Tag Archives: music

Autrefois Le Couserons: The Grand Parade Of Tractors in St. Girons, France

A sunny Saturday was perfect for the annual Autrefois Le Couserons celebration of rural and traditional life here in the Midi-Pyrenees of France.

The barricades went up early and people began lining the streets, sitting in fold-up chairs (including right beneath our front windows!) or standing anywhere that there was a small patch of available space that was not on the road itself.
 

Parade spectators at the Autrefois Le Couserons parade in St. Girons, France


 

Parade spectators sitting beneath our windows in St. Girons, France


 
For just over two hours, they paraded through St. Girons — tractors, carts, bands, singers, dancers, vintage firetrucks, you name it! And all of it went right beneath the windows of our apartment where we each stood, camera in hand, taking hundreds of pictures on that bright and clear day.

I am dividing the coverage of this event into several articles and slideshows so that it isn’t an overwhelming amount to look at each time.
 

Vintage tractor on parade at the Autrefois Le Couserons festival in St. Girons, France


 
Now for all of you ‘tractor geeks’ (Ooops! Tractor ‘enthusiasts’ was what I meant!) — Enjoy!


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The ‘Teaser’ Parade for Autrefois Le Couserons in St. Girons, France

The light was thinning as we left the house on Friday night. We hadn’t realised that there would be an opening night parade — a teaser — prior to the multi-hour Autrefois Le Couserons spectacle that was scheduled on Saturday morning. But we were fortunate enough to be in the right place at the right time once again.
 

Three generations of a French family watch the small opening night parade for the Autrefois Le Couserons festival in St. Girons, France


 
Up and down the streets of St. Girons, people gathered in the windows overlooking the small parade and they followed it on foot in some cases. The night was fast approaching, the temperatures were thankfully dropping, and there was an air of excitement all along the route of the parade.
 


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Come back soon for another slideshow from the hundreds of photos that I took over the weekend.

Coming up next? Tractors and farm vehicles from all eras!

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Autrefois Le Couserons: Extended Coverage On The Way!

Hundreds — seriously — I took almost 200 photos last night (in spite of the people and cyclists who stepped right in front of my proposed shot again and again!) and well over 600 today. So I have a lot to wade through! Those numbers don’t even take into account the several hundred photos that Mark took, too.
 

Musicians in traditional dress at the Autrefois Le Couserons festival in St. Girons, Midi-Pyrenees, France


 
It’s been a glorious two days of vintage vehicles, traditional music, and people in historical costume and we are all quite relieved that the weather stayed clear and bright. As the parades went through St. Girons on both days, people clustered high above the street in front of their windows to watch the spectacle pass by.
 

Watching from above as the Autrefois Le Couserons parade passes through St. Girons, Midi-Pyrenees, France


 
I think I’ll create a couple of slide shows of the (turn down your volume if you don’t want to hear the music track on this link!) Autrefois Le Couserons festival here in St. Girons in the Midi-Pyrenees of France. This is an annual celebration of traditional rural life in the Couserons.
 

Shepherd on horseback with his dog tucked into his arms at the Autrefois Le Couserons parade in St. Girons, Midi-Pyrenees, France


 
We now live in such a fascinating place with layers of history and settlement over the centuries since its pre-Roman origins.

Stay tuned for more pictures from this activity-packed weekend!

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Photo Of The Day: Jazz Mural-Poster in Normandy, France

Today’s lovely photo of the day is a change from the paper posters that I discover in our travels and frequently feature on this site. This is actually a mural made to look like a poster. It is painted on the wall of a building in Coutances in Normandy, France to inform people passing by of an annual jazz festival held under the trees in an apple orchard.

Enjoy!
 

Jazz Under The Apple Trees mural on the wall of a building in Coutances, Normandy, France


 

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Farewell To The Festival

The 4 day summer music festival in St. Girons, France has just come to an end and I shall certainly miss the level of activity in town.

Oh wait — ANOTHER TWO multi-day festivals begin this coming weekend!

I’m not quite sure what the next event had to do with this past weekend’s music festival, but it was certainly listed on the official schedule. The petanque tournament was on a very hot and sunny Monday afternoon and when I arrived, I was quite surprised to see about 100 men of all ages participating in what was clearly a multi-generational event.
 

Men of all ages playing petanque in St. Girons, Midi-Pyrenees, France


 
A tired-looking referee paced up and down the gravel trying to keep an attentive eye on the multiple competition teams that were all playing at the same time.
 

The referee in a striped shirt tried to manage the multiple petanque games which were all played at the same time in St. Girons, France.


 
And there were the occasional ‘debates’ about the just-completed toss.
 

