Monday, 7 August 2017

Vive le Fringe: The Institut Français d’Ecosse at the Edinburgh festivals

For the month of August, Edinburgh becomes the centre of the UK's cultural  and artistic world, with
the Edinburgh International Festival and the Edinburgh festival  Fringe taking place in the city. Thousands of events are being held at venues from the grand to the makeshift, and shows ranging from undergraduate student performances to events featuring some of the world's biggest artists.

While there is, as always, a significant French presence in Edinburgh at this busy time, the Institut français d’Ecosse again plays a starring role in giving a French flavour to events in the Scottish capital.

This year's programme at the IFE includes theatre, music and author events, but there are three shows central to their programme.

An adaptation of Marguerite Duras' work La Maladie de la Mort by Poitiers based Collectif Or Normes features dance, electonics and theatre.

Lost in Translation: A Bilingual Journey by Théâtre sans Accent is a theatrical exploration of language through the experiences of one girl, in French, English, Gaelic and Occitan.

The IFE is set to moves to new premises shortly, with the historic Lothian House in the centre of the Old Town becoming home to not only the IFE but also the French consulate, an auditorium and an exhibition space, language school and library. It will be a significant French presence at the heart of Scotland.

This building hosts a show by Erwan Keravec and Mickaël Phelippeau entitled Membre fantôme, a show that sees the piper and the choreographer reflect on the idea of identity in art.

Beyond these shows, the IFE's programme also includes a light and music installation by Heather Lander and Robert Bentall, while the Edinburgh International Festival includes clasical performances by François Leleux and Eric Le Sage and a performance of La Damnation de Faust at the Usher Hall.

With the IFE set to take a more visible part of Edinburgh and Scotland's cultural landscape, we can hopefully expect more events in the very near future cementing the historic links between France and Scotland that go well beyond the Edinburgh festivals season.

Saturday, 5 August 2017

Scotland at the Festival Interceltique de Lorient

This weekend sees the Festival Interceltique de Lorient event take place in the Breton town, one of the biggest celtic music events in the world.

It's a surprise to some that such a large-scale celebration of celtic music takes place in France, rather that Ireland or Scotland, or even Canada, all places that could with some justification claim to be at the centre of contemporary celtic culture. But France's celtic heritage is something that the country is proud of, and not just in Brittany.

This year's Festival Interceltique de Lorient places the focus on Scotland. Runrig, Altan, Amy Macdonald and Capercaillie are among the dozens of of acts performing over the weekend. 

There are also dozens of French celtic acts from crossover celtic rock/folk to more traditional choirs and pipe bands, from Brittany and elsewhere.

A parade of the celtic nations on Sunday serves as a centrepiece of the event, attracting thousands of artists and spectators to the streets of the town.

While the festival's been running since 1971 and regularly attracts some of the biggets names in the genre, it's more than just a showcase for a genre of music.  It's a major part of Brittany's celtic culture and acts as a catalyst. It's a celebration where artists can not only find an audience but also meet and collaborate. Where the audiences can also learn and get involved in discovering their own relationship to celtic culture.

It's an inclusive, outward looking and international event, very much in the spirit of the music it celebrates which has spread its influence around the world far beyond the shores of the celtic nations.

Tuesday, 1 August 2017

The return (?) of Manau

I was delighted to see the news a couple of days ago that French celtic rap act Manau are set to return
with a tour next year to mark the 20th anniversary of the celtic hip hop act that became one of France's biggest sellers in the late 90s.

Formed in '98, Manau had massive hit singles with La tribue de Dana, their first release, and Mais qui est la belette?, tracks that took Breton and celtic legend and looked at them through the lens of contemporary street culture.

The band's debut album Panique Celtique merged rap with celtic sounds from Brittany and picked up a best rap album award at the 1999 Victoire de la musique ceremony and sold over a million copies along the way. It remains a great listen, intelligent and witty, smart and original, an intoxicating potion brewed bu by bards with beats

Initially a trio, after their debut they became a duo of Martial Tricoche and Cédric Soubiron after RV Lardic quit.

Cédric Soubiron has had a tough time with health problems and debts over the years, leading to his eventual leaving the band. Recently he's begun working as a stage actor in Paris while remaining on good terms with Tricoche, who remained the last member of the band's central trio still at the mic under the Manau name.

So 2018 sees a return of sorts, although Manau never actually went away. However, some addditional promotion for the band is no bad thing,

Maybe there will be some new material too. Personally I can't wait to hear Le nouveau son de Manau!

Editorial: August 2017

We're quietly getting things back on an even keel here, with a reasonable amount of updates last month despite being on holiday for much of that time.

Of course, August is traditionally the month France shuts down for the summer, with fewer releases and events taking place. But there's no shortage of interesting

While July saw significant festivals pretty much every weekend, from Hellfest to Vieilles Charrues and Les Francofolies de La Rochelle, that continues this month with a number of events from the Festival Interceltique de Lorient to the Rock en Seine festival in Paris at the end of the month.

Other interesting things are in the pipeline, as previews for the key releases for la rentrée emerge over the coming weeks and artists unveil their plans for what is coming up over the next few months, still a key time of year for the music industry.

In the meantime,you can get a hold of me at johnkilbrideAThotmailDOTcom, with the appropriate punctuation where you'd expect it to be.

I'm always pleased to hear from record companies, PR companies and promoters, so do drop me an email. I'm always keen to hear new things, and relay information about acts I already know and love.

The blog is also on Twitter as @viveleroq, although that's prety much just an autofeed when we update with a new article. You can usually find me on my personal Twitter acount quicker, @karnag

If you're around Facebook, remember to like the French Music Podcast UK page, where you can get regular updates with both fresh and vintage French music.

Merci et à bientôt,

John K