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Dance Videos

 

Auvergne-Diffusion and MP3 Sites

I own and HIGHLY recommend all of the following recordings available either as CDs from auvergne-diffusion.fr, or as MP3 downloads from iTunes or eMusic. Auvergne-diffusion.com sells complete CDs in cases. They accept credit cards and can ship to the US and Canada (although you can't specify the US in the shopping cart, and will have to contact them with a credit card number outside the website). To make a purchase, email them at vpc@auvergnediffusion.com. The links in the table below labeled "auv-diff" will take you to pages on the auvergne-diffusion site. Links labeled "iTunes" or "eMusic" take you to those sites, respectively.

Artist(s)/Group

Recording

Comments

Chabenat, Gilles and Patrick Bouffard

Tour à Tour (auv-diff) (iTunes) (eMusic)

This is Patrick's and Gilles' first CD together. The recording is almost identical to their recent concert appearances (without the audience noise). I am totally floored by this recording, just as I was by hearing them perform together. These two stellar vielle masters, who have done so much individually to revive and enlarge French folk music in the last 20 years, are utterly amazing as a duo -- it's often hard to believe, in their concerts or listening to the recording (which contains no overdubbing) that the incredible wall of music is coming out of two people and their vielles. This is not a couple of hot gurdy players sitting down and jamming...this music is arranged, and layered, and interleaved, by two people for whom the word "genius" is not an exaggeration. The tunes are mostly old standards in French folk, but you'd hardly know it, as they are lovingly reconstructed as fine performance pieces. Some of it is so beautiful it puts tears in my eyes. A masterpiece.

Champion, Eric

Eric Champion (auv-diff) (iTunes) (eMusic)

This is a 2002 recording by a really excellent diatonic player -- one of the founders of Les Brayauds camp -- who has been on the French folk scene since the mid 1970s. It is almost entirely solo playing, with a bit of clarinet (Sonia Rogowski) and singing (Didier Champion). It is clear that Eric could hold down a dance all by himself for hours, as everything is very lively and danceable, and at times you are surprised that you're listening to only one musician. All of the tunes are interesting, and many were collected by him and other musician friends in the Puy de Dome region of Auvergne (where he lives and grew up surrounded by local music). Other tunes on the recording include original compositions of Eric's, a couple of very nice local songs, and some classic Auvergne dance tunes. Eric's playing style is somewhere between firmly traditional and creative. His chording is pretty traditional, but his extensive use of rhythm on both hands is innovative and gives the music a lot of drive. I'd recommend this recording to all enthusiasts of centre France music, but especially the diatonic players.

Fai Petar

Fai Petar (iTunes) (eMusic)

This is a terrific recording from a delightful band. Freddie Dussaillant was my box teacher at Les Brayauds, and I developed tremendous respect for his playing (all three members teach at Brayauds). They're all very fine players (Freddie on diatonic, Basile Bremaud on fiddle and Sonia Rogowski on clarinet), and in Freddie and Basile's case, fine writers of tunes (over half the tunes on the CD are originals by one or the other, and they're excellent). But it's also the sweetness and joy and danceability in the music. You could dance to these people all night (and they'd play all night, too), and feel yourself light on your feet and smiling at everyone.

Chavannée, La

Bateau Doré (iTunes) (eMusic)

This 1998 recording by one of the truly great bands of the French Trad movement is one of their finest. Their lineup still reads like a who's who of central France music -- Patrick Bouffard and Maxou Heintzen on hurdy-gurdy, Eric Elsener and Manu Paris on flutes and pipes, the wonderfully cheerful box playing of Frederic Paris and the singing of his wife Eveline...plus two fiddlers. The music goes from sweet to dark and back again like clouds passing in front of the sun...but never too dark.

