Welcome, Summer

Fête de la Musique is my favorite day of the year.

Fête de la Musique takes place every year on the summer solstice, the longest day of the year. It started in France and now is celebrated in other countries around the world. In Paris, musicians perform free outdoor concerts all over the city from late afternoon to the wee hours of the morning. There are so many performers that you could walk down a small street and see several groups playing.

This year, I felt like we lived dozens of nights in one night. My friend and I started out at the Centre Culturel Irlandais and watched Moxie, an Irish band, perform. I love Irish music, so I was in heaven.  72.fetedelamusique.2014a 72.fetedelamusique.2014b

They were followed by Gavin James, an acoustic guitarist and singer-songwriter. He had a sweet voice. In addition to his original songs, he sang classics like “What a Wonderful World” and “La Vie en Rose.”

Later that night, we saw:

– a male brass band in funny uniforms performing covers of popular songs in the Luxembourg Gardens

– a cool Christian band in a dark church courtyard strung with colorful lights

– a huge outdoor gay nightclub with smoke coming out of surrounding buildings’ windows

– a band outside a restaurant where we watched old and young people dancing for a while before joining in (I asked my friend if he wanted to go dance, and he said no. A few songs later, I asked if he was sure. He said yes. He looked at my face and astutely realized that my actual question was, Can we dance? He asked if I wanted to. I nodded my head enthusiastically. He said, Okay, let’s go. I figured he was humoring me, so I was surprised when he began to dance like crazy. If he really doesn’t like dancing, he did a good job of pretending he does.)

– a group of musicians sitting in a circle and playing traditional Irish music in only the glow of lamplight—magical72.fetedelamusique.2014cI went home humming.

Does your city participate in World Music Day?

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3 thoughts on “Welcome, Summer

  1. I missed it this year as we were driving back to Luxembourg, but there were concerts around Brussels. The quality, at least in Tours, always varied a lot – from literally people just playing songs off a boombox to proper bands or travelling salsa parties etc. Maybe in Paris the bar is set higher, but I quite like the cacophony of such varied acts all together in a relatively small space.

    • The kind of music does vary and the quality too. That’s why the friend I went with never used to enjoy the day– until this year. 🙂 He didn’t like the music in the neighborhoods he was in. However, I’ve stumbled upon great groups, and if there are some I didn’t take to, the great thing is I could just move on.

      Either way, a boombox doesn’t count, though!

  2. Pingback: Make Music New York | I Say Oui

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