Sunday, July 26, 2009

Junk and Funk in Montreal

I was anxious to head to the vide grenier in Montreal (and that's in the Aude, not Quebec) Sunday morning. It wasn't so much for the shopping, as I'm starting to see the same unsold objects being carted from one venue to the next, as Doug has so politely pointed out.

I was more curious what the Folklore Fete was all about. We had seen posters advertising the event as we drove back from Venice. Maybe I subconsciously imagined that Peter, Paul & Mary or Pete Seeger would be there.

No signs of the American folk legends, but a fascinating melange of colorful strolling musicians and lively dancers. Unfortunately for them, some of their costumes were heavy wool---"pure wool" as one fellow told us. Even though it was fairly cool and hardly humid (even by the scale developed by us desert rats), sweat was dribbling down their faces.

There were troupes from Latvia, Grenoble, somewhere around Lyon, and another unknown location. They wandered through the vide grenier, stopping often and breaking out into song and dance. Their playful routines delighted everyone, and the members of the troupes interacted with one another.

Some of the folks wore wooden shoes, others knee-high leather boots. Men in three-piece wool suits and knickers and tri-corner hats. Women balanced bizarre bonnet units on their heads. One gentleman looked like he was fresh from Scotland, and another just down from the highlands of Peru or Chile.

The performers played accordions, flutes, tamborines, and wind-up instruments I have never seen. I kept hoping for a bit of cossack dancing from the Latvians, but maybe I was making a wrong assumption. As we drove into Montreal, the Latvians had just ended a performance in front of the InterMarche grocery and were loading up into their bus enroute to the centre ville de Montreal.

It's not every day you can top a vide grenier with song, dance and colorful period costumes. And, I'm a sucker for costumes.


Linda said...

I spent about a week in this town (Montreal) in 1980 staying with a friend who had moved to France and lived near Toulouse, but was renting a little house in Montreal for the summer so she could be "somewhere where nothing was happening" while she finished the book she was writing. I remember the town as nearly deserted, but with very friendly (mostly old) people at the Boulangerie each morning who did not make fun of my French as the Parisians did. Anyway, it seems like a much more lively place nowadays than it was then. Or perhaps it comes alive for the Fete.
I don't know how you have time to write so much in your blog AND have so many activities and guests. You two are amazing.

Anonymous said...

I have to ask Andrew, but I think the name of the instrument that one winds while playing is a hurdy gurdy, he had a friend in high school who played it. I'll find out. You guys are having too much fun. Our Dutch neighbors who live across the street are leaving for two weeks in Holland and then two weeks at Joan and Drew's in Vaison. Wish I could get in somebody's suitcase. Leslie