A friendly discussion about a just completed game of petanque in St. Girons, Midi-Pyrenees, France


 
As I passed the old riverside chateau, the Palais des Viscomtes, I could see that the scaffolding crew were busy disassembling the large framework that had supported the lights, speakers, and cameras during the weekend music festival.
 

Workers removing the scaffolding used for lights, speakers, & cameras at a music festival in St. Girons, France


 
The concluding event was a fireworks display to be set off from the gardens of the old chateau which are just a few blocks from our apartment here in St. Girons. We had been rather disappointed at the level of fireworks on Bastille Day, so we didn’t walk down to the park for the fireworks which were meant to start at 10:30 PM. But at 11:00 PM, the sky erupted and the fireworks went on for at least 20-30 minutes. It was immediately clear that the festival committee had splashed out with the fireworks budget because what we were seeing was nothing like the subdued pop-pop-pop of the Bastille Day fireworks.
 

Fireworks in St. Girons, France


 

Fireworks in St. Girons, France


 
They were splendid! And we had a wonderful view from the balcony of our apartment. I probably got much clearer photographs from that elevated position than I would have from a standing position under the trees of the chateau’s garden.
 

Fireworks in St. Girons, France


 

Fireworks in St. Girons, France


 

Fireworks in St. Girons, France


 

 

 

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Music Wafting Into The Night in France

You don’t normally associate living in a French town with Pre-Roman origins, a town that is still laid out along its medieval footprint, with the sounds of loud rock music echoing up the stone alleyways and streets.

The groups on the stage for the All Rock Festival in St. Girons were set up a mere few blocks from here in the gardens of the old chateau of the Palais des Vicomtes and they played until after 2 AM on Friday night, after 4 AM on Saturday night, and they stopped on the dot at 2 AM on Sunday night. We came home with aching legs and sore feet on Saturday — but we clapped and stomped and sang along — and we danced.

The musicians on Saturday night included Mick Taylor, formerly a guitarist for the Rolling Stones from the late 1960s into the 1970s. For a cluster of men ‘of a certain age,’ they gave a VERY lively and well-received performance.
 

Former Rolling Stone Mick Taylor in concert in St. Girons, France


 
When the break came between sets and the ‘roadies’ (Ooops! The stage technicians!) came out to set up the instruments and lighting for the next act, I walked over the bridge to the other part of St. Girons. In yesterday’s post you saw it in its sleepy daytime version, but here is what the night-time version looked like when the carnival came alive!
 

Lining up for food at a night carnival in St. Girons, France


 

Carnival stall in St. Girons, France


 

Children enjoying candy floss (cotton candy) at a night carnival in St. Girons, France


 

A line of carnival booths in St. Girons, France


 
The bumper cars ride at a night carnival in St. Girons, Midi-Pyrenees, France
 
At midnight, the next featured act came out and we loved every minute of the following two hours. It was music and lyrics that we knew by heart from a film that we had both loved 20 years ago — The Commitments. The wonderfully raspy-voiced Irish singer Andrew Strong stood on the stage in front of us and had the crowd enthralled as he sang song after song from the soundtrack of The Commitments.
 

Andrew Strong of the Commitments on stage in St. Girons, France


 
Having just flown into France three days earlier and working with a band of French jazz-rock musicians from Paris that he had just met, Strong had a happy audience who cheered and clapped and remembered their youth as they danced in a variety of styles all around us.
 

Andrew Strong of the Commitments on stage in St. Girons, France


 

Andrew Strong of the Commitments on stage in St. Girons, France


 
We knew when we moved here a month ago that there was a festival season in St. Girons during the summer and autumn months, but I don’t think we fully realised just how much fun it would be to walk down the stairs, out the front door, down the street, and find such fun and entertainment on our doorstep!

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Photo Of The Day: Former Russian Soldiers Making A Living

Peruvian pan pipe music wafting through an open air mall in Australia or Europe? Classical music being played by soloists in the subways, tubes, and metros worldwide? Flamenco guitarists or Celtic musicians at weekend markets? Jazz musicians in New Orleans or Chicago? We’ve seen them all in various places around the globe.

But we had not expected to see former soldiers from the USSR making a living by busking — singing for donations — and selling their self-recorded music cds of Russian military and folk music. That truly was a first!

The picture below is of those singers in the huge plaza in front of the Frauenkirche Cathedral in Dresden, Germany. It was interesting and yes, I tossed a few euro into their hat since I was taking photos. But I don’t think it was a set of music I would have wanted to take home.
 

Former Russian Military Singers Busking in Dresden, Germany


 

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