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.