Doing it in the Street
With Henry Shaftoe
If you have been to many public outdoor events in the region, you will probably have come across one or more acoustic bands in matching or themed outfits, consisting of wind instruments and percussion.
Unlike their military counterparts, these are likely to be enthusiastic groups of local amateurs. So any roughness round the musical edges is made up for by their “joie de vivre”
In the P.O. region these bands will be either “fanfares” or “bandas”. “Fanfares” are a very French phenomenon, often having their origins in the Beaux Arts faculties of Universities – once graduated, the ex-students continue to play together and dress up in wacky outfits!
Fanfares to watch out for around Perpignan are “Boutifanfare” and “Fanfarefelue” amongst others.
“Bandas” tend to be rather more straightforward in their dress sense and, as the name suggests, come from the Iberian tradition of village or town bands. So, as is often the case round these parts, we get the best of two cultures: French and Catalan.
Whether “Banda” or “Fanfare”, you will hear a wide ranging repertoire; everything from traditional folk and dance melodies to rough and ready versions of pop classics, particularly throughout summer when the streets and squares are filled with the sounds and colourful sights of a number of these bright and bubbly bands.
Perpignan has an annual “Jazzebre” festival –mostly jazz sessions, as the name suggests, but with various spin-offs, one of which is the formation of a “Grande Fanfare du Festival Jazzebre”.
These events enliven the streets and it’s all free! Just follow the sounds for colour and musical fun.