Skip to main content

AMINE TILIOUA - CONCERT REVIEW


Imagine the music on this video without the electronics - all acoustic including violin. oud,  rebab (ancient Arabic bowed string instrument), qanoun (sort of a lap zither) and a percussionist. That's what we heard in Capestang on a recent fall evening as a slight chill heralding autumn hung in the air.

We haven't yet learned the rhythms of our new home in France but we believe that October marks the start of the indoor concert season. As is typical, the doors of Capestang's Maison de Peuple (community hall) opened at about 7:00 PM for folks with reservations. You could choose little round tables suitable for three of four dotted around the room or the longer rectangular tables that lined the perimeter. For about $5.00 each, we were entitled to a plate with a slice of bread smeared with tapenade, another slice of bread with a hunk of a cheddary cheese, a scoop of cold rice with spring onions, and a chunk of one of three types of loafy somethings - one featuring smoked trout, one with nuts and bleu cheese, and one with bacon and dried tomato. For $12.00, we grabbed a bottle of sauvignon blanc. And for two hours, while we ate and drank, we were serenaded by two local artists - accordion, uke, and vocals. Occasionally, a dude walked up to the front, put on an apron, and harangued the crowd with a sort of poetry slam in French.

Amine Tilioua appeared with three fellow musicians a little after 9:00 PM. Only once did he tell us anything about the songs that we heard. From what I understood given my still limited French, he simply said that we were listening to Arab-Andalusian songs old and new with origins primarily from the Maghreb of North Africa. Most of the tunes began with a quiet bit of noodling on the rebab or violin. All songs were in Arabic. Some obviously happy and upbeat, some quieter, a bit sad. And toward the end, a women in what I presume was a take-off of traditional North African garb moved sinuously to the music in front of the musicians.

The musicianship was excellent, the singing soulful. Amine's voice is captivating. The players often smiled and nodded to each other. And the audience was enthralled. If this is a preview of the type of concert season that's in store, it will be an enjoyable, enlightening winter here in the south of France.


Comments

Popular posts from this blog

GRAND CAFE OCCITAN: RESTAURANT REVIEW

  We made our way to a new restaurant the other day, up toward the hills past La Liviniere in the small town of Felines-Minervois. None of our party had been there before, but a friend had visited and said that she'd enjoyed it. She's a vegetarian. First clue. Now don't get me wrong. I have no gripe with those who choose to go meatless. I understand the environmental concerns and I understand the horrors of factory farming. But I also understand that form follows function in the design of tools, in the design of appliances, and in the design of human teeth. Our incisors and canines did not develop over the course of hundreds of thousands of years to rend the flesh of a fresh-caught broccoli. We are omnivores by design, Darwinian design. And I enjoy eating omni. Enough preamble... I never went inside the Grand Cafe Occitan. A young lady who would be our server met us at the front door of the nicely pointed old stone house, leading us to a pebble-covered courtyard on the side

Kreuz Market vs. Smitty’s Market: Texas Barbecue in Lockhart

I was born and raised in New Jersey. I didn’t taste Texas barbecue until I was twenty-two years old. What the hell do I know about barbecue? And what could I add to the millions of words that have been written on the subject? Well, I know a bit about food. I’ve managed to check out a few of the finer joints in Texas – Sonny Bryan’s Smokehouse in Dallas, Joe Cotton’s in Robstown before the fire, the dear departed Williams Smokehouse in Houston, and the incomparable New Zion Missionary Baptist Church in Huntsville . So I can speak from a reasonably wide experience. This will not be a comprehensive discussion of the relative merits of Texas barbecue as opposed to the fare available in places like Memphis or the Carolinas. It’s simply a take on our recent visits to Lockhart and the relative merits of Smitty’s versus Kreuz from our point of view. I’ll get all over academic in a later post. On our way out to the ranch in Crystal City, we stopped at Smitty’s. You have to look

RESTAURANT TEN, UZES: RESTAURANT REVIEW

Ten sits just off the market square in Uzes, one of the prettiest villages in southern France. The newly renovated space is airy and comfortable with tables of sufficient size and sufficiently spaced to provide for a pleasant dining experience. Service was cheerful, fully bilingual, and attentive without being overbearing. The food presented well to both eye and tongue. And the rate of approximately 30 € per person for a party of five included starters, mains, a dessert or two, two bottles of local wine, and coffees at the finish. Reasonable if not cheap eats.  So why am I hesitant to give an unqualified thumbs up?  It took me a while to figure it out. Uzes is a quintessentially French village in a quintessentially French region of southern France. There are those who will say that the Languedoc is just as beautiful but less crowded and less expensive than its eastern neighbors. I know. I'm one of those people. But the fact remains that for many people, villages like Uzes are t