UPDATE: I’ve gotten some push back on this post from folks (great stuff in the comment section), essentially saying that some of these videos are not exemplars of their regional styles, but are just examples of dances done at the Big Bal. I think that’s fair, but still think it’s interesting to see these as documentations of what’s going on at the Big Bal, especially for those of us who would have a hard time ever making it there. Following up from the post of French Dance Field Recordings, here is the second half of Chris Ryall’s amazing collection of videos, or dance as he found it in the wild. Chris writes, “Breton dance is often done in lines, traditionally snaking around the floor intertwining and ‘meeting people.'” Here is the repository: Breton Rond St. Vincent – a very simple village dance that has become a standard An Dro (An Dro = “the turn”) Another An Dro – Wild at the end! Tricot (mixed An Dro and Hanter Dro) Plinn (Simple, very peasant, gets wild improv from musicians) Another Plinn Suite Plinn (Same rhythm. Couples dance with fast and slow parts) “Standard” Gavotte” (Danced as a suite with varying speeds) Gavotte de l’Aven (small valley in the Cornouaille with it’s own “dreamy sway” style – this is just part of a “suite gavotte”
A few weeks ago my job took me within stopping distance of Sunderland, MA, so I stopped at the Button Box. It was a great time. I met Margaret of the e-mails and got to sit among the instruments. One stood out among the rest. A used Castagnari Tommy in D/G that’s there. I enjoyed most of the instruments I tried, but this one was just magical. The feel was effortless, so very responsive. Here’s me playing “Mominette,” a scottish by Maxou, of La Chavannée fame. This tune has become my “go to” piece for trying out instruments. If I had the cash, it would be hard to pass this one up.
Blog reader Mark van Nieuwstadt wrote me informing me of a bourrée tune book he had come across. It’s in Dutch, he writes, “but it contains an interesting collection of bourrée tunes from the Berry region, and detailed descriptions of dances. I happen to know that the writer, Harry Franken, was a very knowledgeable amateur musicologist.” Aside from this collection of bourrées, Franken “collected many tunes in the field and published an impressive collection of tunes from the southern part of the Netherlands.”
The tune book is called Youp ‘Nannette. It is posted as a series of images on Picasa and can be found here.
Melodeonist Chris Ryall spent August of 2013 at Fête Embraud (La Chavanée) and Grand Bal de l’Europe St. Gervais. He shot a lot of video. He writes:
“The collection was intended to inform some of the … shall we say, ‘different’ … versions of these dance rhythms heard in UK pub sessions. The general focus on the dancers and their movement is intentional. If your play of a melody ‘informs the feet’ … it is probably about right!”
Some of the videos are posted on Facebook (possibly requiring Flash); others are on YouTube. The first batch of videos presented here focus on French dances. Breton dances will be featured in the next post.