Archive for the ‘music’ Category

An African Fair in Paris – Part I – The Opening Ceremony

Thursday, June 2nd, 2016
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The 5th annual African Fair was held last weekend at Les Esselières, an exhibition hall in the Paris suburb of Villejuif. Organized by the Chambre de Commerce Africaine de Paris and sponsored in large part by Appolinaire Timpiga Compaoré, a businessman from Burkina Faso, the fair featured food, music, dance, and exhibits by artisans, non-profit associations, fashion designers, public relations specialists, telecommunications, cosmetics, and more…

Four Officers of the African Chamber of Commerce of Paris

Four Officers of the African Chamber of Commerce of Paris
From left to right: Maximilien Bouteillier – General Secretary, Boubacar Sabaly – Public Relations, Michel Réchal – Technical Manager, Marc Yao – President

Photograph by www.DiscoverParis.net

Daffirma Ibamu presided as master of ceremonies.

Daffirma Ibamu

Daffirma Ibamu – Master of Ceremonies
Photograph by www.DiscoverParis.net

At the opening ceremony, a number of dignitaries took the stage to express their aspirations for African economic development.

Lasana Kouyaté - Former Prime Minister of GuineaSiaka Koné - Commercial and Marketing Director of Télécel FasoMamadou Sangaré - Minister Counsellor of the Ambassador of Burkina Faso

Lasana Kouyaté – Former Prime Minister of Guinea
Siaka Koné – Commercial and Marketing Director of Télécel Faso
Mamadou Sangaré – Minister Counsellor of the Ambassador of Burkina Faso

Photograph by www.DiscoverParis.net

And then the fun began!

Academie Woyo

Academie Woyo
Photograph by www.DiscoverParis.net

The Academie Woyo, representing the Woyo people from the Democratic Republic of the Congo, performed drums and dance. A video of their practice session held at Parc de la Villette in Paris can be viewed here.

Dancing…

Woyo drumming and dancing

Woyo Drumming and Dancing
Photograph by www.DiscoverParis.net

and singing…

Mélodie Rémy and Celia Soulmusic

Mélodie Rémy and Celia Soulmusic
Photograph by www.DiscoverParis.net

Celia Soulmusic’s Facebook page can be viewed here.

Next…a fashion show.

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A Tribute to Jo Privat

Wednesday, April 6th, 2016
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Balajo

Balajo
Photograph by www.DiscoverParis.net

I was recently honored to receive an invitation from author and journalist Claude Dubois to attend a concert at Balajo, a dance hall on rue de Lappe.

Muriel Privat (on left with microphone),  Jo Privat, Junior (on right with accordion)

Muriel Privat (on left with microphone), Jo Privat, Junior (on right with accordion)
Photograph by www.DiscoverParis.net

The concert was held in honor of Jo Privat (1919 – 1996), who played the accordion there for some fifty years. When I arrived, Jo Privat, Junior (the son of Jo Privat) and his wife Muriel were on stage with other musicians performing waltz musette to an appreciative audience of mostly old folks, who were turning on the dance floor.

Claude Dubois Talks about Jo Privat

Claude Dubois Talks about Jo Privat
Photograph by www.DiscoverParis.net

During the intermission, Mr. Dubois took the stage to recount his memories of Jo Privat, whom he was acquainted with, when, as a young man, he frequented Balajo. Mr. Dubois has written a number of books about the colorful history of the places on rue de Lappe, including a 640 page tome entitled La Bastoch (Paris, Tempus Perrin, 2011).

Antoine and Daniela

Antoine and Daniela
Photograph by www.DiscoverParis.net

A number of people were there dressed in clothes that evoked the fashions of the 1930s, including a dapper young couple who posed for a photograph.

Gaston, Claire, and Dominique

Gaston, Claire, and Dominique
Photograph by www.DiscoverParis.net

I liked the scarf that Gaston was wearing, so I asked him to pose with his friends.

Claude Dubois et Raoul D'Aubervilliers

Claude Dubois et Raoul D’Aubervilliers
Photograph by www.DiscoverParis.net

Mr. Dubois posed with a friend Raoul D’Aubervilliers.

A sample of the music of Jo Privat can be heard on YouTube at the following link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RRLvLcYKHyQ.

Claude Dubois’ book on the life of Jo Privat is available on Amazon.fr at the following link: http://amzn.to/1Sb4w6i.

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The Roots of American Music

Thursday, February 18th, 2016
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On Wednesday, February 17, the cultural service of the American Embassy in Paris hosted a concert entitled “The Roots of American Music.” Soprano Nicole Taylor, accompanied by pianist Daniel J. Ernst, sang a medley of spirituals that were composed or arranged by 20th century African-American song writers.

Nicole Taylor, Soprano

Nicole Taylor, Soprano
Photograph by www.DiscoverParis.net

Daniel J Ernst, Pianist

Daniel J Ernst, Pianist
Photograph by www.DiscoverParis.net

The backdrop for the performance was a work of art rendered by French artist Batsh.

Stage for Performance

Stage for the Performance
Photograph by www.DiscoverParis.net

Batsh

Batsh
Photograph by www.DiscoverParis.net

More art by Batsh can be viewed on his Web site and here.

