Sounds from last summer in France

June 11, 2015 § Leave a comment

Here are four tracks from last summer in France.

I had already uploaded here the two Bastille day pieces.

First two pieces: 

Bal du 14 juillet. Bastille Day Celebration. After the fireworks, everyone on the lot flocked down Apt’s main street to get to the ball across town – we took side streets to avoid the crowd. There, in front of town hall, a stage had been set up. A band played some traditional tunes, of course there was accordion. Couples danced, Lily twirled.

3rd piece:

Liv raconte une histoire

Charlotte’s 5 year old is skilled in improvising songs and stories. This was only one of them.

4th piece:

Strange puppet show in Font’Arts

Font’Arts is a street theatre festival meandering through the streets and little places du village* in Pernes Les Fontaines, Provence, a village full of fountains. Sadly, I’ve noticed many of the village fountains that used to always flow with sweet drinking water no longer flow. Hmm, might it have to do with the privatization of water?

Also, I have sweet memories in Pernes, with my flock of high school friends. The French let their teenage kids roam the streets in bands, get drunk on poetry and wine, and high on first love, freedom and hashish…

but I need a whole blog on French teenagehood… à suivre

*you see, a town square is not exactly a place because our town squares are not square but round — perhaps I am discovering the fundamental difference between the French and the English that was the true cause of the Hundred Years War, who knows?


Small Town Bastille Day

October 18, 2014 § Leave a comment

We spent Bastille Day in Apt — yes, I was supposed to publish this post 3 months ago, must be my Mediterranean sense of time. Anyway, we spent Bastille Day in Apt, small town in the South of France with my mom and our friends visiting from California with their two daughters. We arrived just before sunset, while the five or so floats for the parade were still being prepped – tractors trailing colorful paper mache floats with different themes, not necessarily related to the French revolution, like the float for the local volleyball team for example. Well, that may be a bad example because the other floats did not seem to be promoting anything; the only other one I can remember had an Alsace theme with children dressed in traditional Alsatian wear, and with a Germanic house, storks and such. A very darling procession.

The parking lot had been cleared for a local orchestra, a food truck selling merguez sandwiches, fries, cotton candy and kebabs and for people to watch the fireworks.

The fireworks were shot from the high school parking lot. They were so close that they were very loud and exciting. The little one, atop her dad’s shoulders, watched and giggled at each burst. Her big sister, Lily, said it was the best 4th of July ever and Elise (my little big one) had to correct her.

After the fireworks, everyone on the lot flocked down Apt’s main street to get to the ball across town – we took side streets to avoid the crowd. There, in front of town hall, a stage had been set up. A band played some traditional tunes, of course there was accordion. Couples danced, Lily twirled. Have a listen: 

Celebrations in small towns

June 30, 2014 § Leave a comment

Is there a small town in the USA that doesn’t celebrate 4th of July? I know there are no fireworks in Big Sur –fire hazard– but still, if I do so remember, the Henry Miller library hosted some type of a patriotic gathering of sorts.

The point is even small towns celebrate national holidays and festivities in one way or another, in the US or in France. I don’t know what Halloween looks like in, say, Pescadero or say, Randsburg (I only know small towns in California) but I’m sure it looks like something. It could be worth a photographic/videographic study. Anyway, just the same, la fête de la musique or Bastille Day are celebrated in small places like Apt or Bonnieux or the humblest of towns might have an annual carnival even if all it is is a small carousel, one bumper cars, one booth of games where you fish for a toy, the town square turned into a ballroom floor and a buvette with fries, merguez sandwiches, beer and soda and the whole thing fits in one lot (description of an actual carnival in Picardy). Everyone likes to celebrate in unison with their country.

Private rave en Leberoun, Oaï Star for the Aptésiens

June 23, 2014 § Leave a comment

The French celebrate the summer solstice with « la fête de la musique ». Even small towns, like Apt, will have several stages with local bands. Well, Apt would probably not have been very exciting without Oaï Star, all the way from Marseille who honored our boonies with their presence, new concoction from former bandmembers of Massilia Sound System. I’d say Oaï Star is provençal punk, happy festive punk with a dose of humorous lyrics. The crowd is all ages and all denominations, with bands of children running around or watching the show atop their daddy’s shoulders, couples getting up there in age avoiding the mosh pit, young women in pretty summer dresses, and also burned out-punkrockers and bands of « zonards » with their dogs (homeless punks, travel in packs with dogs). People drink openly and the police only intervenes to put out road flares.

Did not record anyting that night but here’s some Oaï Star if you’re curious: 

Before Oaï Star got on stage, we took a walk around the town to see what else was happening, which was not much. One group had their stereo set up with lights and teenagers and grandmas were dancing on the street to it. They seemed to have fun. At the other end of town, they had a cover band, playing some Telephone songs. At the other end of town, they were playing some Dalida songs from a bar. Yup, nothing too exciting.

I bump into a very dear old friend of mine in the dancing crowd so we spend the rest of the evening together, along with my sister. When the concert ends, we dance in the back-patio of a bar to techno music. Here too, all ages. A ten-year old boy is copying the moves of an excentric dancer, studying. We decide to leave before people get too drunk and stupid.

Back in Buoux, I hear the beats of someone’s party closeby, more techno, bassy beats. It could be tempting to walk to it and crash whatever’s going on but I prefer to dance by myself under the constellations. I call it my private rave.

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