Tuesday, 13 May 2008

Sorbonne revisited

Monday night, I happened to be in Amphitheatre Richelieu of the Sorbonne. This was very exciting for me as I just watched footage of both the police and the students "taking over" the Sorbonne in 1968. That night, the room was "occupied" by the jazz ensemble Belmondo and their special guest Milton Nascimento. This was held as part of the Jazz Festival in Saint-Germain-des-Pres which continues until May 23rd. There are so many choices of groups and venues, it can make a head spin.

Nascimento is a Brazilian singer/songwriter who had a vocal sound I had never heard before in my somewhat limited experience with Brazilian music. He entered with extremely high pitched vocal tones accompanying the horns, cello, piano and drums. The only thing I can liken his voice to is the high pitched calls in the songs of some Native American tribes. It was unusual and interesting. It was a mellow concert overall with great music and unbelievable vocals.

Salle Richelieu was an enchanting and intimate space in which to see a concert. The lights shone on the statues perched high on the walls in a very dramatic way. The walls were painted a soft greenish color with a beautiful mural/painting, and wooden benches rose up high along the walls.

And then it struck me, the second reason for my excitement. I had monitored clases in this same room 21 years ago, and my French classes met around the corner. Not quite the days of the Revolution, but I had been a young student in these same rooms. I felt very lucky to be able to come back and feel a bit of Paris' past along with my own.

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