These two tunes — #212 and #214 from the Bal Folk Tune Book — are both from the “others” section. They are their own sort of set dances, i.e., dances linked to a particular locale with a specific dance associated with them. And they seem like two of the “old fashioned” tunes. The kind of tunes that folks call “the good old old ones.” The dance for Pas d’Été can be seen here.
And the dance for Cochonchine can be seen here.
Pas d’Été has this fingering sequence on the second half that should be VERY easy, but I find it so challenging to stay in time with it. Essentially, sequences where you have quick (but not VERY quick) notes in the same direction, with a sort of repetitive arpeggio vibe … I have a hard time keeping an even pace. It’s very weird.
A humble tune from the Bal Folk Tune Book; it does not even have a name listed*. I’m wondering if anyone knows the name, and even if there is a lyric. This tune has everything I love about bourrées the streams of eighth notes, the odd melodic accents that make the 3/8 meter seem like a faux pas that is not actually faux. Dedicated to Brigid Chapin, as she begins her graduate program this week!
Thanks to -Y- over on mel.net I have discovered that this is a tune called “La Ricoise!” Check out these vids of others playing same:
The band, Le Bon Truc, got together for the first time in four months and played on the porch. Steve (clarinet) was a little more socially distant that Barb and I because his is a wind instrument, but we sounded great and had fun and actually (*weepy*) shared space together. This 3 beat bourrée is one of our favorite tunes. This was literally the first tune of the afternoon for us. It’s tune #62 in the Bal Folk Tune Book.
On December 1, something happened over at Auvergne Diffusion that, frankly, I had completely given up hope would ever happen. They made downloads of recordings from their vast, glorious catalogue available for the first time. It being my birthday on December 2, I struck with alacrity. At around five euros per recording (OMFG, the Euro is so low!) and the fact that PayPal handles the conversion, I don’t know how AuvDif could have made it easier. Goodbye, shipping and handling.
As a first offering, AuvDif offered nine recordings by Les Brayauds – a collective featuring the brothers Didier and Eric Champion – and one by Komred, a quintet led by the fabulous Etienne Loic, a master bourrée-ist who I’ve featured about before.
For someone interested in the beauties of old – obscure, archaic music forms – I am a complete non-aesthete when it comes to recorded sound. Vinyl – meh. CDs, other physical media? No, I don’t feel the need to “own the physical object.” Storage challenges don’t improve my quality of life. I want to hear this music! I am voracious, I get it! The soundtrack for this life of mine. Thank you, Auvergne Diffusion. You have improved my quality of life.
Here’s one of my all time favorite impromptu videos featuring Etienne Loic. A very Auvergnat jam session taking place at Embraud in 2013. Enjoy this oceanic wave of bourrée. More can be found at an earlier post, here.
A conversation over at Mel.Net has gotten me thinking about my favorite bourrées. These are sort of the reels of the Bal Folk world in that they are uniquely foundational to the dance and music culture. So, here are five bourrées that knock my socks off.
Frédéric Paris, Bourrée de St Pierre / Le fendeur (from Carnet de Bal)
St. Pierre is a thing of beauty — so simple — but then the vielle a roue (played by Patrick Bouffard) starts droning and you almost physically feel like you’re taking flight. Carnet de Bal is one of the most influential recordings amongst the accordéonaire junta — still transports me every time.
Marcel Plane, La Planette (from L’accordéon En Auvergne)
An archival, anthology recording put out in the US on Sylex records. This particular recording is, I believe, from 1931. The music was very different then … not folk, not archival, but contemporary. And very speedy! I’ve been working at this tune for a while. Almost there.
Patrick Bouffard Trio, Revenant De Paris/Les Timides (from Revenant de Paris)
The second tune is the star of this set. You’ll know you’ve gotten there when you suddenly feel like celebrating a victory. Bouffard’s trio (with Cyril Roche on accordion) is one of the most energetic units on the planet. The counter melodies are mind-boggling … also something I’m trying to learn how to do.
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”
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.