By Didier Allouch, host of Rendez-vous d'Amérique
My dear francophiles, francovorous and francophageous friends, summer is here, despite everything. As usual, we started our summer episodes of Rendez-Vous d’Amérique this week. It’s a little later than usual but we can agree that nothing is as usual in these strange times we live in. These episodes are usually a way to look back on the year we had. And what a year we had!
But my goal with the summer series is, as they say in a very old American song, to “accentuate the positive.”
And yes, I know that it’s hard to believe but there was a lot of positivity in the last months.
It wasn’t all dark. It’s never all dark, even if sometimes it’s hard to believe…
For instance, maybe you’re like me. At a point in your day, you need to unplug, to put everything on pause for a little time. We all have our trick for that. Mine is music. I just ask Alexa to play something I like for a few minutes and I’m reloaded. It could be any kind of music, from Barbara to Billie Eilish or from the Bee Gees to Mozart. And if it’s the latest, chances are what I’m listening could have a French accent.
Working on Rendez-Vous d’Amérique for more than a decade now (our first episode aired in June 2010), I noticed how much the world of classical music is populated by French speaking protagonist.
It could be simple musicians, it could be soloist, it could be orchestra director or it could be the entire orchestra, but rare are the prestigious orchestra without something French in them…
In our show, this week, you’ll see 2 example of this, one is the Orchestre Métropolitain de Montreal that we followed the day of their first concert at the Carnegie Hall in New York, the other is the very famous French orchestra director Emmanuelle Haïm direction the Los Angeles Philharmonic one night of February at the Disney Hall when a concert wasn’t just a thing we can watch on YouTube…
In both cases, we followed some very respected and appreciated musicians. They are not the only ones. As if Francophonie and classical music have been working hand in hand forever.
I don’t have any explanation for this (you know me, I rarely have this kind of thing); it’s just there. Maybe it’s a cultural thing, maybe a tradition, maybe a question of education, or maybe all Francophone people are like me and like to unplug listening to all kinds of music. Don’t you?