the sounds of summer

The summer sun has finally reached Paris. It took a while, with chilly temperatures until just last week. To celebrate the summer solstice on June 21st, Paris holds an annual event in which music fills the air. This musical celebration began in Paris 28 years ago and now takes place around the world.

I first experienced the sounds of Fête de la Musique last year on a visit to Paris, just before jetting off to the Isle of Skye for work. It remains one of favorite nights, as every corner of Paris is filled with song from 7pm until early morning. Classical orchestras, jazz bands, rock musicians, or simply a man standing on the street performing his best rendition of Elton John’s ‘Rocket Man’. Quite a number of characters, as well as large scale talent find their way into this festival of music and it’s a sensation to weave in and out of the streets with tunes of one performer melting into the next. Personally, I love the ‘organized chaos’ of it all and wish it lasted longer than one night.

In the midst of the melodies as we caroused the right bank, we stopped for dinner at a little bistro, and much to my delight the jazz band featured a tap dancer, tapping to many old American favorites.

One of the most impressive and certainly most passionate performers we heard was Buika, a Spanish singer who filled the air with a unique mix of flamenco and jazz. The jardin du Palais-Royal was the perfect setting for such a diva.

As we biked from the vicinity of the Louvre, too impatient to wait two hours on line to hear the Orchestra de Paris, and much more eager to wander in the direction our ears chose to take us, we biked back to the Marais. Here was quite a scene! The streets were filled with dancing and drinking…and yes, a lot of singing. Though not sure who was part of the line-up. Trying to avoid the madness, we took a few narrower paths and came upon a small crowd of people at the door of the Bibliotheque Historique. Like three small birds, these women’s operatic voices filled the air. We were instantly mesmerized. The perfect notes upon which to end the night.

My mom once said, the greatest talent is the gift of song. Maybe in my next life.

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2 Comments

  1. Barbara June 29, 2010

    Great post! Even though I can’t “do” fête de musique the way I used to, I just love how doing something as simple as walking the from the park you can encounter some 15 different forms of music. One second I’m waltzing with my son to accordion music, the next second we’re clapping our hands to gospel! It’s a fabulous experience.

    Reply
    • Kasia June 29, 2010

      Thanks! Your son must love it! It’s the diversity in the music and the appeal to all ages that makes it such a spectacular event. Shame it’s only once a year!

      Reply

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