*300 copies limited release* Folklore Tapes first foray into overseas finds them in a rural Breton village known as Rochefort-en-Terre. Once inhabited by the renowned witch Naia, who along with her ‘spirit stick’ familiar ‘Gnami’ cured ills, cursed locals, split in two and crushed hot coals into dust! Naia is a collaboration with Brittany arts group Le Bon Acceuil and features two distinct sonic explorations into the infamous witch, largely based around the article and photography of Charles Géniaux. Face A is by Breton musician Pauline Marx AKA Le Diable Dégoûtant, Face B is by UK group Le Voile Universel (The Universal Veil) AKA Sam McLoughlin and David Chatton Barker.
The residents of rural Breton were leaving the country for the cities. Many aspects of the traditional folk culture of the time were on the verge of disappearing. The photographer Charles Géniaux (1870-1931), was keen to document these traditions. To this end, in 1899, Géniaux wrote an article for The Wide World Magazine about a witch who lived in the picturesque town of Rochefort-en-Terre, situated in the south of Brittany. The article, entitled Naia, the Witch of Rochefort, describes Géniaux’s meetings with Naia in the ruins of the Château de Rieux, as well as his conversations with various locals who had encountered her over the years. According to these locals, we learn that Naia “travels on a broom through the air—or maybe underground—when she does not want to be seen going on her errands; that she fears neither fire nor water, disappears when she likes, and takes any shape that may suit her purpose.” Furthermore, Naia is capable of “picking up red hot coals, which she crushed with her fingers and scattered to the winds.” She also tells Géniaux of Gnami, a powerful spirit who lives through her and obeys her every command. The photos which accompany the article show Naia facing down the lens, piercing the viewer with her look, beseeching us to meet her gaze across the years.