Chavannée, La

Rage de Danse (iTunes) (eMusic)

This is the definitive French trad band, with at least 3 or 4 of the key players in the French folk community. And their sound is great -- two hurdy-gurdies, two bagpipes, two fiddles, a singer, one (or sometimes 2) diatonic(s). All of the tunes are composed by the band members, and include several of the classic tunes of the genre, including the original Adele Blanc Sec and Callipyge. (see more early La Chavannee recordings on the out-of-print/Mitch page)

Lazarevich, Francois with Dominique Paris, Anne-Lise Foy et al

Danses des Bergers, Danses des Loups (Amazon [cd or mp3]) (auv-diff)

If your French dance music just doesn't sound right without some hardcore vielle and bagpipe snarling, this CD (along with Carré de Deux) is for you. Piper François Lazarevitch has pulled together four other top-notch musicians and a bunch of excellent (and dark) traditional tunes, mostly unfamiliar to me, many of them with wolf themes to their names. He has also compiled a thick pile of liner notes -- in French and English -- describing the tunes, the origins of the bourrée, some good wolf and bagpipe legends, and other interesting academia. But there's nothing academic about the recording...it's a great listen from start to finish, arranged interestingly, tastefully and very traditionally, full of snarl and bite (and suitable foot-stomping from the pipers). One of my favorites.

Musiqu'a Deux

En Attendant L'Orage (eMusic)

Myriam and Jean-Yves Lameyre perform as a duo by the stage name of Musiqu'a Deux, and what a talented pair! She's an especially nice-sounding box player, but also plays pipes and guitar and sings. He plays fiddle, pipes, hurdy-gurdy and a bit of box also. Together they're a two person trad orchestra. The CD is full of interesting traditional tunes and songs, some familiar, some not. Their duo vocal with hurdy-gurdy and pipes on the darkly atmospheric La Rose Blanche is worth the price of the recording by itself. I took a chance when I first bought this recording, and boy was I glad I did.

Bouffard, Patrick

Musiques Pour Vielle à Roue (iTunes)

This is probably my favorite solo recording by any hurdy-gurdy player, partly because Patrick is my favorite player of the instrument, and partly because there are so many great tunes, many of them his originals. This was his first album, back in the early 90's, and his playing was as phenomenal then as it is now. Thanks to the sparse production, you really get to hear everything he's doing. On several tracks he is the only musician, on many others there is only a second hurdy-gurdy player. A classic.

Trio Patrick Bouffard

En Bal (eMusic) (iTunes)

This CD features the trio playing for dancers (you don't generally see trad French concerts per se in central France -- a concert is a dance, and a dance is a concert). Except for the applause and cheering and sound of dancers' feet, not very different from what's on Revenant de Paris and Rabaterie. It takes a heck of a band to sound identical to their studio recordings when playing live.

Trio Patrick Bouffard

Revenant de Paris (auv-diff) (iTunes)

Trio Patrick Bouffard (really a quartet) is one of the great trad dance bands of central France, in no small part because of Patrick himself. Patrick is a presence, with his powerful hands and intense expression, and the music the group makes is driving. He's also one of the great composers in the central France tradition. Cyril Roche on box, Benoit Mager on pipes and Anne-Lise Foy on hurdy-gurdy and vocals are all excellent musicians, but it's Patrick's hurdy-gurdy playing that is the centerpiece. The tunes are all good solid choices, both trad and composed by Patrick and others. The band and the recording are top-notch.

Trio Patrick Bouffard

Rabaterie (auv-diff) (iTunes)

If you didn't get enough of Trio Patrick Bouffard from the Revenant de Paris recording, here's another full CD with more of the same great stuff -- driving dance tune's, Anne-Lise's pretty singing...and a very enjoyable 19th century court piece -- La Marie Antoinette, complete with crumhorns.

Paris, Frederic

Rue de l'Oiseau (auv-diff)

This is one of box player Frederic Paris' two classic accordion recordings from the 1980's, re-released on CD (the other one, Carnet de Bal, is still out of print). Frederic Paris is probably the most influential diatonic player in French folk music. He has written many memorable compositions, several of them represented here, and has been with La Chavannee from the beginning. His box playing has a cheerfulness and a sweetness that make you suspect that he's a real nice guy. The tunes are very simply presented, mostly just box and his clarinet playing, but it's all they need.

Blanchard, Jean

Accordéon Diatonique (iTunes) (eMusic)

A very nicely done, unproduced, album of box tunes, played very simply and traditionally but with nice ornamentation. A great bunch of traditional tunes, and highly recommended for the box players.

Gentiane

Musique d'Auvergne (eMusic)

A very nicely polished ensemble of good Auvergne tunes, several of them familiar, with a group of excellent musicians, notably Jean Blanchard and Bernard Blanc. There's a bit of piano in places, but mostly good solid French trad. Very enjoyable.