Fete de la Musique/Bon Iver in Paris

It’s Fete de la Musique today, when bands, choirs, shower singers – whoever wants! – take to the streets and make song.

I wish I had time to go frolic, but I’m in a flurry of activity getting ready to leave for the States. I’m looking forward to it (I mean *really* looking forward to it), but it’s going to be intense. I fly into New York right into weekend wedding fun, then travel up to Vermont for my final writing residency of my MFA program. I’ll be giving a lecture on James Baldwin’s time in Paris, as well as giving a reading, in addition to the workshops, readings, and lectures that already comprise the packed 10-days of residency.

I’ve been cleaning all day getting my apartment ready for friends & renters who will be staying while I’m away. I popped out for some errands, and the music party had already begun. A rock drummer was tapping out beats in my corner cafe. At a bar down the road, a rock band was setting up equipment and testing their sound. Across the street in front of the Indian restaurant a Music and Meditation yoga group was chanting.

A young man (he actually was tall, dark, and handsome) from the group saw me eyeing the information they had put out (the word “free” usually gets me to stop) and he asked if I wanted the “experience” of meditation.

Um, maybe, I said.

How about now? he said.

I can’t right now, I said.

Ok, he demurred. I’m sure he thought I was just trying to get away. Maybe I was – but should I have told him that my frozen food from Picard (last minute dinner!) was melting away? True!

In any case, I could do with some meditation. But no time for that. (The irony, I know. I’m too stressed to meditate. Kidding, kidding.)

I was happy for the musical experience with 3 different groups all within one block of my house, even if it was incredibly brief.

My updates will be spotty (if they happen) over the next few weeks while I’m away.

I’ll leave you with this, then, as it is Fete de la Musique.

I stumbled onto the song “Skinny Love” by Bon Iver a few weeks ago. As you know from my Catharsis Catalogue, once I find a song I like, I listen to it repeatedly. That led me to looking up more music from the artist and I found this clip of a guerrilla street performance in Paris!

If the a cappella isn’t doing it for you, skip forward to 3:20 – it’s kind of classic when the camera turns and you see all of these French people who have gathered to watch the performance.

The trio then hits the Paris streets. All I have to say is, if Bon Iver came up to serenade me in Montmartre I would not run away like those people did!

Bon Iver is best known for the debut album that he wrote in a cold Wisconsin winter. From the sorrowful sounds, it was most definitely the music produced from a gut-wrenching breakup. But some beautiful music came out of it, and tipping a hat to the chilly season, he went with the name “bon iver” thinking this was the French for “good winter.” (Phonetically it is. Bon Hiver would have been correct, but heck, who am I to say anything about a missing ‘h’? My written French needs some work).

Without further ado, here:

If you can’t get enough, you can listen to Bon Iver’s new album over at NPR’s First Listen until June 23.

But the main thing: have a great start to your summer. Happy solstice!

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20 Responses to “Fete de la Musique/Bon Iver in Paris”


  1. 1 Buffy June 21, 2011 at 8:58 pm

    Thank you for introducing me to Bob Iver. He is good! He will be playing in Washington DC, near me on Aug 2. I may get to go. Have a good trip to the States! Good luck with everything!! Look forward to seeing your posts when you have time.

  2. 3 thetravelingpear June 21, 2011 at 10:04 pm

    The husband and I have never experienced anything like this Fete de las Musique before..It’s fabulous! We have a rave like band right outside our building and a woman singing American tunes in the cafe across the street! We grabbed a few beers headed to the Luxembourg gardens and chilled out to a serenade of flutes and a choir..Paris is brilliant!

  3. 6 Oneika the Traveller June 22, 2011 at 8:38 am

    Have a safe trip back! Would you believe that I am in the States right now finishing off classes for my Master’s degree? I left Hong Kong permanently a couple of days ago and it feels so surreal to be in North America! Anyhoo, Bon Iver is cool, I was introduced to the group when Kanye West sampled their song for his “Lost in the World” song on his new album!

    • 7 paris (im)perfect June 22, 2011 at 10:04 am

      Oh my gosh! Such big news! Didn’t know you left Hong Kong permanently! I’ve heard reverse culture shock is even more of a shock – I can imagine it must feel surreal to be back in North America! Good luck finishing your master’s degree (what are you studying?) Of course when you do finish, you should treat yourself with a trip to Paris :)

  4. 8 Sariah June 23, 2011 at 6:03 pm

    Sion, first congratulations on the final stretch of your Masters! Second, oh my gosh – that video just made my rainy new york day. Please keep sharing music and videos. Have a lovely weekend here, and good luck with your lecture. I hope to see you in Paris soon!

  5. 10 Sweet Freak June 23, 2011 at 9:12 pm

    Have a brilliant time in the states, mon amie! I love the sound of your lecture – maybe there will be a special encore presentation sometime in the future? Safe travels and enjoy! (And meditate on the airplane!) xo

    • 11 paris (im)perfect June 26, 2011 at 6:55 pm

      Thanks, Amy! Yes, depending on how the Baldwin lecture goes over, I might try to do something else with it. And I didn’t meditate on the airplane, but I ended up talking to a nice German guy for almost 5 hours. Random and fun.

  6. 12 susan b. June 23, 2011 at 9:57 pm

    Fun fact – he didn’t use ‘hiver’ because when he was writing his first album he had a disease that was in his liver and thought the two looked too similar, so he kept ‘iver’! I love the a cappella version so much I used a website to rip the audio from the Youtube and listen to it on my iPod.

  7. 15 Shannon June 24, 2011 at 7:35 pm

    I heart bon iver too, my friend used to play poker w/ him actually, small world! I’m the same way w/ music, I listened to this album on repeat for *MONTHS* and am super excited about the new one. At the mo’ I’m completely obsessed with Florence + the machine though.

    Hope NY treats you right! have a great trip!

  8. 17 Amy Kortuem July 8, 2011 at 8:57 pm

    Wow. I’m a writer but I’m also a harpist, so it’s been a dream of mine to perform at the Fete de la Musique! Maybe I’ll just show up next year, harp in hand, and see what happens…

    • 18 paris (im)perfect July 8, 2011 at 10:46 pm

      Amy! You should totally just show up and play! That’s in the spirit of Fete de la Musique! I have a musician friend who didn’t decide until half an hour before to go out and play and she drew a nice, enthusiastic crowd. I’d love to walk down the street and see you and your harp!


  1. 1 Summerflings, We Were Evergreen « paris (im)perfect Trackback on June 22, 2012 at 11:35 am

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paris (im)perfect?

Sion Dayson is paris (im)perfect. Writer, dreamer, I moved to France on – no exaggerating – a romantic whim. As you can imagine, a lot can go wrong (and very right!) with such a (non)plan. These are the (im)perfect stories that result.

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