Friday 19 September 2008

Jeudis de Perpignan

Thu 7, 14 Aug

From 7 till midnight, every Thursday evening through the holiday period, the centre of Perpignan hosts a mini street music festival, with a wide range of traditional and popular music from France and round the world. This year we saw Spi and La Gaudriole do a cracking bal folk set that had the whole of the Place de la République dancing, klezmer, trad jazz, a fanfare from Bénin, songs composed by Catalan women, even a parade of geese led through town by an accordionist.

The final spot on our second night there was the cobla band La Mil.lenaria playing sardanas - what else? - accompanied by a tractor-drawn mobile carillon. The carillonist (?) sits in a cabin at the back at a keyboard, and it's really weird to hear a tune played by a peal of bells moving down the street. Their final piece was Lluis Llach's L'Estaca, the number one Catalan anthem from the 1970s, still going strong, belted out by cobla, carillon and the voices of a couple of hundred spectators, at midnight.

Couldn't happen in England.

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