Tuesday, September 03, 2013

Carrefour Mondial de l'accordeon 2013

Haley has had a lot of amazing opportunities this year and this past weekend was no exception. We have been looking forward to this weekend since John called last winter to invite Haley to play with him at Carrefour Mondial de l'accordeon in Montmagny, Quebec. Carrefour is a huge accordion festival featuring accordion players from all over the world playing every genre of accordion music imaginable.

Haley and I flew to Quebec Friday afternoon where a driver picked us up to take us to Montmagny. We met a couple musicians from Alberta in the van...luckily they spoke English and one spoke a bit of French so he was able to communicate with the driver. Our flight had gotten in early so we went straight to supper in the hotel where we found John and he introduced Haley to a number of musicians.

We then checked into our room then headed off to the festival's opening concert where we heard amazing musicians from Russia, Italy, France, England, and Boston. We had to sit in a viewing room for musicians where the concert was shown on a screen because it was sold out. I was amazed at the crowd in the observation room...all the musicians coming to watch and support each other. Even though the musicians performing could not hear, everyone in the observation room clapped and bravo'd each performance then congratulated the performer when they came back into the room.

After the evening performance there was a reception where the president of the festival gave a speech and thanked everyone, I think....it was in French. We went back to the hotel around midnight and headed to bed.

Saturday morning we woke fairly early and went to breakfast at a little restaurant near the hotel. We ran into John and Elizabeth on their way to breakfast on our way back to the hotel. We went back so Haley could practice a bit while they ate then we all headed into the main part of town...just a short walk...to see the festival. We watched some performances on outdoor stages and checked out the offerings of the vendors before heading back to the hotel for lunch. Lunch was followed by working out a set list for the evening performance then walking back into town to watch some dancing to accordion music on the main outdoor stage before supper time.

After supper, a driver took us back into the old part of town where John, Paddy, and Haley had a sound check. Then they went over the set list with Paddy who'd just arrived, changed up a few things to tunes he likes to play, and got dressed for the performance.

Haley had never performed with Paddy and John before. She had played with John and his band but it was a debut performance for the trio. They were wonderful together. The sound was perfect and the venue intimate. They received two standing ovations after the show. Haley's new accordion playing friend, Pietro, our new friends from the van ride to the festival, and a number of other musicians came out to support them as well. After the show, we walked over to the restaurant where the late night musician jam session was supposed to be but it was late getting started and Haley was tired from her late night on Friday and early rising this morning so we didn't stay long enough to hear the music. They told us it started not long after we left which was 11:15pm.

Pietro congratulating Haley on her performance!
Sunday morning we had to get up early again for an early morning sound check and morning concert. During the sound check they worked out the set list for the morning show...only a 25 minute show.

The trio heading to their morning sound check.

I love this picture of Haley so had to add it.

Sunday morning performance.
 The Sunday morning performance sounded even better than the night before which I didn't think was possible. They received another two standing ovations. Haley and John played a lovely duet of Grosse Ile, a slow air composed by John for the island near Montmagny where thousands of Irish immigrants were quarantined when coming to Canada and many died. I added a link above so you can read the sad story of the island and Haley and John's duet is below along with a set of jigs.

Haley and John thought they might add some ballet into their next performance.

Haley asking John if he'll teach her accordion while visiting one of the many accordion shops at the festival.

Sunday after they finished playing, we went to lunch then back to the festival where we spent hours watching performances on the big outdoor stage. The musicians were all so great! We got some awesome shots of Pietro Adragna performing on the stage Sunday. He is the world champion accordion player and after listening to him...whew! no wonder. He played an amazing rendition of Csardas that he arranged for accordion. Haley thought it was better on accordion than violin.

After supper, Haley and I had some time so we walked to the bridge over the dam for the St. Lawrence River which was about a mile from the hotel. There was a walking/bike path along the river so we took the path back toward the hotel. The sun was setting behind the mountains on the other side of the river and it was simply beautiful out there.

When we finally got far enough on the path to head back toward town near the hotel, we came up behind some buildings and found this big goose! Every year the snow geese come to this part of the St. Lawrence River and they have a festival. This goose float must have been or must be going to be part of one of those festivals.

After our walk we went looking for John in the dining area and ran into Francois, a violinist. He and Haley had been trying to find each other all weekend. They had a little violin/fiddle time...accordion-free...playing Irish music and classical music together then Francois played Haley some music he composed that was Baltic style. (She loved it!)  We headed to a concert to watch Gary from Scotland and the Brazilian band (I think most of them are from NY and they are fabulous) then went to the lower level of the high school for some dancing (we danced but it was difficult to follow the instructions in French so a little funny) before heading to the restaurant with the late night musician jam. Haley was going strong this night and looking forward to some music.

The restaurant with the jam had a back room where mostly Irish, Scottish, and French Canadian music was being played. It was packed with accordion players, one fiddle (Haley), a keyboardist, one person playing harmonica, and occasionally Paddy playing banjo or whistle. Haley started to get tired around midnight and decided to play one more set. Then at the end of the set John encouraged her to play a Mason's Apron solo. After that she got her second wind until we dragged her out of there sometime after 1am. On the way out we stopped to listen for a few minutes in the front room where other people were improvising jazz music together.

Monday morning, the festival put on a musical breakfast for the musicians. Some performed while the others ate then after the eating was over, there was dancing...lots of dancers on the floor. Fun!

The musicians at Carrefour.

From the breakfast, they packed those leaving into vans and drove us into Quebec, along the St. Lawrence, then on a driving tour through the old part of the city...I want to go back and see it by walking because it was amazing. It was raining, windy, and cold and there was no time to get out of the car. They stopped the vans at a restaurant (our flight wasn't until 5:30pm) where everyone got lunch around 2pm. We got to talk to some musicians from Paris who we happened to be sitting beside. Then it was off to the airport in time to check in, exchange money, and board the plane.

Here are a couple videos I took during performances....

                                           Paddy, John, and Haley performing a set of jigs.

                                                 Haley and John playing Grosse Ile.


Mario Bruneau said...

Hey there,

I enjoyed reading your story about your Montmagny's Carrefour Modial de l'Accordéon participation.

I really love this Festival. I played there 3 times and in 2008, I presented my MultiMedia Accordion Conference as a lecturer.

Too bad I can't go anymore because I always have gigs on that weekend. You can visit my site and listen to my music at http://en.mariobruneau.com/accordionist/

Best regards from Magog, Québec.

Mario Bruneau

Jenny/Teachingmybabytoread said...