In 1976, in the very act of rediscovering the French traditional music1, the Mont-Joià Association inaugurated the Mediterranean Musical Encounters from Fontblanche, a district of Vitrolles. This association, active in claiming and reviving the Occitan culture, was also a traditional music group. It would be the engine of a major cultural event for the Occitan movement, oriented towards true Mediterranean identity. This identity, expressed in a manifesto2 was not intended to have space boundaries but to be rebuilt by common questions that arose in the late 1980s. Many of those issues remain pertinent at the present day. Only a few artists and groups (Mont-Jòia deserves special mention) , who performed during these encounters, may be seen live on stage today.
The “Rescontrès de la Mar” proposed between 1976 and 1983: dance workshops, music workshops, singing workshops, stringed-instrument making, musicology conferences and concerts. French artists, North African, Italian, Spanish, Greek, Corsican, but also Portuguese, Hungarian, Yugoslav, Macedonian, Iraqis, Iranians were present, improvising sometimes together and creating new mixtures of sounds. This corpus provides an image of world music, as it emerged in the late 1970s and also reflects the Occitan identity trying to define itself. Beside artists’ presentations, introductions to their works or their country, we can hear the commitment and range of feelings expressed through the universal language of music.
The collection of records was deposited by Mont-Jòia Association to the Sound Archive of Maison Méditerranéenne des Sciences Humaines in 1991. This deposit is as well a way of participating to the “recovery and enrichment of identities movement” that Jean-Mari Carlotti mentioned through the actions of the association.
The French version of the text : http://phonotheque.hypotheses.org/4843
Sound credits : Tura lura lura lo gau canta, played by Mont Joià at a ball hosted with Los del Sauveterre at the Festa de la Lenga in 1978. Lyrics: http://www.musicanet.org/robokopp/french/turalura.htm
- In order to know more about the topic, look for the recent thesis of Benedict Bonnemason: The revival of traditional music in France: the case of Gascon music between 1975-1985, dissertation done under the direction of Jean-Pierre Albert; viva attended in Toulouse, in 2009.
- The presentation of Rescontrès de la Mar is online at http://www.mont-joia.com/www.mont-joia.com/html/Rescontres.php