noces harmoniques

noces harmoniques the Cote d’Azur sometimes has a reputation for being one of the more conservative regions of france, given the average age of the population and the generally right-leaning political enviroment. however, conservative is not a tag you could apply to the small hamlet of Camails around the final weekend in august. for over ten years, this sleepy collection of houses nestled among acres of vineyards near Le Thoronet has played host to the 7es Noces Harmoniques – a small musical ‘spectacle’ with a worldy hippyish feel.

think odd flutes and string instruments from the far east. bagpipes from Galicia and the heart of france. songs played on accordians in regional french dialects that are practically extinct. the level of musicianship is particularly high, but not to the extent of being elitist – there’s a number of workshops where you can have a go yourself.

the stage itself is a small platform in front of rows of benches laid out in the main courtyard at the heart of the hamlet. light refreshments and awesome veggie fare (the mixed veg beignets were crispily/fluffily divine) skirt the back of the square.

given that the only promotion for this festival happens by word of mouth, there was a strong sense of camaraderie among the small crowd who included japanese, shamans, a gabonese rasta, north africans and the more liberally-minded sections of french society. given the number of artists performing, there was a blur between exactly who was the audience and who was performing.
as the musicians played, artists painted murals, kids danced and the late summer sun smiled.

some random video clips:

Eric Merry (tambours sur cadre):

[kml_flashembed movie="http://www.youtube.com/v/j2d5ul6QsKE" width="425" height="350" wmode="transparent" /]

Hombeline (voix, accordéon diatonique) extraits de Chants d’émoi (chants de femmes toubadours):

[kml_flashembed movie="http://www.youtube.com/v/gjL6N8qMCvI" width="425" height="350" wmode="transparent" /]

[kml_flashembed movie="http://www.youtube.com/v/Nh9RMYFGR7g" width="425" height="350" wmode="transparent" /]

Bolokan Fola (percussions et balafons, musiques et chants d’Afrique de l’Ouest):

[kml_flashembed movie="http://www.youtube.com/v/QWPozm9pWtg" width="425" height="350" wmode="transparent" /]

[kml_flashembed movie="http://www.youtube.com/v/dnTvK7M5XQo" width="425" height="350" wmode="transparent" /]

Denis Grandclément (guitare électroacoustique) et invités:

[kml_flashembed movie="http://www.youtube.com/v/52zV0Wwp5L0" width="425" height="350" wmode="transparent" /]

not sure who this was, but he was truly gifted (feel free to comment below):

[kml_flashembed movie="http://www.youtube.com/v/YqQeU2nj-Y8" width="425" height="350" wmode="transparent" /]

[kml_flashembed movie="http://www.youtube.com/v/favfqBE7t7A" width="425" height="350" wmode="transparent" /]

other links:

a few pics from the area

noces harmoniques website

hopefully more pictures to come…

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