Following the wonderful performance before an appreciative audience, everyone repaired to the Green Room for beverages and hors d’œuvres. Among the attendees at the concert was Madame George Pau-Langevin, Minister of French Overseas Territories.

Madame George Pau-Langevin, Minister of French Overseas Territories

Madame George Pau-Langevin, Minister of French Overseas Territories
Photograph by www.DiscoverParis.net

There are a number of videos of Nicole Taylor on YouTube, including this one, a performance that she gave in Doha, Qatar in 2012.

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Caroline Nin Sings Edith Piaf

Friday, April 24th, 2015
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Caroline Nin

Caroline Nin
Photograph courtesy of Caroline Nin

French chanteuse Caroline Nin opened a one-woman show last night at the Essaïon Theater, singing many of the famous cabaret songs of Edith Piaf. During the performance she recounted anecdotes from Piaf’s life, giving the audience an appreciation of the epoch in which she lived and the events that shaped her. I particularly enjoyed hearing Nin sing Mon Légionnaire, the haunting account of Piaf’s one-night stand with a French legionnaire whom she met in a bar.

Knowing next to nothing about Piaf’s life before I saw Nin’s show, I was intrigued to learn about some of its gritty details.

Nin will perform Thursday evenings in French and Friday and Saturday evenings in English through August 1st. For booking information in English, click here and scroll down to the bottom of the page.

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Tropical Stars Shine over Paris

Saturday, May 10th, 2014
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Collage of Caribbean Singers

Big-name singers from the Caribbean performed last night on an outdoor stage at the Foire de Paris.

VBJ Soul Men

VBJ Soul Men
Photograph by www.DiscoverParis.net

Of all of the performers that came on stage, only one group, the VBJ Soul Men, sang hits that Americans will easily recognize—they gave a powerful rendition of “I’m a Soul Man.” Their Web site (in French) can be found at the following link http://vigonbamyjay.fr

A good time was had by all!

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Disco Is Back!

Thursday, March 13th, 2014
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Tom in Disco Pose

Tom in Disco Pose
Photograph by www.DiscoverParis.net

Our intrepid blogger tries out his disco steps on one of the dance floors at the Great Black Music exposition that is taking place through August 24 at the Cité de la Musique.

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Sacred Music Concerts at Notre Dame Cathedral
By A.D. McKenzie

Thursday, March 7th, 2013
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Lionel Sow

Lionel Sow
Director of Notre Dame Choir

Notre Dame Cathedral is celebrating its 850th anniversary with a year of “sacred music” concerts that run until December of this year.

The world’s most famous church traces its history back to 1163 when construction first began, and music has always been a part of its tradition, says Lionel Sow, head of the Notre Dame Choir and artistic director of the sacred music project.

“We’re having 25 concerts this season and the public will get to explore this rich tradition of ancient music,” he told Paris Insights.

Starting with polyphony and covering music up to the 20th century, the concerts include various orchestras in joint projects with the choir. Leading soloists will also be performing a variety of pieces.

This week, the acclaimed Chamber Orchestra of Paris (OCP) performed Haydn’s “The Creation,” conducted by Thomas Zehetmair and featuring soprano Sophie Karthäuser, tenor Werner Güra, and bass baritone Matthew Brook.

The OCP said that Haydn’s masterpiece oratorio is a “true celebration and glorification of the universe” and that the work was “at home” under the “celestial vaults” of the cathedral. The soaring voices of 60 singers from the Notre Dame Choir added to the uplifting pull of the 18th century composition, which was written for orchestra, choir, and soloists.

Sow says that the choir is not only presenting known works but that it also wants to help the public to “re-discover” rare or unjustly forgotten repertoires such as “La Vierge” oratorio by French composer Jules Massenet, which retells the story of the Virgin Mary.

The cathedral’s recently renovated grand organ will also have a starring role when Notre Dame’s small and select group of organists show off their talents during the year of celebration. On March 19th, Johann Vexo will present works by Franck, Dupré, Duruflé, and Vierne, while on May 28th, the organ recital will be by Olivier Latry, who is also a professor at the Conservatoire de Paris.

The public will get to see the relationship between music and architecture when the church’s acoustic qualities are put to good use for Gregorian chants, Pentecostal music, and a performance by Les Sacqueboutiers, an award-winning brass ensemble from Toulouse that focuses on early music.

The year began with Claudio Monteverdi’s Les Vêpres à la Vierge (Vespers for the Blessed Virgin) and will end in December with a specially commissioned work of the same name by Rome-born French composer Philippe Hersant. This will comprise the full Notre Dame Choir, Les Sacqueboutiers, two organs, and several soloists for a “truly dazzling sound,” promises conductor Sow.

We wish to thank A. D. McKenzie, a Paris-based author and journalist, for her contribution to the Paris Insights blog.

