Saturday, 13 August 2011


It's a tough time here in Ariège just now. Particularly for an indecisive Libran music lover like me.

Thursday: the first night of the new Ercé in Jazz festival, or Vivaldi meets Guinness meets Brazil with the violin group Cordzam in Salies du Salat?

Friday: Blues in Sem, the second night of Ercé in Jazz, or Lëk Sèn at the first night of Ingénieuse Afrique in Foix?

Saturday: Eastern European music from Zaman Zaman at the café culturel Le Souleilla in our neighbouring village, the third night of Ercé in Jazz, or two gigs (Ahmed Cissé and Les Choeurs de Brazza) at Ingénieuse Afrique?

Sunday: lots of folklore-y stuff in St Girons at Autrefois les Couserans, the son et lumière Le Secret des Cathares in Foix, or Harouna Dembele at Ingénieuse Afrique?

Monday: the night market at Castillon - always good fun - or a several-times-postponed trip to Toulouse to collect an oven?

Tuesday: the Choeur de Crimée performing Rachmaninov's Vespers and other goodies in the church at Le Mas d'Azil .... or an early night? Okay, I admit it; after five consecutive (very) late nights and many hours spent dancing, we chose the early night .... but the week went on, and we'll be catching up with the Choeur de Crimée next week at the Festival de Saint Lizier ......

There's always a big sense of build up in the fortnight approaching 15 August, which is a public holiday here (Assumption), and none the more so than in years like this when it falls on a Monday and thus creates a long holiday weekend. "France at a snail's pace!" cried our regional paper; according to one commentator it's the time when many holiday homes get opened up, and camping cars get dusted off, for the one and only occasion in the year. After Assumption thoughts, and holidaymakers, begin to turn homewards, the village fête reigns supreme, and the prospect of la rentrée begins to loom large. In a couple of weeks we'll have the roads to ourselves again.

One dilemma we don't have is whether to pass the next four nights with our fellow villagers under the plane trees at Rimont's annual fête locale. Why? Well, if you've ever heard any of the bands that trawl village fêtes here you don't need to ask. If you haven't, think Birdie Song meets 1980s French pop meets Songs From The Shows meets Jonny Hallyday take-offs, all played at ear shattering volume through appalling sound systems (from Grillou we can hear not only our own fête, but that of our two neighbouring villages, though thankfully not all at the same time). Maybe you just have to be there to appreciate it, but I think I'll just leave that one to the imagination ...

PS Monday's band is called Ad'vil, which also happens to be a brand of ibuprofen. I rest my case.

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