Oh, go on then …

Just one more.

Les Ongles Noirs

This is Les Ongles Noirs, another team of Breton ragamuffins playing the streets of Paimpol while we were en vacances.

I narrowly missed videoing their previous song which involved a man attacking some small children in the front with his bass saxophone, but this one’s still pretty wild. If you’ve been following this thread of posts, it’ll scarcely need mentioning that I’ve no idea what the song is called or what it’s about. (I should also apologise for the woman who keeps edging her way into shot from the left…)

(Street flavour).

J’ai pas deux coeurs…

I’ve got a few things to post in the next few days, and to be honest, there’s a bit of queue forming…

I have more street recordings from Brittany to upload, and although I fear your attention may be beginning to wonder, I reckon that these ones are probably the best of the lot. In fact this particular set are just great.

These ones are again taken from our trip to Paimpol, and were again recorded literally round the corner from the last lot. It was an embarrassment of riches, I’ll tell you.

Fatras

We’d actually seen this lot wheeling a real collection of idiosyncratic instruments and… well… boxes through the cobbles of the town, and thought they looked fun. We were fortunate enough to catch them later, and they didn’t disappoint…

I’ve watched this so many times now I’ve lost all sense of perspective on it, but I hope it does convey the effortless sense of fun and cool that surrounded their performance.

Fatras are from Rennes and get their name from the French word for a jumble or hotchpotch. Hopefully, you’ve watched the video and can see why I got so excited about seeing them – in fact at one point in my recordings you can hear me frantically telling Michael to go and get some money off his mother so that I could buy the CD. I loved the brass section, the drummer banging on a box and the general collection of cries, cheers and claps from everyone. Best thing I’ve seen in ages.

As I’ve said, I managed to make a few recordings, of which these three are the best. The first track is Coquin D’Hiver, the one they sing in the video, but I’ve no idea what the names of the other two are, as they are not on the album. As you’ve come to expect, each recording is marred slightly by an endearing collection of fumbles and mumbles, but remember “street flavour”…

Coquin D’Hiver

Instrumental

Unknown Song

Streets of Paimpol

One of the things that I loved about our stay in Brittany was the amount of music going on all around and good stuff too – it was quite a contrast to some of the fairly lame efforts you come across on English streets. It was a real thrill and in Paimpol, particularly, you just didn’t know what you were going to come across around the next corner. In all I recorded four acts playing on the street (and bought two CDs).

The first people I saw were these three players who set up outside the junk shop I was poking around in. I was still getting used to this videoing mullarkey and there were one or two comedy moments as I tried to make this recording (the first one involving a van reversing slowly across the shot and another where an elderly woman walked across the screen with her fingers in her ears…). But eventually I got this. The lady in the middle is playing a bombarde, and her two partners are playing the Breton pipes which I think are known as “biniou”.

To be honest, at first it’s a bit of a hard listen to our American educated ears, but stick with it, there’s something rather haunting about it.

(I should say, these are street recordings, and I am notoriously cack-handed about these things, so you’ll have to put up with general murmurings, background interference and camera wobbles. Think of it as additional “street flavour”, I say…)

I also came across this trio of musicians, quite literally around the next corner, who had a distinct Breton sound but had mixed into it tinges of Irish music, jazz and Klezmer. The feller in the hat looks like he’s playing another bombarde but obviously there’s something different about it, he’s getting a completely different sound out of it.

After this song, the fiddle player explained that they called themselves Kornigell, which is apparently the Breton word for a seabird and also some sort of Breton dance step. I can’t find anything about them on the Internet, so I guess I can claim this as some sort of exclusive. You heard it here first!

The fiddle player also asked me to send him a copy of the video, I hope this suffices. Many thanks for the performance and for patiently explaining everything in English, after my French had let me down so miserably…

Street Music in Paimpol

One of the things that I loved about our stay in Brittany was the amount of music going on all around and good stuff too – it was quite a contrast to some of the fairly lame efforts you come across on English streets. It was a real thrill and in Paimpol, particularly, you just didn’t know what you were going to come across around the next corner. In all I recorded four acts playing on the street (and bought two CDs).

