Tuesday, December 26, 2017

Dec. 14th, first night in Paris

My anal chronological tendencies are kicking in as I try to share things from France two weeks ago while sitting in England at the wanning of our 6th day in Warwick.

I am thinking back to our hotel and its small bar/reception area. When we checked in at 8:30pm, a band called Akim was playing, and I liked immediately their sound. We dropped our luggage in our second floor room (3rd floor for Americans) and went off for a quick dinner.

When we returned, the music had changed to a duo with a woman singing. Didn't like her much, but, the original band came back on, and were great. We enjoyed this band for three consecutive evenings, despite the fact the songs were all the same, which gave me the chance to try and understand what I missed the first night. Each night, Akim played a set, then a short break followed by a duo of some sort performed for an hour, then another break, and Akim finished out the night.

The photo shows the writer and singer, Akim, the man. He was 'raconteur extraordinaire'. In addition to him were a drummer, bass guitar, and a piano, with the piano man and/or bassist singing harmonies. It was a small room, with the hotel reception tucked into one corner, and of course a small bar in addition to the seating area, which doubled as breakfast room in the morning.

Akim was the oldest of the musicians, and I could tell he'd been performing for years. He led into each song with a story, and fully engaged the members of the audience with his eyes and his smile. It was all in French of course, and he used his voice, whether in the storytelling or in the singing, to its full advantage. He understood dynamics, mood, style, and created a continuous flow from song to song. We were carried through a suite of songs where we traveled through images of boats, storms, candles, and we arrive in New York City's harbor where he sees the Statue of Liberty for the first time. His discourse comes into present times, how America has changed and become a destructive force in the world, and how Liberty needs to be freed: "Libérez la Liberté".

I include a few drawings I made of Akim while he was singing. He had a hairdo I adored, from the side, and I hope to paint him from a photo when I return to America. I wish there had been a CD.

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