OCT'OPUS AND OCHO PUNTO G - MORE THAN CONCERTS



We have come to appreciate that the differences between our old lives in the United States and our new lives in France are defined by more than just the difference in language. The cultures are different on a fundamental level. Nothing illustrates that difference more than the pair of concerts that we attended this past weekend. They were more than concerts. They were community events. I'll start with the last one first.

Eight musicians comprise Oct'Opus. Get it? Eight arms = eight musicians. Except, of course, you can see ten musicians on the stage. Picky, picky. Dec'Opus? Doesn't work.

The concert took place in Quarante's Salle Polyvalente - community room. We'd been to various events there but never a concert. And this was more than a concert. It began with a mixed group of local musicians, teachers and students, playing three tunes for us on a variety of instruments - brass, woodwind, strings, and percussion...unexpected as I had looked up Oct'Opus on the internet and was expecting adults and saxophones. But we were treated to a recital of sorts that included a tune very familiar to us...the jazzy St. James Infirmary from New Orleans. And of course, with parents in the audience, the reception was enthusiastic.

After a wait that seemed longer than necessary, Oct'Opus took the stage. These are accomplished professional musicians from conservatories around the country and their professionalism was on display. From classical to jazz to avant-garde, whether the music covered your favorite genre or caused a bit of a stretch, they played with cohesion and confidence. And they even threw in a bit of choreography. Thoroughly enjoyable.

Equally enjoyable was the fact that the evening included kids. Not just the kids performing but the kids in the families. While I have no doubt that the local sitters had their hands full, the fact remains that even when the evening may promise to be a long one, the French expect their children to attend and behave. And they do. For proof, consider the previous evening's festivities - Ocho Punto G at the Salle Nelson Mandela in Capestang.


This picture was taken by friend Eva rather late in the evening. Note the kids dancing in the front. A group of young people, mostly pre-teens by my guess, hung out with the adults the entire evening for what amounted  to a community zumba class. You see, Ochy Calderon not only leads a fun salsa, meringue, and bachata band but he brings along a young lady to teach the dance moves at a session prior to the concert and lead the dancers during the show. It's a hoot and a half. And even if the band is not as tight as some that I've heard, they certainly led the enthusiastic efforts of a crowd sufficiently large that the venue had to be changed to accommodate the interest. Incorporating local brass players was a nice touch as well. YouTube suggests that's a common practice for the band.

And as always, both evenings were well worth the price...there wasn't even a registration table taking donations in Quarante and we donated 5 euros apiece at the door in Capestang and paid 17 more euros total for two plates of aperos, two carafes of wine, and a chocolaty brownie for dessert.

Our friends sometimes wonder what drew us to France. The food and the wine, the geography and the weather aside, these surprising two nights are reason enough by themselves.



THE BLEND #3 (Broadcast 29/3/2016) - PLAYLIST



The Blend #3
Broadcast 29/3/2016
Host: Ira
Engineer: Wayne Allen
For: ex-patradio.fr

 
Embryonic Journey - Jefferson Airplane - Surrealistic Pillow
Carolina On My Mind - James Taylor - The Essential James Taylor
Little Wing - Stevie Ray Vaughan and Double Trouble - The Sky Is Crying
Turn My Life Down - Jefferson Airplane - Volunteers
//
The Last Time I Saw Richard - Joni Mitchell - Blue
Free Man in Paris - Joni Mitchell - Court and Spark
You Can Call Me Al - Paul Simon - Graceland
I Feel the Same - Bonnie Raitt - The Bonnie Raitt Collection
//
Life in the Fast Lane - Eagles - Hotel California
Woman - James Gang - Greatest Hits'
Rocky Mountain Way - Joe Walsh - Look What I Did!
//
Chuck E.'s in Love - Rickie Lee Jones - Rickie Lee Jones
Don't Do It - The Band - Best of The Band
Goin' Down Slow - Bobby 'Blue' Bland - 20th Century Masters - The Millennium Collection
Trav'lin' Light - Billie Holiday - Billie's Blues
//
In Memory of Elizabeth Reed - The Allman Brothers - Live at the Fillmore East
//
Desperado - Linda Ronstadt - Greatest Hits, Vol. 1
Friend of the Devil - Lyle Lovett - Deadicated
Since I Fell for You - Etta Jones - Putumayo Presents: Women of Jazz
//
Aja - Steely Dan - Aja

Check out all of my playlists on my page THE BLEND ON EXPATRADIO - PLAYLISTS.

CATHEY'S SHRIMP REMOULADE - A RECIPE


From France by way of New Orleans. You can buy your shrimp already cooked to save some time and effort. But if you are from New Orleans, you have very specific ideas about what to do with raw shrimp. You can even buy prepackaged remoulade at Carrefour. (You wouldn't do that, would you?) Here's Cathey's take on the entire process, guided by her favorite chefs.





REMOULADE                 
Makes 2 cups                                                                
Serves 10

1/2 cup celery
1/2 cup green onion
2 tbsp parsley
1 clove garlic
1 cup mayonnaise
1 tbsp paprika
2 tbsp capers, rinsed, drained, and chopped
2 tbsp horseradish
1 tbsp Dijon
1 tbsp ketchup
1 tbsp lemon juice
1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
1 tbsp cider vinegar
1 tbsp hot sauce
1/2 tsp salt
Pulse first 4 ingredients until finely chopped in food processor. Drain or dry with a paper towel. Add remaining ingredients and pulse until well combined. Chill several hours.

