by Jean Baudoin, St Jean de Marsacq, Landes (FRANCE)
Brief historic :

As it was written by a witness, the viscount of Métivier (in 1839), the hurdy-gurdy in Landes was present at the beginning of the 19th century (what does not explain either by whom, either why one played it, or even though it was very wide-spread). On the other hand, it is certain, to have met the witnesses, that the hurdy-gurdy, at the beginning of this century, was very practised. Every village of the "small moor" had, in this time, one or two players (without counting the other practising musicians : violin, diatonic accordion, flute in three holes, boha - the bagpipe of Landes - ) and even though Mister Félix ARNAUDIN (collector 1844 - on 1921) judged it austerely by writing: "here and there, accidentally, groaned also the hurdy-gurdy" or collecting saying testimonies "the hurdy-gurdy is not good for the dance, it is lying dawdles, she does not indicate the step", she was fashionable.

It is necessary to indicate all the same that, with the diatonic accordion, they are the only instruments arrived until us, being able to give himself an idea of the instrumental music of our region.

It is called vièla, viola ou sonsaina.

For me, I had the opportunity to play in the 1980's with Alexis CAPES (player from the Landes been born in 1910) on the occasion of "folk balls" but, regrettably , in this time, too young musician, without the drop which I can have now, I did not know how to become soaked with the extremely subtle game of this one (while being all the same admiring and impressed by the musician and the people).

Of the other name of hg's players from the Landes followers at the beginning of century : Pierre SAINT-LOUBER (1870-1960), Jean NADAU (1909), Lucien Martin (1904), René CABANAC (1864), Julien DEJEAN (1904), Mivielle (1879)...

Particular technical of hg's players from the Landes :

Aquitaine is vast and I did not investigate enough the styles of the other regions to be able to make a really serious comparative analysis. I shall content with speaking about my place, said by the "small moor" on which concentrated the main thing of "vièlaires". The disc "Vièlaires of las Lanas" is, on this subject, a precious document for whom wants to have an idea of the style of this region.

Fast analysis :

The left hand, assures the melody with from time to time some variations of subject (without having pushed the technical to a degree of improvisation or ornamentation as one can meet it in the other regions), or "reflations" which help in the dance.

The right hand remains "a minimalist" : a cicada (the regular rythmic) and a simple division with, from time to time, especially in rondeaux, "knocks of reflation". A particularity however but which is not the least, in mazurkas and scottishes : an around of wheel for a while, it gives a rather particular "swing".

"Style from the Landes" can be considered, in my opinion, of EFFECTIVE. Although seemingly without big originality, it tries to help the dancer, it is as such that I consider it of effective.

Factor of hurdy-gurdies in Landes :

There is, to my knowledge , no factor of hurdy-gurdy in Landes. According to inquiries the musicians bought them in Allier (Maison Pimpard) or less big number of Vosges (Mirecourt). The people from the Landes privileged "hurdy-gurdies guitars" profoundly flat; somebody was made them.

On the occasion of the year of the patrimony, in the 1980's, the department of Landes, under the emulsion of the "conservatoire occitan" of Toulouse, bought five hurdy-gurdies. By a fate which it would be too long to tell, I was, through the association " Menestrers Gascons ", the administrator of this instrumentarium. It allowed me to suggest, in the associative frame, classes of hurdy-gurdy and to make my first weapons in the pedagogy. Some pupils, in this time, spent the cap of the purchase of the instrument.

Actuality :

Pau's music school opened in 1989 a class of traditional music where I teach the hurdy-gurdy, besides the boha (bagpipe of Landes), the caremèra (rural clarinet), the flute three holes with tambourine with strings.

On Landes, it is only more recently, in 1996, that the local school opened a class of traditional music. I also opened classes on Tarbes's hurdy-gurdy under the aegis of the municipality with three pupils in hurdy-gurdy.

I so created several poles which have completely different functionings, but which allow me to believe sincerely in the future of this instrument (and the others) in all this sector.

There are many groups in our region which established more or less recently. Some use the traditional instruments, some of my pupils also formed their own forming, but in my opinion the two key groups are "Ténarèze " (ex Perlinpinpin) and "Verd e Blu", but for the subject which concerns us, any of the two does not use or any more the hurdy-gurdy.

Now, a new group of young people in which plays a player (Roman Baudoin - 22 years) begins to occur seriously and animates balls in our region.

Jean Baudoin

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Copyright septembre 1998 - Jean Baudoin - St Jean de Marsacq, Landes (FRANCE)