The Bal Folk Tune Book Project 2020

That’s one. Two hundred ten more to go!

My admiration for Bal Folk: Traditional Dance Music from Central France is well documented and knows no bounds, as is my appreciate for Dave Mallison, publisher of said volume. Released in 2010, the tunebook brought together the beloved (and obscure) “Pink Book” and “Blue Book” of Centre France music lore. I wrote about the book in 2011, and interviewed Mallinson about it shortly thereafter. It’s great and you should buy it.

Buy this book.

Today — just over a fortnight into our covid-19 confinement — I am taking on a project. I will record every one of the 2011 tunes in the tune book on YouTube videos, similar to the videos I’ve been posting on my channel for years. I don’t know how long it will take, and I’m not setting a demanding pace for myself (adding stress is not my goal), but I have decided on a couple of procedural norms.

  1. I will not be posting the dots with the videos. You should order the book.
  2. I will not be doing these in order, but I will also not being doing them randomly. There might be a clump of scottishes followed by a clump of waltzes, then bourrées, etc. It is all according to my whim. (Bwa. Ha. Ha?)
  3. I will be recording on all of my accordions (one at a time, not in a bunch), so the keys may differ from the key in the book. Welcome to diato world!
  4. If I have already done a recording of a tune, I will not necessarily redo it for this project (though I might — since my channel dates back to 2008 and, presumable, I’ve improved since then). But I will include it in the page I am constructing for this project so that, ultimately, every tune in the book will be on that page.
  5. I may post links to others’ recordings of these tunes in addition to mine, but not to replace them. If others want to take it upon themselves to join me in this project I will happily highlight your recordings.

Thank you! And here’s another: unnamed scottish. Tune #2 in the book.

Two Alsatian branles

Played these tunes at church this week. I don’t think I made the gormless accordion face there. Go figure. Sounds good, though! And it’s pronounced “brawl,” with an extra bit of nasal business between the “l” and the “w.”


Night Before Thanksgiving Performance!

LE BON TRUC will ring in the holiday season with a long set at Blue in Portland, ME on November 27 from 7:30-9Gary Chapin (accordions), Steve Gruverman (clarinets, bombard), and Barb Truex (dulcimer, tenor guitar, banjo uke) specialize in music from many areas of France, much of it from the folk dance traditions.  A few other fun pieces always get thrown in too. This is officially an “Irish Night” at Blue but the broader category is “Celtic” which covers much of France (and Spain) beyond the familiar Ireland, Scotland, Wales, and England. Le Bon Truc’s repertoire encompasses tunes from Brittany, Alsace, Auvergne and more. There is always an Irish session at Blue after the featured concert. Come join us and get your winter season rolling!


Three Flat Bourrées

When I got my first flat keyed accordion (the Dino Baffetti in F/Bb/Eb), I asked the band if we could do some flat tunes just because. This was the first. A set of bog norm bourrées in three performed at Port City Blue — in Portland, ME — about a year ago. The tunes are 1. Bourree Droite 2. Bourree de St. Pierre 3. Bourree d’Egletons.



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