of My Fathers.

The Breton lyrics were the creation of François Jaffrennou in 1897, and the music was courtesy of James James, from Pontypridd – the composer of Hen Wlad Fy Nhadau.

The Breton national anthem is also often played during major sporting events in the French region – including at all Rennes home games.

It’s thought that the tune was chosen as the Breton national anthem to celebrate the friendship between the Welsh and Bretons at a Congress of the Union Régionaliste Bretonne held in Lesneven in 1903.

And it’s not just the anthem – there are also a number of other similarities between the two cultures.

Welsh and Breton are Brythonic languages and so are also linguistically similar.

There are many Welsh towns twinned with towns in Brittany:
Carmarthen with Lesneven.
Aberystwyth with Saint-Brieuc.
Towyn and Kinmel Bay with Guidel.
Dolgellau with Guérande.
Caernarfon with Landerneau.
Harlech with Riec-sur-Belon.
Pontardawe with Locminé.
Fishguard with Loctudy.
Newport, Pembrokeshire with& Plouguin, Finistère.
Crickhowell with Scaër.
Llanidloes with Derval.
Mumbles with Hennebont.
Rhuthun with Briec de l’Odet
St. Asaph with Begard.
Llanfairfechan with Pleumeulec.
Brecon with Gouesnou.
Cardiff with Nantes.

Wales and Brittany also form part of six Celtic nations, alongside Ireland, Scotland, the Isle of Man and Cornwall.

And for good measure, the Cornish anthem, Bro Goth Agan Tasow, is also sung to the same tune as Hen Wlad Fy Nhadau.

We reckon that should be plenty to make Joe Rodon feel right at home!