Stephan Eicher’s live concert at La Halle aux grains in Toulouse (France)

I attended on 3rd January 2020 Stephan Eicher‘ s live concert at La Halle aux grains in Toulouse (France). Although, I have listened to this singer and musician for many years now, it was the first time I went to his concert in this great theatre concert hall.

La Halle aux grains de l'extérieur

Stephan Eicher’s choice for concert place is spot on, a 2200-seater theater with a great acoustic sound and allowing an intimate connection with his public.

La Halle aux grains de l'intérieur

He obviously plays his old hit «Déjeuner quoi?» Stephan Eicher shouts and laughs during the concert. It’s the public who demands it. Stephan Eicher answers «Déjeuner en paix» doesn’t belong to me anymore. The music industry has got lots of money to pay for their lawyers, while I haven’t. So, I’m no longer allowed to sing it. However, you can sing it !» Approval screams. The band delivers a powerful Rock and the crowd sing it in chorus.

Stephan Eicher

1. EXPlanations for STEPHAN EICHER ‘S absence

We know the misfortunes of the Bernese (Swiss German) musician with his Universal Major label. Reason for which, he tells, his stage repertoire has been for 5 years stuck to the same hits with no new released records.  How can it sounds positive to us instead of the bitter experience he had. Since digitalisation, he said he didn’t like the way his contract was changed…but he didn’t ask for more money or music rights. However, he was lucky enough that his existing repertoire allowed him to tour with new shows rearranging his songs and offering new tracks.

2. ABOUT STEPHAN EICHER

Since more than 30 years, Stephan Eicher experiments and challenges himself musically. First, synthetic music with Grauzone and its techno-pop, then at the beginning of the 80s he tries out the rock experience. Then he goes for ballad songs, uses more classic or traditional instruments he associates with modern sounds and rhythms to offer a varied and rich discography.

3. His new album

This time, Stephan Eicher also comes back with new «Homeless songs» album (Polydor) composed of original tracks and of course a new show. He surrounds himself with a quartet to tell his new story, centered on acoustic and classic instrumental music.

In his own terms, this tour brings «not just 5 years of imposed ice skating figures but also introduce us to free skating.» Homeless songs do not have any place in the current music industry. They live elsewhere and sleep outside. This is in no way offensive , even the opposite ! These songs are like small stones children pick up along the river. For an adult, impossible to understand what guided the child’s choice. Was it the pleasant refreshing feeling of the stone ? A small pattern on the surface ? A weird or funny shape ? The fate ? These songs hope to create a relaxing, comfortable space, a dreaming pause.

4. His musicians during this 2020 tour

For this concert, he is accompanied by 4 independent musicians :

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  • Reyn Ouwehand, pianist, film Composer and multi-instrumentalist from Netherlands, who is the opening act.
  • Heidi Happy, Swiss singer and multi instrumentalist (vocals, guitars, cello, mandolin, xylophone).
  • Baptiste Germser, French horn (cor en français) and bass player and music producer.
  • Simon Bauman, German drummer.
  • Ludovic Bruni, French guitarist, bassist and music producer.

3. Live recordings in audio tracks and videos

a) Reyn Ouwehand’s opening act

Reyn played several piano tracks for us and I recorded two of them. Although I do not know the song titles, feel free to add them in the comment section below this blog post!

Obviously, Reyn continued playing for Stephan Eicher throughout his concert!

b) Dominique Regeff

Then there was a special guest, Dominique Regeff, French improvisor, composer, and musician specialising in stringed instruments. He came to play the hurdy gurdy (vielle en français) on the ‘Rivière’ song from Stephan Eicher. In this audio recording, Stephan introduces him and how they collaborate together.

c) Stephan Eicher

Finally, amongst other songs, I recorded these songs in audio and video versions. Once again, if any of you know the track title for his Swiss German song, drop the info in the comment section! He sings in French, Swiss German as well as English.

Here, you will recognise his very first hit in France!

And other well known French tracks!

In this below track, he asked us to put a timer on this song to prove that it’s difficult to record a full song in less than 3 minutes, which are the requirements of the music industry.

 

And this last song is from his new ‘Homeless songs’ album, even if I missed out the song beginning. Nonetheless, I hope you will enjoy it!

 

That is all from me! Enjoy the listening and subscribe!

 

Sol y Fiesta International Street Festival in Leucate Village, France (2019)

Sol y Fiesta International Street Festival

First of all, Sol y Fiesta is an international street festival organised every year in Leucate, South West of France during the first weekend of June.

But I have only attended this year’s edition.  Nonetheless, it was a truly enjoyable sunny, lively and busy day with so many people coming all the way from Spain or the surrounding of Leucate to join the Sol y Fiesta festival.