SHRIMP BOIL
4 bay leaves
1 tsp whole allspice
10 whole cloves
8 sprigs fresh thyme or 1 tsp dried
2 tbsp coriander seeds
2 tbsp mustard seeds
1 tsp celery seeds
1 tbsp salt
2 lemons, cut in half
1 tsp cayenne, or as much as you can stand
2 garlic bulbs, cut in half horizontally
1 onion, quartered
2 pounds shrimp, shell on and preferably heads on
Wrap seasoning in cheesecloth and secure with kitchen twine. Place the spices, 1 gallon water, salt, lemons, cayenne, garlic, and onion in a large pot (squeeze the  lemons over the water as you throw them in), and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer 10-15 minutes. Return the heat to boiling and add shrimp. Cover and remove from heat. Let stand 10 minutes or until shrimp are cooked through. Drain and place on baking tray until room temperature. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

Mix with the Shrimp with the Remoulade and place on a bed of greens.

FOR MORE FOODIE INFO, VISIT HERE.

THE BLEND #2 (Broadcast 28/3/2016) - PLAYLIST



The Blend #2
Recorded 23/3/2016
Host: Ira
Engineer: Wayne Allen
For: ex-patradio.fr

 


Beware, Brother, Beware
Somebody Done Changed the Lock On MY Door
BB King – Let the Good Times Roll / The Music of Louis Jordan
//
I Came Home This Morning
Last Clean Shirt
Rufus Thomas – Blues Thang
//
Don’t Call Us
Take a Giant Step
Taj Mahal – Like Never Before
//
Pair and a Spare
Messin’ Around With the Blues
Alberta Adams - Born with the Blues
//
The Right Tool for the Job
Louisiana 1927
Marcia Ball – Let Me Play with Your Poodle
//
I Never Loved a Man (The Way I Love You)
Dr. Feelgood (Love is a Serious Business)
Aretha Franklin – I Never Loved a Man the Way That I Love You
//
Try (Just a Little Bit Harder)
Move Over
Janice Joplin – Greatest Hits
//
I Will Not Be Denied
I Ain’t Gonna Let You Break My Heart Again
Bonnie Raitt – Nick of Time
//
Give Up the Funk –  Parliament
Dazz – Brick
The History of Funk, Vol. 4
//
Just Got Back from Baby’s
Just Got Paid
ZZ Top – The ZZ Top Six Pack
//
Swamp Music
Ballad of Curtis Lowe
The Essential Lynyrd Skynyrd

Check out all of my playlists on my page THE BLEND ON EXPATRADIO-PLAYLISTS.

THE BLEND PLAYLIST - SHOW #1



The Blend #1
Recorded 17/3/2016
Host: Ira
Engineer: Wayne Allen
For: ex-patradio.fr



Deep Blues – Dr. John – Dr. John Plays Mac Rebennack
Tin Roof Blues – Pete Fountain – The Best of Dixieland Series
Baby Scratch My Back – Slim Harpo – The Best of Excello Records
Back Water Blues – Irma Thomas – Our New Orleans Benefit Album
//
Mojo Boogie – Sonny Landreth – South of I-10
Brownskin Woman – Beau Jacque and the Zydeco Hi-Rollers – Classics
Le Danse de Mardi Gras – Steve Riley and the Mamou Playboys – Allons a Lafayette/Louisiana Cajun
T’en As Eu – David Doucet - Allons a Lafayette/Louisiana Cajun
//
L’Ouragon – Beausoleil - Our New Orleans Benefit Album
Canal Street Blues – Dr. Michael White - Our New Orleans Benefit Album
Louisiana 1927 – Randy Newman and the Louisiana Philharmonic with members of the NY Philharmonic - Our New Orleans Benefit Album
//
St. James Infirmary – Allen Toussaint – The Bright Mississippi
Snap Bean – L’il Brian and the Zydeco Travelers – Bayou Dance Party
Outside People - Nathan & the Zydeco Cha-Chas – Bayou Dance Party
Crawfish Fiesta – Prof Longhair – Crawfish Fiesta
//
One More Chance – Carol Fran – The Best of Excello Records
I’m Leaving It All Up to You – Dale & Grace – Swamp Gold, Vol I
Sea of Love – Phil Phillips – Soul Man, Vol I
Shed So Many Tears – Isaac Payton Sweat – Cotton-Eyed Joe
//
Texas Flood – Larry Davis – The Best of Duke Peacock Blues
Catch Up with the Blues – Johnny Copeland – Catch Up with the Blues
The Call It Stormy Monday – T-Bone Walker – The Very Best of T-Bone Walker
Pride and Joy – Stevie Ray Vaughan and Double Trouble – Blues Masters, Vol 9: Postmodern Blues
//
Love Me With A Feeling – Anson Funderburgh and the Rockets – Texas Blues Guitar
Texas Guitar Slinger – Joe ‘Guitar’ Hughes - Texas Blues Guitar
I’m Worried – Mike Morgan and the Crawl - Texas Blues Guitar
//
Pretty Little Lady from Beaumont – George Jones – Texas Super Hits
Offshore Blues – Tommy Warren – Swamp Gold Classics, Vol I
Boomtown – Toby Keith – Boomtown



RESTAURANTS IN FRANCE: COST OF LIVING - PART 3

One of the great joys of living in France is the simple fact that the French take their food so seriously. I'm not talking only about th...