The beautiful 11th century former Convent in Salignac, now owned by a delightful French family, opened its doors last weekend, to host a unique exhibition of paintings. From time to time, they hold private viewings of paintings,sculpture, patchwork and of musical events. All are unusual and of a very high quality of expertise. This evening, we went along to the private viewing of a local artist Monsieur Pujola, who both teaches and exhibits his work. Huge canvases of ochre, black and grey are his trademark. They are often abstract and are very striking.
This time he had made some very long banner type paintings in shades of grey and black. We got talking to him and he reminded me that we had always wanted to combine our skills somehow using dance and art. Hopefully we are going to run a project next summer using the mediaeval open hall opposite the convent as a backdrop for my choreography and for his students to draw dancers. Maybe using them as part of the performance?
I went along with some French friends to a Christmas concert of music on a rainy Sunday afternoon. It was in the beautiful church at Eyvigues where we had held the photography exhibition last September. A change of weather and of content. There were three groups participating: a quartet of women singing a strange mixture of gospel, African and Jewish songs. Then a wonderful duo, “Karima et Olivier” who sang some of the great French standards – from Piaf to bossa nova – they were excellent. The female vocalist's warm jazzy voice was accompanied by a very “dishy” young man on the guitar and they stole the show!
However , the final group was unexpected. Introduced as a Choir from the Lot , they already had a different accent, being just 20 minutes from the border of the Dordogne. They were a large group and they looked very good but as they began to sing I had my first doubts. A little out of tune shall we say, and some very peculiar harmonies. It was when they sang in English that it became worse and I had to stop myself from laughing. When they started on Bohemian Rhapsody by no less than Queen and the wonderful Freddie Mercury that I cracked up! Luckily my friends were of the same mind but some stern looks were directed at us by our neighbours.
One man in the choir didn’t even seem to be singing much. He stood at the back and he seemed to be mouthing something but he was also staring blankly at the audience some of the time. Who knows? It was most amusing but we escaped and recovered over a nice hot mulled wine. Rural France at its best I think.
There is a very funny tradition of hanging Santas here. These little Santa dolls are seen hanging haphazardly out of windows, chimneys and from roofs.They look quite strange as they are never quite the same size. With typical French brio of course they can look quite stylish. I pictured this one on a house in Salignac and it made me laugh.
Well I wish you all a very Merry Christmas from rural France and shall catch you in the New Year.
December 2014. Fifi’s story from rural France.