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Oom-Pah Bands
October 01, 2007
11:28 AM

Oom-Pah Bands

Occasionally where French people are gathered together you will come across a small group of buskers playing, what I call, oom-pah music. This is usually dominated by a deep bass brass instrument, one which can fill the area with its booming notes.
On a visit to the market in Narbonne during the summer I heard this distinctive sound in the distance but by the time we found the source the band were moving on to another place to busk, so I had to photograph them from the back as they moved on.
The tuba must be the most unlikely busking instrument.
In 1988 we were in Dournanez at a festival of boats and eating Andouillettes in a huge fish warehouse which had been converted into a thousand seater restaurant for the festival.
In came an oom-pah band, complete with tuba and, to my great satisfaction they began to play one of the few French pop songs which I knew the chorus of.
And so, with the thousand other diners, I sang along with the Francoise Hardy sixties classic, Tous les garçons et les filles de mon âge......


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  Martin Dwyer
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