The tiny village of Lanvaudan is situated deep in the Breton countryside. The road to the village winds its way through the woods and when you eventually get there you will find that there is no network for your mobile phone.
Once a year, in September, there is a two day music festival called « Les Terres Fertiles ». In theory this festival is « unplugged » – with no amplification allowed. Being British & playing by the rules, we have twice been caught out, bringing along nothing but our voices & an acoustic guitar and of course, we are the only group to do so – and therefore we find ourselves competing against other groups who are (loudly) wired for sound.
This year though, our pitch was in someone’s front garden so we were fairly well protected from the sounds of the other groups. But it isn’t easy singing outside with no sound system. We’ll be better prepared next year!
Mel can’t resist doing the Bunny Ears!
A small crowd gathered in the drive.
From the left: The Skipper, Mick, Bronwen, P-H, Terry & Mel
It’s always worth taking a tankard along – you get more beer & don’t have to drink from a plastic cup!
Mel gets friendly with a silly ass.
Rolling up, Rolling down, We all get drunk in Tilbury town, Twenty-four hours to turn it round And go Rolling down the river
A sudden flurry of e-mails from Mel asking if we could do a performance at the Lorient Interceltic Festival made us spring into action.
We had 24 hours to turn it round and appear on the Cornwall (Kernow) and Isle of Man stage. No time to rehearse. The Skipper was away. Time for Chanti to crank it up a gear, throw together a programme and give it our best shot.
The Festival Interceltique takes place in Lorient every year and lasts all week. There is Breton music, a funfair, Celtic music, street-food, dances, a book fayre, Rock music, clothes, bags, Punk music, jewellery, Shanties and yet more music. There are people playing harps and a variety of other instruments including air guitar.
This year’s festival was dedicated to Scotland. So as no-one in Chanti seemed to possess a kilt, it was on with the tartan corset and let’s go!
The festival takes place all around the town – it’s mostly free of charge, but there is one quay where entry costs 5€ for the week. (Get a badge & don’t lose it!) There are also headline acts on the principle stage which you do need to buy tickets in advance for.
Mel & Terry talk to the sound engineer.
It was a really fun evening.
Mmmmm – a real Cornish pasty.
We don’t usually eat before we sing – so we’re always starving afterwards. Once everyone had got the smell of mine, they couldn’t resist!
The port of Lorient looked beautiful as the sun set. Then, as it got dark, weird and wonderful stuff started to happen.
It has been estimated that 750,000 people attended this year. If you were not one of them here are some photos to give you an idea & flavour of the festival. (Photos taken mid-week)
Bonjour! Hello, there!
Have you wondered where we are & what we’re doing? There have been some changes to the Chantimor line up, some comings & goings & a little bit of being under the weather & being busy in our professional lives – so we haven’t been doing as many summer gigs as we would usually do.
Geoff has returned to the UK – he did his last gig with us in May at La Semaine du Golfe.
New Girl, Mel has joined – with a lovely voice & the ability to play all sorts of instruments.
Oh, and we have made Martyn’s dog, Raffa, our mascot. (He has his own Chanti-scarf!)
We’ll be taking it easy for the rest of the month, but will be back in August.
So, take care & speak soon.
Terry, Martyn, Mick & Mel wait for the call.
Fête de la Musique 2017 Concarneau
Mel & Tel at Paddy O’Dowd’s Bar, Vannes
Vannes, La Semaine du Golfe, Geoff’s last gig.
Melrand July 2017
Hello! Bonjour! Hallo!
Chantimor has been taking a break recently as we are all either working, have gone abroad or are suffering from various aches and pains that are taking a while to go away, but we hope to be able to re-group again soon and start preparing for the summer season.
As you know, we have a Facebook page which allows us to be in contact with shanty groups from all over the place – and this gives us a sense of belonging to a wonderful community of musicians & singers.
One of the Shantymen that I am in contact with is André Baheux who has been newly appointed as President of « Les Vareuses Porteloises »
He has had the brilliant idea of grouping together a list of links to each others’ sites.
So, for those of you who do not have access to the Facebook page which is run by Bronwen & Terry, let me introduce you to some of our Shanty friends from around the world.
Starting with André’s group in the North of France:
Next, let’s go over to America, where I am in contact with one of the members of « Bounding Main » who will be doing a European tour in the summer.
Ok, so now let’s pop over to Holland, as I’d like to introduce you to « Easy & Free », who play Irish music as well as Shanties. They are based in the beautiful Dutch town of Giethoorn.
Staying in Holland, « Scheepsfolk » have built an international reputation and regularly play in France & the UK.
Then, a quick trip to the UK to meet « The Exmouth Shanty Men ».
Finally, I’ll finish off Part 1 with a quick mention of our mates down in the south of France: « The Aude Shanty Men », who we hope to catch up with in May.
I hope that you have discovered some new shanty groups.
Part 2 coming soon.
We were asked if we would sing at a local village Sunday market. They would be summer specials, one in July & one in August in Bieuzy-les-Eaux, Morbihan.
The bright & breezy members of Chanti (that’s all of them except me) were more than happy to turn up at 10am to set up the gear and start singing at 11 o’clock.
So here we are in Brittany in July, all dressed up in our winter costumes and under an awning to keep the fiddle dry. Oh, and no microphones – as electricity & mizzle don’t combine very well. You can’t really see the rain in the photos – but trust me – it was chilly & drizzly. But that’s Brittany for you. I have learnt to expect unseasonal weather all year round.
Then one month later…..
Same time & place in August, not a cloud in the sky, the sun is shining and it’s hot, hot, hot!
La Chèze, Troc et Puces 2016
Then it was a quick dash up to La Chèze in the Côtes-d’Armor for a hot performance in the afternoon.
(Thanks to Simon Davies for taking the photos at Bieuzy.)
Saturday: 30 July
La fête des Voiles Rouges at Port Anna, Séné. (Possibly the best little nautical festival in the Morbihan!)
The André-Yvette – 80 years old!
everyone seemed to be enjoying the mussels
endless chipolatas and chips
Smiley, happy crêpe makers!
Golfe du Morbihan
Geoff, The Skipper, Terry
« We’re being filmed », I said, « Smile! And make sure no-one catches you picking your nose! »
The festivities carried on late into the night.
Sunday 31st July
fun & games on the beach
Chantimor being bitten by insects. And it was hot too!
Les Soubas Résille
Beautiful stained windows in the chapel
Then Chantimor went home…and there was just me & a tambourine as the sun went down.
Many thanks & congratulations to Thierry for the organisation. To Anne-Christine for getting us involved. To Pixel for doing the sound engineering on Saturday, to the cooks in the tent for volunteers and all the lovely people we met at Port Anna this weekend.
We had a great time & hope you will invite us back in 2018.