Apologies for missing last week’s entry! I had been busy this week with guests over at my small but cozy apartment almost every night, and I really haven’t any time alone to sit down and catch up on blogging. Alas, let’s hope it picks up again from here!
I wanted to write about the music of the city of Bordeaux, in particular the Fête de la Musique – or Music Festival – that took place on June 21. It’s been two weeks, I know, but still worth writing about.
According to a colleague of mine, this was THE summer festival of Bordeaux. Starting in the afternoon and lasting all the way until way past midnight, music (and crowds) filled every corner of the city. From street to street, enthusiastic Bordelais danced into the night to jazz, rock, blues, hip hop…you name it! Of course, our adorable friends from the public transit sector decided to take a break on the same day in the form of a strike, thereby paralyzing public transit in the downtown core. I don’t blame them though; I mean, after all, everyone deserves a break sometimes, and who wouldn’t want to join in the festivities? The entire downtown area was so full of people that it would have been impossible for trams to operate through them anyway.
Anyway, music – and art in general – really is a prominent feature of an European life. I’ve noticed within the past few weeks that you can find music everywhere, every day in the city of Bordeaux. It’s not uncommon to attend an organ concert at a cathedral, or chance upon an orchestra playing near the quays, or catch a jazz trio performing by a restaurant while a lady moved to the rhythm, or walk by pairs of tango dancers by the river.
And so, you immerse yourself in the beautiful musical culture, and become absorbed in the sound.
The afternoon started with a chorale at the city hall. It was the first time that I entered the courtyard of the hôtel de ville, which was literally 2 minutes away from my house.
After dinner, I walked around the downtown core looking for activities and concerts. This band was playing near Rue St. Catherine and drew a considerable audience. It was 10:30 at night, but the party has just started and the French were high as ever!
This scene felt like the end of the French sales season, when everyone rushes out to grab the final goodies left from the scrambling.
Another crowd, this time near the Regent Hotel. The clock had just struck past midnight but there was no sign that the party was stopping anytime soon.
This was one of my favourite performances. I’ve always liked music from aboriginals, especially pan flute music. It has a mysterious power that seems to transcend time and space and lift the listener into a completely different dimension. So very mesmerizing.
Seems like an outdoor club of some sort…
…and everyone is groovin’ and movin’!
Viva la musique!