(the misadventures of an expatriate corporate dropout)

Saturday, July 19, 2008

my first French Friday night ... Tziganes!

I had an invitation "out" on Friday night. More kindness from strangers! I was invited to accompany Jean-Yves and his girlfriend Valerie to a concert. After discovering a shared love of music, he told me about a concert at a chateau ... and offered to give me a ride with them.

Well, friends, what a special treat it was. I greatly enjoy the music of Django Reinhardt, the incomparable gypsy guitarist, and the first group performed in the style of Django.

It wasn't until I was there and hearing the music that I understood the conversation I had with Jean-Yves, and why he invited me. See, he speaks about 2% English and with my 2% French (exaggeration on both sides!), it makes for interesting exchanges. He was asking me about music and my likes. I called out Django as my first love. We went on to call out artists and styles of music. Later, he asked me if I had heard of this concert at the Chateau. I said no, and asked what type of music. He replied "Tziganes" ... sadly, I didn't know Tziganes meant gypsy. When I asked what type of music it was, he said "Flamenco"... lol, so at least I felt a little better because he was grasping for English words.

When they began setting up ... a large bass, 2 guitars and a violin ... my heart skipped a beat. Am Ketenes is a quartet who plays in the style of Django Reinhardt. ooh la la! I've found a YouTube of them playing Them Their Eyes for you (below):

The main act was Lentement Mademoiselle, a high energy group of young performers (2 accordionists, a trombonist, a violinist, a bassist and a couple of guitarists) who were part performance art, part musicians. Very dramatic and, based on audience participation, very traditional music.

I discovered that there are an amazing array of festivals occurring in the Aquitaine region and a comprehensive site has been set up to lead visitors to them all. Anyone visiting the southwest region of France should definitely check out the site.

Couple the fabulous music with the amazing location ... in the courtyard of the centuries-old Chateau de Jumilhac... the very intimate setting with the townspeople of Jumilhac and surrounds ... including children, parents and extended family, nearly all French ... and well ... what a way to spend a Friday night, eh? A flood of emotions washed over me ... one of my first trips to France, I had discovered Django. It seemed somehow fitting that in my first week here, I should be sitting listening to Django's music surrounded by much of what I had dreamed of over the years. The beauty of the historic setting, the lilting tones of the French voices that surrounded me, the amazing musicality of the performers. I wanted to laugh, I wanted to cry out with the joy that was welling up inside of me.

Instead, I bobbed in my seat, smiling from ear to ear. Close enough!


La Framéricaine said...

Felicitations, Kim!

I know just exactly how that grin of "died and gone to heaven" delight and "I must be dreaming" happiness feels. I always found my French experiences to be, in reality, hugely better than my fantasies about them had been.

I am very pleased for you and wish you many more lovely outings such as you had on your first Friday in France.

Bonne continuation!

Artful Kisser said...

Wow...how wonderful! Absolutely green with envy.

Utah Savage said...

Green with envy just about says it all,

Je ne regrette rien said...

LF-such a terrific intro to the countryside!

U.S. & AK- Would that I could share it with you all ... in person!

Randal Graves said...

What a depressing post. I mean what a great post. Now I'm going to go cry. It's a jealousy thing. ;-)