“Valse à Bonnejoie” is a tune I first heard of Frédéric Paris Carnet de Bal cassette. It’s a standard in the repertoire, and one that I sort of ignored for years and years. Who knows why? (Hint: not me) It’s also #103 in the Bal Folk Tune Book. Even though it is written in D, I am playing it in G. So there. Take that.
The Free Reed Liberation Orchestra is back! This time playing one of my favorite tunes, by one of my favorite people. “Charlie” was written by Sylvain Piron, in honor of Charlie Chaplin. It’s a French scottish (which is to say, a medium tempo couples dance in 4/4, and NOT from Scotland). Sylvain himself played the tune into a video for me in 2011, that can be found here.
The F.R.L.O (Dec 2020 edition)
Anahata, Gary Chapin,
Margaret Cox, Steve Gruverman,
Eric W. Johnson, Little
Eggy, Howard Mitchell,
Gren Penn, Rick St. John,
Janneke Slagter, Barbara Truex
We do this every once in a while,
contact Gary Chapin if you want in!
This tune is sort of two things and the same thing. On the one hand it’s a song in 6/8 called “Les Bouns Gorçous” (in Occitan), on the other hand it’s a scottish-valse found in the Bal Folk Tune Book (#209). When you hear one and then the other, you have that uncanny feeling, “This sounds like something, but it’s also different.” For this recording, I play the 6/8 tune first, a slow intro and then two times through, and then go into the scottish-valse. The 6/8 tune can be found in La Bourrée, the pre-war tune book that I reproduced here on the blog. Here’s the tune, with lyrics (which I almost sang, but really have no sense of Occitan pronunciation and didn’t want to mangle it):
Again, this may sound spookily familiar. One reason might be that Gentiane did this song on their album, but sung it with a French lyric, “Pendant le Messe,” and then also went into the scottish-valse. Here’s that:
A mazurka by the great Stephane Delicq called Septembre, but played as part of the December 2020 melodeon.net tune-of-the-month. Also happens to be the first day of snow in Maine. I learned this tune from Catherine Piron-Paira around 2006 when she and Sylvain Piron visited us in Maine, and I heard her playing it on a bowed psaltry. For years I thought it was a medieval tune. It’s true that it is very characteristic of Delicq, but one of those characteristics is timelessness.
I am super proud of this one. This is a tune I wrote over twenty years ago, for my nephew Doriel’s birth. A quick mazurka, originally called “Allez! Allez!” — but then we never actually called it that. So, it’s, “Mazurka Vite!”
The trio playing is my beloved, Le Bon Truc, with Steve Gruverman and Barb Truex — both of whom are amazing. I’ve been learning video recording and mixing since the pandemic shut us down, and I think this is my best work, yet. Here’s the sheet music.
This is the THIRD recording by the Free Reed Liberation Orchestra and our first Breton offering. This project has been a blast and something that would never have happened without the pandemic or me being laid off, so that says … something. I’m not sure what!
“War Hent Kerrigouarch” (The Road to Kerrigouarch) is a Breton tune that I first heard on the Kornog album, Premiere. Later, Alisdair Fraser did it with cellist Natalie Haas as part of their Derriére Les Carreaux set. Jamie McMenemy (of Kornog) recorded it on his own first album in 1981. I have no idea if its trad or if McMenemy wrote it. The F.R.L.O (nov 2020) is Anahata, Matthew Bampton, Gary Chapin, Margaret cox, Steve Gruverman, Benjamin Hemmendinger, Eric W. Johnson, Little Eggy, Janneke Slagter, Greg Smith, Barbara Truex.
My son, Max (living in Japan) brought this tune to my attention when he transcribed Alistair Fraser’s set for my band (Le Bon Truc) to play. We may still do that, COVID willing, but in the meantime, I hope this pleases him.
Three Bourrées from the Bal Folk Tune Book (#81, 77, 82) with Lou Diziou be Pierrou in the middle. Also, footage of fire. Decided to play these as melody only because … sometimes that’s a good test of your playing. Can you keep the rhythm without accompaniment? These are all great melodies.
Good thing I recorded this earlier in the week because I’m not feeling especially delightful today and this is a delightful polka. Photos by Sunshine Perlis. This is tune #193 in the Bal Folk Tune book, I my have doubled the third part, once. It took everything I had not to double it every time.
Numbers 104 and 105 in the Bal Folk Tune Book. Played quietly to suit the day.