Fête de la Musique


They say the saxophone is the closet sounding instrument to the human voice.

A sweet, brassy sound unlike any other sang to me through the open, ceiling high, white paint chipped windows. The air was cool, stones still warm from the day’s sun radiating the memory of its energy. White linen curtains fluttered in the breeze, dancing to the music. I felt the need to be in its midst, to descend the battered, spiral, stone staircase and step out onto the street.

The number of pedestrians seemed more significant than usual, the smell of cooked meat wafted by; a temptation as old as man itself. The sounds swelled and drums beat, echoing through the narrow passageways from every direction. The heartbeat of the city was alive and vital tonight. Tonight in Bordeaux was the Fête de la Musique, the one night of the year set aside to celebrate music in all its forms and all its majesty.

I wandered, as one does when you find yourself in a city alone, unfamiliar with the language, customs and traditions, searching for something. I was searching for a memory. A memory yet to come, one I knew I had to create, one I wanted to keep with me.

Music is evocative, music is passion and music is an electric current binding people together through shared experience and emotions. Music draws you in, every individual likes a certain palette of flavours and perhaps on a night like tonight are drawn to similar places where the music is tangible and physical.

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Genre’s of music were fighting with one another feet apart, a battle for the hearts and minds of the people. A siren, alluring and primal. Crowds clustered and flowed from square to square, street to street like flocks of birds swooping and diving, swirling in synchronised masses. Up close it’s chaotic and confusing, but from a higher perspective it’s beautiful and filled with patterns.

I drifted along the streets with half strangers, marvelling at the colour and joy throughout the city. I learnt about a new place and I lived in the moment, eyes and ears open to possibility and beauty.

The night grew darker but the sounds grew brighter, the energy thrummed and fizzled; wine flowed and inhibitions ebbed.

As swift as they had come the half strangers were gone, just a sound on the breeze. The saxophone still sung and the memory was found.

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