AEPEM/Claudie Schiller Music (Calif.)

Mitch Gordon Music (Calif.)

Alan Keith Music (Calif.)

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Alan Keith Music

Alan is a bagpiper and one of the most knowledgeable practitioners of French traditional music on the US West Coast. In addition to Scottish Highland Bagpipes, Alan plays at least three kinds of French pipes -- the musette Bechonnet, the cabrette (of Auvergne) and the large musette du centre of Berry and Bourbonnais. He also plays diatonic accordion (button box). He must know at least 200-300 traditional French tunes. Alan's website is www.keithmusic.com. He sells two CD's, Tour De France and French Creek (Fait en Californie). He was a member of Tour de France, and played as a guest artists on some of the French Creek selections.

For ordering instructions, go to www.keithmusic.com or email Alan at alankeith5081@sbcglobal.net. .

These are the recordings:

Tour de France

As Alan describes the group and the recording on his website: "Tour de France presents the traditional music of the French provinces on authentic folk instruments true to the unique style of each region. Many of the tunes played are drawn from 19th and early 20th century sources and were used to accompany then-popular ballroom dances: waltzes, schottishes, polkas, and mazurkas. Also featured are older regional dance forms: distinctive branles, rondeaux, and bourrées." I've got nothing much to add except that these four people are among the top practitioners of traditional French music in the US today, and all live in Northern California. We've had many a great hour jamming and playing for dancers, and Roz and I have learned tremendously from all of them. This is a great CD from start to finish, and well worth owning. Oh, yes, Vickie has a couple of great original accordion compositions on here, and Deb does some nice singing on some traditional (and one Parisian) song(s). (This CD was released in 2002.)


French Creek -- "Fait en Californie"

This 1995 recording by the trio of Penny and G.F. Cloud and Dorothy Hawkinson (French Creek), all of the California Sierra foothills, is a lovely and sweet compilation of a great number of finely arranged French tune sets. I consider Penny one of the best hurdy-gurdy players in North America, and G.F. on guitar and Dorothy on fiddle are no slouches either. Joining the trio on this recording are a long list of excellent California-based traditional musicians, including the members of Tour de France. The music is very happy and lively, and if you're looking for a first recording of traditional French music to get you started, you couldn't do much better. Highly recommended.