There is something about music that touches the depths of your soul, that harmonizes with every electrical pulse that runs through your body, that makes you want to jump or dance or scream or cry. Music is the universal language of expression, a ubiquitous medium that transcends through time and space, race and culture. That is why we celebrate it…with la fête de la musique!
The music festival is an annual event that takes place in France. In almost every city, from the afternoon till well past midnight, there are concerts, performances, and dances everywhere. According to a French ex-colleague, it is THE biggest event of the year. Coming from an authentic local, I knew I couldn’t miss it. I experienced the hype in Bordeaux two years ago but wasn’t here last year as I was in Belgium, but this year, the timing was perfect as June 21st fell on a Friday! Most of the fun happened around downtown, and since I live in downtown Bordeaux anyway, I figured I’d take full advantage of the walkable distance and spend the night immersing myself in the musical scenes of Bordeaux.
Oh, bonus: it didn’t rain! I totally expected the rain to continue, as it had been raining almost all week in Bordeaux – quite violently too! But God had been nice with us and sent us the sun to accompany our music. Let the magic begin.
I left the house at around 8:30pm and started at Place Pey Berland, going towards Rue Sainte-Catherine and towards the quai. Even the restaurants had their own events going on. Literally, there was something taking place in every corner of downtown. You just had to follow your ear and as soon as the previous sound of music faded away, another welcomed you. Who knows what concert you’d stumble upon next? 😉
Here’s a little band that played some fun music on Rue Sainte-Catherine. Lots of people crowded around for this one, and eventually I pushed and squeezed to the front 😛 I wonder who organized this…I would have loved to join!
This was one of my favourites – the samba band! It was exactly like the one I saw in Maastricht that was playing for the wedding. I absolutely loved it! When you hear the beat of the drums, there’s no way you wouldn’t stomp your feet and jump with the rhythm. What fun they are having! I’d like to join this one too 😉
Aha, flute music! Live pan flute music rocks my world, and every time I see pan flute musicians playing live, I stop and listen. The soft, floating sound of the flutes moves me to tears. This time, however, the music was quite unique. “Techno” was how I would have described it, yet it wasn’t quite techno, but it was certainly not the usual slow, calming pan flute. Let’s just say, it was different, and I liked it 😉
This little boy couldn’t stop dancing in front of the audience as the musicians continued to play. He was so energetic and just so…happy! Sometimes it made me wonder if he was part of the audience or really one of the performers.
Time for some ROCK! This band was playing nearby the Grand Théâtre and attracted quite a crowd with their prominent rock sound. I stood there for a good while staring the drum player and it was the first time that I really observed how the big drum set is played and managed. Impressive stuff. You just gotta appreciate musicians.
So then I continued to walk and eventually ended up by the river, where the Miroir d’Eau (water mirror) was so crystal clear. It is rare to have such calm waters at the mirror, since there’s usually some degree of wind. As a result, the reflections in the mirror were particularly perfect that day. This guy seemed to want to show off his musical pride by raising his guitar. You go, boy!
A little further down, I came across this Christian band that was playing some gospel music. I think I spend more than half an hour here because I was put in such a good mood by the people dancing to the music. “Il n’y personne qui soit comme Jésus” (there is no one like Jesus) got the audience moving their feet singing along. How could you not feel revived and free when everyone syncs so harmoniously with the music?
Out of nowhere came a bunch of young people dancing to the next song. I almost thought it was a flash mob. I wonder if they were from a church or something…don’t tell me it was Lormont???
After the gospel concert, I figured I’d make my way back slowly. Back at the Grand Théâtre, a man was playing country music and if I heard properly, he was from California. The crowd around him was so dense that I couldn’t get close enough to see him clearly, but his music was so soothing and touching that it got some crazy French people to sing along…in English!
Finally, I arrived back at Place Pey Berland to watch some couples dancing in a restaurant. I know nothing about dance, so I actually can’t tell what type of dance it was. Nonetheless, it was entertaining to see the professionals going at it. What elegance!
Originally I had planned to stay out till 10pm, but I quickly realized that an hour and a half was clearly not enough time to see ANYTHING, especially with the sheer amount of stuff going on. I ended up getting home at around 11:15pm, only because I had to get up early the next morning. Otherwise, I would have stayed out till midnight or even much later, indulging myself in the wonders of music (though not drunk like a lot of people). Tant pis! And the reason I had to wake up early the next morning? That’s another post for next time 😉