Wednesday, June 21, 2006

10 good things about today

1) I had a perfect fried egg sandwich with lime pickle and mayo (Try it!) and a Turkish coffee for breakfast this morning.

2) My bank was very helpful (They always are.) and efficient (Not quite so common.) and sorted out exactly what needed sorting out.

3) I saw almost all of my IB students to wish them a happy summer.

4) We had a very pleasant goodbye assembly, and everyone went off happily.

5) We were allowed to leave at 1 instead of 3 - Shukran, shukran, shukran. (Thank you, thank you, thank you.)

6) I had a really good kip on the sofa.

7) It's only 60Dhs for my tetanus shot, which I'm about to go get. (It's been 14 years since the last one: I'm very sensible because I am a grown-up, you see?)

8) Our government clinic is just down the road, and they have excellent, thoughtful doctors.

9) It's the Summer Solstice, which means La Fête de la Musique, all over the world. Yay!

10)This year, Dubai's Fête de la Musique has moved from the Alliance Francaise, which is right across town from here, but has always been fun, in a humid and crowded sort of way, to the Madinat Jumeirah, which is a lot closer. Yes! I don't know where they're going to put everyone, but we're going, so we shall see!

So if you have no plans for this evening, it's there, it's free, and there are new musicians and singers - some Dubai based, and others brought in for the occasion, amateur, professional, old, young, Arab, European, Asian - every 10 or 20 minutes, in a continuous celebration that began at 15.30 and will continue til after 22.00. It's always good, and I never miss it.

So, cultured pagans all, pull out your wolfskin, slap on the woad, wrap some mistletoe around your good oak staff, and allez y!

Here's an excerpt from an English page on the French website:

"When, in October 1981, Maurice Fleuret became Director of Music and Dance at Jack Lang's request, he applies his reflections to the musical practice and its evolution: "the music everywhere and the concert nowhere". When he discovered, in a 1982 study on the cultural habits of the French, that five million people, one child out of two, played a musical instrument, he began to dream of a way to bring people out on the streets.

And thus, in a few weeks' time, the Fête de la Musique was launched on June 21 1982, the day of summer solstice, a pagan night which recalls the ancient tradition of Saint John's feasts.

Given the immediate success of this popular and largely spontaneous event, this gathering of professionals and amateurs musicians, with its new focus on all kinds of music, was the incarnation of a policy striving to give an equal place to amateur musicians, to rock, jazz, singing and traditional music, all of which were given a chance to be heard alongside so-called "serious" music.

The free concerts................ and participation of an ever increasing share of the population...made it one of the major French cultural events, in only a few years.

It began to be "exported" in 1985 (the European Year of Music). In fifteen years, the Fête de la Musique would be taken up in over one hundred countries throughout the five continents.

Though the European dimension remains the most visible one, now that Berlin, Budapest, Barcelona, Istanbul, Liverpool, Luxemburg, Rome, Naples, Prague and the French Community of Belgium, Santa Maria da Feira have signed the "Charter of the partners of the European Festival of Music", the Fête has also taken root in San Francisco, in New York this year, in Manila, and has practically become the national feast in many African countries, not to mention Brazil and Colombia."

2 comments:

Dubai Sunshine said...

I had no idea the Fete de la musique was celebrated here!

I was in Paris 4 years ago and got to experience the Fete de la musique there...and what an experience it was! The whole city celebrates! Everyone is out on the streets, the metros are full of people moving from one area to the other, it was wonderful.

I only found out that there was something happening at Madinat Jumeirah a couple of hours ago, but couldn't leave work early enough...

Oh well...next year hopefully.

MamaDuck said...

The Alliance Francaise used two halls and a lobby, and people came and went between the more formal concerts and the ad hoc entertainment in the lobby. I thought we'd been to every fete, but it appears that it was at Madinat Jumeirah last year, too. This year, we only found one little stage (empty)on a T junction while we were going round and round, in and out, in search of Jambase, and the longer gigs. Jambase was a wash-out for me, with the change-over between Next Flight Out and Lounge Camel taking longer than the sets, problems with the sound, and everyone just talking talking talking because it was a bar. I felt that the venue hijacked the music, and was bitterly disappointed, but a French colleague (who also came down to Jambase, and agreed about the technical side) says there were 3 stages in the souk, and it really felt more like your memory of Paris. So we'll try again next year!