French Music Jam
Mitch Gordon & Gary Breitbard
This workshop demonstrates the traditional
dance music from the mountains and farmlands in the center of France:
the regions of Auvergne, Berry, and Bourbonnais.
It is absolutely delightful and little-encountered stuff. The Central France
music tradition goes back hundreds of years, and primarily features the hurdy-gurdy,
the French bagpipes (somewhat quieter and sweeter than their Scottish counterpart),
the fiddle, and in more recent centuries, the diatonic button accordion and
clarinet. This is not the music that most people think of when you say "French
music", which is the "cafe music" (bal-musette) played on modern
accordions and is much more recent. Central France music is lively, stirring,
raw, sometimes a touch dark, but mostly just plain FUN!
We will have an ensemble of experienced players who will play central
France tunes for you and describe the music and dances and instruments.
We will also teach some tunes, for attendees who bring instruments.
Gary Breitbard and his partner Jena Rauti have been teaching French
Dance in the Bay Area for many years. Gary also is a fine player of
piano accordion in both the central France and bal-musette styles.
Mitch Gordon plays button accordion, hurdy-gurdy and French bagpipe,
both in a duo with his hurdy-gurdy player wife Roz Reynolds and in
the band Avocet. He publishes books of French dance tunes and out-of-print
CDs of classic central France recordings on his website www.frenchtradmusic.com