A little boy watches a jazz band from the shoulders of his father.
Archive for the ‘music’ Category
Jazz bands make their appearance on rue Mouffetard quite often, but accordionists are rare.
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…
Daffirma Ibamu presided as master of ceremonies.
At the opening ceremony, a number of dignitaries took the stage to express their aspirations for African economic development.
And then the fun began!
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.
Celia Soulmusic’s Facebook page can be viewed here.
Next…a fashion show.
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.
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.
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).
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.
I liked the scarf that Gaston was wearing, so I asked him to pose with his friends.
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.
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.
The backdrop for the performance was a work of art rendered by French artist Batsh.
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.
There are a number of videos of Nicole Taylor on YouTube, including this one, a performance that she gave in Doha, Qatar in 2012.
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.
Big-name singers from the Caribbean performed last night on an outdoor stage at the Foire de Paris.
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!
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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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.
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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