The first people I saw were these three players who set up outside the junk shop I was poking around in. I was still getting used to this videoing mullarkey and there were one or two comedy moments as I tried to make this recording (the first one involving a van reversing slowly across the shot and another where an elderly woman walked through the shot with her fingers in her ears…). But eventually I go this. The lady in the middle is playing a bombarde, and her two partners are playing the Breton pipes which I think are known as “biniou”.

To be honest, at first it’s a bit of a hard listen to our American educated ears, but stick with it, there’s something rather haunting about it.

(I should say, these are street recordings, and I am notoriously cack-handed about these things, so you’ll have to put up with general murmurings, background interference and camera wobbles. Think of it as additional “street flavour”, I say…)

I also came across this trio of musicians, quite literally around the next corner, who also had a distinct Breton sound but had mixed into it tinges of Irish music, jazz and Klezmer. The feller in the hat looks like he’s playing another bombarde but obviously there’s something different about it, as he’s getting a completely different sound out of it.

After this song, the fiddle player explained that they called themselves Kornigell, which is apparently the Breton word a seabird and also some sort of Breton dance step. I can’t find anything about them on the Internet, so I guess I can claim this as some sort of exclusive. There you go, you heard it here first!

The fiddle player also asked me to send him a copy of the video, I hope this suffices. Many thanks for the performance and for patiently explaining everything in English, after my French had let me down miserably…

On a eu peur

Well, we’re back from Brittany and feeling suitably relaxed and refreshed. It’s been great actually, just what we needed – prolonged stretches of serious inactivity, during which large amounts of bread, fish, cheese and dry Breton cider were consumed. All very pleasant.

But I haven’t been entirely idol, I’ve come across some pretty wild and wonderful music, which was a bit of a surprise as I’ve never been particularly impressed with the French music I’ve come across before. I’ve bought some CDs, made a few recordings on my new (secondhand, picked up on eBay just before we left) iRiver, and even made a few video recordings on a “borrowed” camcorder. Indeed, I’ve had a lot of fun playing at Andy Kershaw (I’m talking about making recordings “in the field”, you understand, nothing to do with restraining orders…)

Raggalendo

Last Sunday afternoon found Josie, Michael and myself at a beautiful chateau called Roche Jagu, sitting in the sunshine, drinking the obligatory cider, watching a very strange hip hop act called Raggalendo, from Goudelin in Brittany. I can’t remember a band ticking quite so many wrong boxes (quite so enthusiastically). For starters they were all-white and all-female, and as well as that they rapped in French and Breton. Top stuff! Oh, and they did their whole set in traditional Breton costume. Outstanding…

My French isn’t good enough to pick out much of what they were singing about, although Josie swears they did a song about Petit Folous which may well be true but I kinda hope it isn’t. There was certainly a huge element of fun about the gig, but they weren’t the sort of novelty act that this maybe makes them sound. To me they sounded a lot like the Beastie Boys or even Deeelite, but their Myspace sites Iggy Pop and Jimi Hendrix as well. They even managed to work in some traditional Breton dance. It was all terrific fun.

I’ve found this video on Youtube, which I’m afraid takes a while to get going (skip on to about 1:25) but is “L’Alcoolocataire” the song they jumped into the audience and finished their set with…

I made a few recordings which aren’t quite as good as I hoped; you’ll have to excuse the sound of the wind on the mic and the occasional fumblings of a cack-handed recorder… The first track is called Peur de Peur, but I’m afraid I can’t work out the title of the second one, so I’m calling it Arret.

Peur de Peur

Arret

I should probably point out that without the wise council and restraining influences of my friends I not only went off and bought the CD (a weakness I think I’ve admitted to on these pages before) but went the whole hog and bought the T-Shirt.

I’m not apologizing.