If it’s a Wednesday in August, it’s safe to assume that Castillonnès will have a musical event on in front of the mairie this evening. Tonight, there’s a celebration of dance from the Pays d’Oc. Sorry, but I’ve seen enough morris dancing to know that’s not going to ring my bell.
Last week, however, was a celebration of the music of Jacques Brel, called Échapée Brel.
It wasn’t a cover act, but rather a trio who told the story of a young romantic travelling through Belgium, the Netherlands and France. As anyone who knows the songs of Brel might guess, the objects of this singer’s affection were called Frida, Mathilde and Madeleine.
The weekly evening shows in Castillonnès in the summer – dubbed les mercredis à la bastide – were the brainchild of the village’s mayor.
The village has managed to attract a line-up that has surprised even the locals. The year before last, for instance, Jean-Jacques Debout came and performed. He wrote songs for many of stars of the 1960s, including Johnny Hallyday, Sheila and Sylvie Vartan. That’s quite a coup for a village of this size.
Last week’s Brel act prompted a standing ovation, and the crowd called for encore after encore.
Ne me quitte pas indeed.