June 21st has become my new favorite day. June 21st is a sort of holiday in France. Sort of because it's not an official national holiday where everyone stays home from work to grill out or give their kids presents. But it is a day of celebration: celebration of music! Throughout Paris (and I'm assuming other parts of France, but I can't speak for them), every street corner, every staircase, every restaurant terrace, and roundabout center became a stage. I'd heard that all day long music would be playing in every imaginable corner of the city. We were in school through the day, so we can only present the offerings of the evening, but here it goes, 7pm to 10pm Paris Fête de la Musique in 30 second video clips!
We took the train into the city center, picked a stop with no real reason, and then wandered. When we tired of wondering those streets, we hopped on another train to another stop, and wandered some more, taking in the sights and sounds. Perhaps the most amazing part of the night was the fact that of the first 10 or 15 bands that we saw, not a single one of them was playing a music style we'd heard from another group. Here was the first group that greeted us and took us comfortably back home to Africa, where we lived the 2 years prior to France, hearing this music pumped out of every church we stepped foot in... the African Church Music:
You may have noticed in the first video that which quickly became our favorite part of the festival: the dancing guys. It seemed nearly every band had a dancing guy who would just hang out near the action and dance, dance, dance. Watch for these throughout, they do get better. The next band we found was not one we expected to see in Paris and it told us that we had a fun night ahead. Some sort of Asian winds group (I don't know the instruments, the country of origin, or the music genre, so that's as exact as I can get):
A natural transition from the soothing sounds of the East... grunge rock! And probably my favorite dancing guy of the night (who looks like he's about 17, but we were there in person, and the guy was easily 45, which makes it funnier somehow):
Our next band we stumbled upon was a little jazz/pop duo. There was a crowd gathering for this one, so we think they must have been an opening act for a bigger band to come, but an enjoyable continuation on the night.
A mere 50 yards down the street from the jazz/pops was this bluesy group of southern rock types:
Try to ignore the fact that this emo rock band is playing in front of an underwear store, and instead watch the dancing guy in the back right. He is stellar:
Ah the Rastas! This Reggae group was fun to spend some time with, especially when the dancing got underway. I'm convinced that the skinny sound guy behind the band is a sold-out follower of the Rastafarian religion. Or he could simply be really into the music:
This drumline of sorts was the loudest group we heard. The also had a good crowd and a nice vibe going. No doubt they were enjoying themselves:
The last group we found was also my favorite. The white hoodies. I'm not really sure how to describe their music. After listening to them for a few songs, the best we could come up with was an irish folk / punk / ska / rap crew. We thought they were singing in another language entirely, it wasn't until the 3rd song that we actually recognized some French in there. By the way, this video was taken a few minutes before 10pm, and yeah, it's still light out like mid-afternoon:
All in all a great night! Hope you enjoyed our recap. I'm looking forward to June 21 2011, but hoping that it'll be warm enough I can go outside with something other than 2 long-sleeve shirts and a sweater on!