Thursday, 17 July 2014

My calves hurt but I'm happy

I forgot to talk about Bastille day... As a French it's kind of weird isn't it? Well, not for me. I nearly forgot it was the French national day on Monday as it's not really celebrated in my home town. 

The main reason is because it clashes with a big traditional music and dance festival and all over the week-end, I was in " Breizh" mode. 

On Sunday night, instead of having the traditional 14th of July ball, there was a fest-noz ("night fest" in Breton language). This would be the equivalent of an Irish ceili. The difference is, there was a live broadcast on the internet, so Breton people all over the world could watch it online. There were also duplexes with China and New-York. Yes, Breton people are everywhere...

Breton dance is very popular and fest-noz goers are of all ages, from kids to older people.
When I was a teenager I was going to those gatherings as much as I was going to night-clubs. 

There was a dilemma on Sunday though, because it was also the World Cup final, but organisers were smart and installed a big screen near the bar so people could have the best of both worlds.

I hadn't been to a fest-noz for at least 5 or 6 years, but trust me, dancing is like riding a bike, you never forget it. On the contrary, my body didn't handle the whole thing very well and for the past 4 days my calves are very tense and they hurt. But I don't care.

The atmosphere in the place was out of this world, people danced to the same music, hand in hand, feeling the same love for this ancestral tradition.

At one point, the band played one of their most famous piece and everybody was singing along. The whole dance lasted at least 10 minutes so you can imagine how tired people were. But it didn't matter. We couldn't feel our legs anymore but we were all smiling, singing, sweating, all together in some sort of musical trance, transported in different place, where only music mattered. 

Lots of people from all ages at the Fest-Noz

This was without a doubt one of the highlights of my holidays in Brittany. I think the reason for the success of the fest-noz (and the festival as a whole), is that Breton music and dance are not stuck in the past, they're being constantly reinvented, and keep evolving with new instruments and  fusion with other types of music. 

Sadly, it doesn't seem to be the same for Irish music, at least not in the Dublin area. Maybe I moved to the wrong part of the country...