A few nights ago there was another of the ‘open mic’ nights in the village hall “George Brasssens” in Chenaud, Dordogne, France; where the ‘open’ section is followed by a main band. As Chenaud is only, and quite literally, ‘just down the road’ from Bon Abri in Puymangou – although its a steeps, tree-lined and very winding road through the forest down to the valley of the river Dronne – we set off through the darkness for a drink and to enjoy some music.
We were running late and missed most of the ‘open mic’ performers but were able to catch a couple (guitar and flute/vocals) singing in English followed by an entertaining trio that performed chansons francaise which had most of the audience, young and old, singing along with them. This chansons has an apparent simplicity that makes you think you have a grasp of a very simple song. However these songs, I am led to believe, have a depth of meaning and subtlety of undertone that is completely missed by all but the most fluent French speaking non-French person.
With this in mind the final performers took the stage (les cagettes de l’ouest). Starting as a solo act the singer/guitarist was later joined by a percussionist and an amazingly agile and eccentric fiddle player.
Later their numbers were bulked out with a couple of girls adding their voices. They performed their own material in the chansons francaise style. The audience were very receptive and their performance was really entertaining.
Despite what I said earlier about chanson francaise when they gave us ‘jamais, non jamais’ even I, after a few cups of red wine, could add my voice to the chorus (jamais, jamais, jamais……). As my French tutor (and more of her in another blog) said when we discussed this night out, “there you are, another word memorised”.
I am already looking forward to another night in the salle de George Brassens in Chenaud and will keep my eyes open for another performance by ‘les cagettes de l’ouest’.
I will keep you informed – sante.