Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Chateau d'Ars (Mr. Ryall's Sunday)

Featuring guest blogger Chris Ryall

Over on melodeon.net, Euro-oriented melodeonista Chris Ryall has been posting reports of his own experience at Chateau d'Ars. He has graciously allowed me to post them here.

Sunday morning was so much better - blue sky and a few roundrels of cloud. Wind was over. It would threaten rain all day - including some falling from a blue sky  ??? but you didn't really get wet. Dolly unpacked a sun dress. I was looking forward to four unmissable acts. The little stall at the end of the lane had coffee, and croissants   :P

Once the château grounds reopened I determinedly sought out Saltarelle, finding them up a somehow missed line of stalls. I tried out a 3 row 3 voice 12 bass - a bit bling with its dazzling grills - but that's their way. On enquiry, Saltarelle" does come from that Italian dance. I was told that their butterfly was added to (somehow?) evoke that.  The box was pretty good, nice sound, fast, and again excellent bang per buck.  Had a listen to Breton legend Alain Pennec who was guesting on the Maison d'Accordéon stall.  As the place dried there were other little entertainments - eg this mixed Flemish/Calabrian (whole-sheep bagpipes!) impromptu band

Lunch was leisurely and I joined in a little session with Dols and her London pals, then beers with Andy Cairns and his talented son.  Andy Cutting of this parish wandered by and said hello, we all talked about boxes and quality. Seemed la  Chevanée had invited him & Chris to join them - gosh - is it that time already! Wandered down to the concert spot to see the Chavs (in Bande Ménétrière lineup)  do their harmonious "songs of the Loire river boats" set.  Fred's daughter Catherine and brother Manu have become really excellent singers! Fred and Maxu played ... bouzoukis!  :o  You can see our two English cameos were in there too  8)

The evening's first "unmissable" was Samuraï consisting of Tesi, Lepistö, Le Tron, Laloy, and Munelly. The Holland based Irishman looked to be on a C#/D and was a real star, with strong busts of Celtic rhythm, cool switches between Dorian and Blues, and bass (unisonoric?) rocks. Laloy is a great wit on stage and clearly very clever (a lady heckler was gently demolished). His music is jazzy and quite dark. I felt Lepistö did the best improvisations - again with all the jazzer's tricks. le Tron ... was himself with some great old favourites like Valhermeil.  I was
a bit
disappointed not to hear much of Tesi's wonderful rhythms - he mainly seemed to be running their bass section. 

Visionary stuff, but they'd not moved on at all from last year's CD.  An encore simply repeated the first tune :-\
   

Bit of a race up the hill to see Cutting/Wood in the small dance floor. Chris spared the pauvre Galoises any homespun political dialectic (pour le bien, one felt!) and it was pure music and song ;D  Towards the end the boys sort of realised we were on a dance floor, and played a sweet Flatworld, and other classics. Dols was first up (as usual) with an elegant partner, bringing a poignant tear to papa's eye. I spotted a lady "in need of a chavalier", and joined in. It was just lovely .. they got two encores and an ovation.

I'd so enjoyed Naragonia in Otley, and their Quartet was to finish the festival.  The real stars for me were Wouter Vandenabeele on violin and exquisite melodeonist Pascale Rubens - both were commonly "out" of the chord, off the beat, yet every swung note informed what your feet had to do. IMHO one of the best dance bands in Europe, and a perfect choice for the finale. Closedown at 1030 was abrupt and they pulled the plugs. A "boeuf" session band (of about 50!) formed and we kept dancing in the dark.

In classic Comite George Sand manner they'd stopped maintaining the sawdust loo's next morning :-X  but then in the 90's, it had all gone straight in the river!  :|glug

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