I will obviously share with you what I have recorded rather than the whole programme as I want you to feel part of it!

1. Brass Bands

So, like every year, there are many brass bands playing in the streets. I admit I didn’t film or take many pictures of these, as there are little more commonplace in other street festivals.

However, I did film one, it’s the Latin 66 brass band partnered with World Fusion charity. The Latin Art 66 is a South American music band. The company interprets musical and artistic arrangements by walking down the streets with singers-guitarists, brass and traditional instruments such as Peruvian pan flutes and charango (lute). They keep you dancing and singing until exhaustion!

I hope you enjoy the video!

2. The flying piano

Then, you could enjoy this original set up for an international show parade, i.e a piano up in the air floating while a lady is playing it! This pianist plays live classic and Disney melodies to the enthusiasm of her audience!

Here are a couple of picture and videos I’m sharing with you below.

Flying Piano.jpg

 

3. Las Falleras

Additionally, the pianist is accompanied by ‘Las Falleras’, queens celebrating spring, that come purposefully to the festival all the way from Valencia, Spain. They are all wearing their traditional costumes. 

Las Falleras

4. Les Irréels – The fictionary characters’ theatre company 

Besides these shows, there is this theatre performance created in 2013 consisting of 15 hybrid characters in 12 unique plastic worlds.

The unreal characters are a people parallel to humans; we do not know if it is a millennial civilisation, a futuristic tribe or an unknown species.

Have they lived with us forever without us being able to meet them? Are they the hybrid image of our future mutation?

Their activities are hopes tending towards the world around us. Like the ‘Childhood Pamperer’ who opens the door of our past recklessness, the ‘Absentees’ guide’ who connects us to our disappeared or deceased closed members, the ‘Heart Warmer’ of winters that cuddles our moments of sadness or the ‘Heart Mender’ who repairs our loves, each one of them works for daydreaming and states of being.

In a camp of fifteen huts, the characters evolve in strong and singular plastic universes. This wordless performance happens in the heart of the city and everyone’s daily life, offering a moment hanging on between imaginations and questioning, to connect us to ourselves.

Here is a slideshow showing the different huts and themes. 

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You can view a short video of the absentees’ guide below:

Two main parades close off the Sol y Fiesta day: Pegasus Tale and Constellations – Zodi’act.

5. Pegasus tale parade

Sol y Fiesta festival

Gods and men, Pegasus and those he led to other universes. Towards Cassiopeia, towards Aldebaran, he is apparently a great white horse … Pegasus, the messenger of the Olympus Gods. Pegasus, with silver wings, leading forgotten stars to other constellations…

Open your eyes! Look at the sky! Watch them come over…

A light and airy dancer … a metallic sky like wings … divine Diva, Cassiopeia leading the stellar parade of Pegasus and its stars.

The crew for this parade show is made of 1 driver, 2 technicians, 1 acrobat, 1 lyrical singer on self-propelled structure, 2 waders, 2 percussionists, 1 dancer, 1 director.

6. Constellations – Zodi’Act

Finally, discover an aerial universe combining beauty and grace in a ballet of air inflated and aerial animals that will surprise you … The 12 constellations of the Zodiac are represented carried by men in the form of air and aerial inflated giants.

This parade is filled with poetry, impressive volumes and technicians with shimmering costumes.

Give free rein to your dreams as the Constellations go by!

To finish off, along the way to these last parades, there are lots of open shops, restaurants and stalls with items on sale like the ones below.

Sol y Fiesta festival

 

 

Fehdah band: Live Show, Niwel Tsumbu Sounds and Afrobeat Club

FEHDAH BAND

First of all, I won tickets for the Fehdah band live show with Niwel Tsumbu Sounds and Afrobeats Club in February 2018.

It was a lively and entertaining night with afro music ruling it!

OPENING ACT

Secondly, the night started with guest Niwel Tsumbu. He is a Congolese guitarist playing sounds derived from rhumba, soukous, jazz, etc.

On that night, Irish djembé player Eamonn Cagney accompanied him.

If you like his music, like his Facebook fan page or follow him on Instagram.

Fehdah band

MAIN ACT

Then, came the main act, Fehdah and her live soulful afrobeat band.

Fehdah’s band lead and singer, Emma Garnett, previously sang for the Manden Express band. However, she recently concretised her dream to create her own afro neo-soul band.

If you like her music, like her Facebook fan page.

Fehdah band

Last but not least, here are the audio recordings of:

If you like DJ Jay’s music, follow him on his Facebook page!

Fehdah band

Finally, enjoy the last video of DJ Jay Ireland!