Fête de la Musique
In France, June 21 is the longest day and heralds the coming summer. Since 1982, June 21 has also been celebrated as Fête de la Musique – World Music Day.
This event, open to amateur and professional musicians of all genres and styles, is an opportunity to perform in public in front of friendly and hopefully, forgiving crowds. Music happens everywhere from the big city suburbs to the smallest villages.
Here, on the other side of the world, Alliance Francaise in Palmerston North has grown its own winter Fête de la Musique tradition. This year, while not held on the exact day, organiser Isabelle Poff-Pencole says the local Fête is in the spirit of the northern hemisphere occasion.
Along with visiting guest performers, the event showcases the diversity of the local Frenchspeaking community, while promoting all styles of French music from rock and jazz, to chanson, opera, poems, and traditional songs.
The singers and musicians will be entertaining for free from 3pm to 10pm in City Library on George St this Saturday June 18.
Headlining the seven hours of performances is the Wellingtonbased duo of Rachel France and the Phoenix Foundation’s Tom Callwood. Together they are Sans Souci – French for ‘no worries’.
In the evening, the pair with Rachel on accordion and vocals and Tom on guitar, will be paying tribute to the songs of Edith Piaf, bringing all the sense of love, loss, passion and dramatic flare the petite chanteuse was famous for. Expect a set full of of poignancy, playful arrangements and repartee.
Sans Souci will be joined by local band The Weird Prophets, fronted by Emmanuel Yiannoutsos, and a group called Les Bonhommes de Neige (The Snowmen).
Earlier in the day there will be chanson by Pascal Francois, French opera from Virginia Warbrick, folk from Bruce Thomson, classical piano by Marius Hoffman, and items from local Alliance Francaise choral groups. Getting the afternoon underway soon after 3pm will be an extended performance by a choir from Wanganui Collegiate School.
Afternoon tea, and later, a light supper will be served, with more Fête de la Musique details at french.org.nz/fecircte-de-la-musique.html
‘No Worries’’ with Rachel France on accordion and vocals, with guitarist Tom Callwood. The duo Sans Souci are special guests from Wellington for Feˆte de la Musique in City Library on Saturday.