It’s kind of a long story, but I ended up staying another week with Polo and Nadine after the Old-Time Weekend in Bécours. Their band, Ida Red, invited me to record about 6 tunes with them on their new CD. Of course, I was honored. All three of them are grand musicians and it was the perfect chance for me to sit down and really learn some of Polo’s crazy, very-old-sounding fiddle tunes.
(For those of you Asheville, Old-Time Music folks out there, Ida Red also included their dear friends Meredith McIntosh and John Herrmann when they were passing through France.)
So, we packed it up and drove back to Ardèche. It was good to be back.
And practiced…And busked at the market on Saturday morning…I think we made about 12 Euros each…
Then, we drove to the middle of no where (a beautiful place)…
Do you remember the woman, Cathi, who I met at the festival La Motte en Provence? The one who called American contra and square dances (in French of course)? She is a dear friend of, not only Polo and Nadine, but of Philippe who I visited in Grenoble. After she and I hit it off so well at La Motte she called and invited me to visit her at her home near a pre-Roman town called Sisteron.
In the picture above you can see how the rock formations create a sort of gateway. A 13th-17th citadel is on the hill to the left and a rare rock formation, where people come from far and wide to rock climb, is to the right. It’s also on the route for Le Tour de France (kind of a pain-in-the-butt for locals). Cathi says it marks the passage from the Alpes and to Provence, hence being a perfect stop after my visit with Aime.
I was enamored with this walk-through from old town to new town. The little sign hanging to the right is for a bakery of artisan bread. They don’t even have a store front, you just peek your head through the front door and they come to sell you bread fresh out of the wood-fired oven.
Below is Valerna, the little village near Sisterone where Cathi and her daughter Julie live.
Cathi is a fiddle player. She started with Irish and traditional French music and then fell in love with Appalachian Old-Time after meeting Polo and Nadine. So, of course, we played some tunes together….
Here’s a look at what I do when I’m not making books. I’m the one playing the banjo uke. Pearl Mueller is on the fiddle and Ellie Grace plays mandolin, guitar and dances too! (which you’ll get a taste of at the end of this video). We also have a myspace page.