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Memorial to Michel Petrucciani

Friday, January 18th, 2013
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Memorial to Michel Petrucciani by Edouard Detmer

Memorial to Michel Petrucciani
by Edouard Detmer
Photo by www.DiscoverParis.net

 

Michel Petrucciani was a French jazz pianist who was influenced by Duke Ellington at an early age and performed with Kenny Clark and Charles Lloyd. A memorial is dedicated to him at the intersection of rue Duhesme, rue Versigny, and rue Sainte-Isaure. Place Michel Petrucciani features a sidewalk mosaic dedicated to him by painter, sculptor, and life-long friend Edouard Detmer. The mosaic was inaugurated in 2003, four years after Petrucciani’s death.

 

Place Michel Petrucciani

Place Michel Petrucciani
Photo by www.DiscoverParis.net

 

Both the square and the mosaic were created thanks to the initiative of residents of the neighborhood, who wanted to embellish the then-unnamed square.

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Memorial to Django Reinhardt

Saturday, August 11th, 2012
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Memorial to Django Reinhardt

Memorial to Django Reinhardt
Photograph by www.DiscoverParis.net

This column, called a Morris column, stands at place Django Reinhardt in the 18th arrondissement. Bearing the name of this famous jazz guitarist, the column and the place were inaugurated on January 21, 2010 in his memory.

In the July edition of our Paris Insights newsletter, I wrote about Reinhardt and the café in the adjoining town of Saint-Ouen that is dedicated to the type of music that he played.

To view a preview of the newsletter, click here.

Paris Insights is published monthly as a downloadable PDF file. It is available only to paid subscribers for an annual subscription fee of $30.

If you are not a paid subscriber and would like to download the newsletter, please click here. Enter promotional code 11473309154 to receive a $5 discount off the price of an annual subscription.

Bonne lecture!

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A Great Day for a Fourth-of-July Garden Party

Wednesday, July 4th, 2012
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Every year at this time the American ambassador in Paris holds a garden party at his residence to celebrate Independence Day. This year was no exception. Although rain was forecast, the weather turned out to be largely warm and sunny, with only a smidgen of rain. It was, then, a great day for a Fourth-of-July garden party!

The theme this year was American food, and there was lots of that!

I went to the corn dog stand and got two delicious corn dogs, one after the other, served with mustard.

Cord Dog Stand (in foreground)

Corn Dog Stand (in foreground)
Photography by www.DiscoverParis.net

Make Mine with Mustard

Make Mine with Mustard
Photography by www.DiscoverParis.net

Then, I made my way over to the beverage stand where I saw that three American beers were being served. I opted for the craft beer Blue Moon. Nice!

Three American Beers

Three American Beers
Photography by www.DiscoverParis.net

After the beer it was time for fried shrimp. I walked past the hamburger stand…

Hamburger Stand

Hamburger Stand
Photograph by www.DiscoverParis.net

Serving Hamburgers

Serving Hamburgers to an Eager Crowd
Photography by www.DiscoverParis.net

…and made my way to the fried shrimp stand.

Serving Fried Shrimp

Serving Fried Shrimp
Photography by www.DiscoverParis.net

Then, over to the Häagen-Dazs stand for some ice cream…

Häagan-Dazs Stand

Häagan-Dazs Stand
Photograph by www.DiscoverParis.net

…where I ordered a MiniCup Macadamia Nut Brittle. I went back later for a Cream Crisp Cookies & Cream. Heavenly!

I had eaten my fill, so I could safely walk around and look at the desserts without feeling tempted for more. There was an American flag made out of colorful puddings. What a great idea! As people took the dessert, a server behind the counter would immediately replace the empty space with an appropriately-colored pudding.

American Flag

American Flag
Photograph by www.DiscoverParis.net

Then there were cookies and doughnuts…

Cookies and Doughnuts

Cookies and Doughnuts
Photograph by www.DiscoverParis.net

And cheesecake…

Band Admirer

Band Admirer
Photograph by www.DiscoverParis.net

Oops! Wrong photo. And cheesecake…

Cheesecake

Cheesecake
Photograph by www.DiscoverParis.net

And cotton candy…

Cotton Candy Stand

Cotton Candy Stand
Photograph by www.DiscoverParis.net

A Fourth-of-July celebration wouldn’t be complete with flags, speeches, and music…

Bringing up the Colors

Bringing up the Colors
Photograph by www.DiscoverParis.net

The official choir of the American Embassy, The Dip Notes, sang the “Marseillaise” and then the “Star Spangled Banner”. Great harmony, ladies!

The Dip Notes

The Dip Notes
Photography by www.DiscoverParis.net

Both American Ambassador Charles H. Rivkin and French Prime Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault gave speeches about the importance of French-American friendship in confronting the problems of our strife-torn world.

Ambassador Rivkin and Prime Minister Ayrault

Ambassador Rivkin and Prime Minister Ayrault
Photograph by www.DiscoverParis.net

And finally, The Diplomats, the U.S. Naval Forces Europe band, played rock, funk, rhythm and blues, and pop.

Band Admirer

Band Admirer
Photograph by www.DiscoverParis.net

Oops! How did that photo get in again? Here is a picture of the lead singer belting out “Flash Light” by Parliament. Awesome!

The Diplomats

The Diplomats
Photography by www.DiscoverParis.net

It was a great day to be an American in Paris!

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We participate in Wanderfood Wednesdays. Head over there to explore food from around the world!

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