sounding out in france 2012

23 10 2012

for the first time in years, i returned to france. the visit was short and i had to cram many things in. music, of course, was one of them. i met with friends and reconnected with some of the projects i had in the past. i even managed to play live as my friend heddy very kindly invited me to perform a solo at his venue la maison peinte. this was my first solo (on wind instruments) and first time i played the shakuhachi in public.

another part of this trip was to travel with a friend to the mountains and replenish with the pyrenées’ powerful energy and fresh air. walks in the hills, meditation on powerful peaks, near cascades and mountain chapels were all on the menu. and i had quite a feast.

this was also an opportunity to find new locations to record. i came across some real gems, often found by chance.

after hours of travel, the day was drawing to an end. it was time for meditation and a storm was brewing. the road winding up the mountain finally led to an isolated village. and just in time, i found a delightful little church to take shelter. i played a few pieces there, inspired by the rich atmosphere, the subtle and gentle feel of the place and a backdrop of storm, cows and birds that populated the area.

some other places i already knew, but it was a great pleasure to revisit the aude country.
after a swim in the cold river at the bottom of the canyon, i had a special moment in the chapel built in st antoine’s cave. the hermitage de galamus is charged with the wisdom of monks who lived there before the cave was turned into a chapel.
although it is considered a tourist attraction, the place has kept a genuine feel and it is a pleasure to visit and spend time there.
many thanks to the attendant who was very keen to chat about the place and tell some interesting stories. and mostly, as he was interested in my project after seeing i was carrying a large saxophone case on my back… he very kindly invited me to play in the cave. i did not even need to ask. and it was a real treat.

closer to home, there are two churches that i knew and yet had never played in. these turned out to be quite a surprise. in st sardos village, the church is dark and cold. it seems very uninviting at first but the massive building has a very special reverb. it is quite overwhelming and very colourful. once tamed, the sound is just grand.

on the way to play a solo gig near toulouse, i stopped in verdun sur garonne. i knew this place from before. although the town is not very big, the church is very impressive, with gorgeous paintings, statues and a deep blue saturated colour covering the whole place. this is the place of st michael whose sword cuts the ties of ignorance. a large statue in a corner of the church inspires awe (see picture). it is with utmost reverence that i started to play a very pared down and soulful improvisation… and what turns out to be a favourite, very inspired, deep and infused piece.

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sur le chemin du retour

abbatiale de vigeois

limousin

soprano saxophone, 11 june 2012

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tous ces non dits

église de verdun

tarn et garonne

soprano saxophone, 08 june 2012

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sabre vérité

église de verdun

tarn et garonne

soprano saxophone, 08 june 2012

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paysage inconnu

église de st sardos

tarn et garonne

soprano saxophone improvisation, 07 june 2012

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paysage retrouvé

église de st sardos

tarn et garonne

soprano saxophone improvisation, 07 june 2012

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paysage lointain

église de st sardos

tarn et garonne

1.95 shakuhachi, 06 june 2012

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a candle for st antoine

hermitage de galamus

pays de l’aude

1.95 shakuhachi improvisation, 01 june 2012

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a gentle light in the water

hermitage de galamus

pays de l’aude

soprano saxophone improvisation, 01 june 2012

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the coucou song

hermitage de galamus

pays de l’aude

soprano saxophone improvisation, 01 june 2012

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sortie de classe

chapelle ste marie de belloc

dorres, pyrénées

soprano saxophone improvisation, 29 may 2012

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silence en montagne

chapelle ste marie de belloc

dorres, pyrénées

soprano saxophone improvisation, 29 may 2012

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en attendant l’orage

église d’arquizat

ariège

soprano saxophone improvisation, 25 may 2012

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recherche d’un abri

église d’arquizat

ariège

soprano saxophone improvisation, 25 may 2012

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pour la fermeture

église de st girons

ariège

1.95 shakuhachi improvisation, 25 may 2012

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entre deux

église de bruniquel

tarn et garonne

1.95 shakuhachi improvisation, 18 may 2012

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