We are back into those crazy summer months when there is so much going on that it’s hard to choose and impossible to fit in everything. From a Dali exhibition in Désaignes to a cherry stone spitting competition in Empurany there is something for everyone and every taste.
We were sorry to miss what looked like a very interesting theatre performance, set in the unsettled and difficult period that this area, and indeed the whole of France, went through in the months immediately after the Liberation in 1944 but we had a great evening of music and dancing in Désaignes the other night. The Balkan band Kalynda played two intoxicating sets and were followed by a group from the Maghreb who got everyone dancing to their infectious North African rhythms.
The setting for this event is particularly magical – in the centre of the village an assorted crowd gathers under the plane trees in the school playground. Ages range from toddlers to grandparents, and there is a fair smattering of dogs. Harassed but cheerful volunteers dispense home cooked food and local beer and wine and the mood is always festive and friendly.
We were thrilled when the musicians from Kalynda suggested that they play another concert at les Sarziers later this month! They and we had such a good time when they played for Jazz aux Sarziers last year and we are looking forward to having them back.
Last Saturday Empurany was en fête. The roads through the little village were closed and given over to an assortment of stands and attractions including the chap from Labatie d’Andaure who makes traditional Ardèche baskets using little more than small pine logs and an opinel knife.
The big attraction for us however was the Batucada. This ensemble, which plays African influenced Brazilian samba rhythms, is led by led by a young man from a neighbouring farm who teaches percussion in the local music school. (He is the one with the whistle!)They are tight, enthusiastic and full of communicative energy – and their costumes are simply superb! After we got back home we could still hear their fabulous drumming drifting across the valley towards us throughout the afternoon.
Click here to see our video , which is not brilliant, but it’s worth a look to see just how much punch they pack!