Rather than a litany of the usual what-I-did-on-my-holidays type of thing, I'll content myself this time with this posting about some of the music we saw live in Brittany this summer and a probable future posting of a few photos that I particularly like from the several hundreds that we snapped.
So - music fans, pay attention and sit up straight. I feel the need to write about some acts which were brand new to me in the last couple of weeks, and a bit about one that I'd known something about before.
At the beginning of the holiday in the chill-out zone extraordinaire that is Trebrivan, Mrs The Millbrooker announced that she'd like to go to a few concerts or similar if we could find something we fancied.
A couple of posters caught the eye in the first week.
At the day-long "Le site de la mine en fete" mini-festival near to Huelgoat a stage was set up outside the entrance to a long-closed silver mine and after a chip and merguez sarnie...
...we enjoyed a set in the sunshine by local jazzmen "Les Raggamuffins" - trad big-band jazz featuring a very good clarinet player.
Next act up was Fred Boudineau et Katell. Monsieur Boudineau is a truly gifted guitar player and I recommend very highly that you take a listen on his My Space page.
His partner on the stage, Katell, has a lovely singing voice and performed in Welsh, Breton and Irish Gaelic. Clever-clogs, her.
This is Fred in action, so to speak.
A few days later, Mrs The Millbrooker and I found ourselves in Callac for the 10th annual Repas de Rue. The street leading from town to the railway station was closed off and a meal was served al-fresco to those who wanted it. We chose to just watch the entertainment and we ate at home.
The headline act (not last on stage, but in the prime slot of 9 o'clock until around 10:30 (although with carefully stage-managed encores and plenty of showbiz flummery this was stretched to just gone 11) was another that we knew nothing of - Soldat Louis.
We soon learnt. Soldat Louis have been right to the top of the Francophone rock-pop music world - best known for their 750000 selling number one single "Du Rhum, Des Femmes" - as catchy a piece of pop-rock as you'll hear in any year. Soldat Louis are one of the most entertaining acts I've seen for a long time - every cheesy rock cliche in the book with bagpipes thrown in for good measure. I loved it and am struggling hard to learn that hit song for next time I get to play in Trebrivan.
Have a listen to "Du Rhum, Des Femmes" for yourself. I bet you'll be humming it for days. This is a rendition given on French television last year and the line up is identical to the one we saw (although the accordion player in the video played keyboards for the live gig).
Next act on possibly showed us up for the ages that we've achieved - last year I loved Red Cardell on CD. Live, they were just too loud for us to stay, so we went home. Oh god - I really am getting old - a band was too loud?????
But that's what they were - couldn't make out any individual notes or even individual instruments, it was just a wall of noise. Very disappointing.
And then was the last piece of live music, an unexpected treat in Roscoff. On our last night, after a very decent meal in town (follow the link if you think you might want a recommendation for an eatery in Roscoff), Mrs The Millbrooker and I took a short wander in search of a quick beer to round off the evening. We found ourselves, instead, enjoying a performance by Oktopus Kafe on an open air stage set up by the harbour walls. My goodness me, but they're good.
Have a listen here if you're not too bothered about checking out the My Space page.
I'm delighted to say that the singer Ifig Flatres has become a Facebook friend since I commented on their performance - here's to hoping we can see them again and perhaps collaborate a little - Wreckers and Oktopus Kafe anyone?
So, there we go - a minor cultural tour of Kreizh Breizh (Central Brittany) and a little bit of music in the north as well. We're planning our next holiday dates around who's playing -when and where. Live music in Brittany - can't beat it. Except possibly with a Lentils gig in the Rame Peninsula. (This Sunday at The Devonport in Kingsand 7pm 'til 9, if you're interested).