Art ^music^photography^news^techno^fashion^people^technology^science


La Félibrée 

La Félibrée is a French festival that celebrates the language, culture and traditions of the Occitan. Since 1903, this festival has taken place on the first Sunday of July in a different town in the Dordogne region of France. The town holding La Félibrée is bathed in spectacular colourful displays of handmade paper flowers as they are strung across every conceivable surface.


Those of you who have been following me for a while will probably be aware of my fascination with Romance languages, and especially with the traditional tongues and dialects of southern France and the Pyrenees. This evening I somehow ended up watching this video of revellers at the Hestiv’Oc festival coming together to sing the unofficial anthem of Occitania- the lands in the Midi where the lenga d’oc was (and to an extent still is) spoken in place of the langue d’oïl (French). This song- known as Se Canta or Aqueras Montanhas- was supposedly written by Gaston III Fébus (1331-1391), Count of Foix and Béarn. As national anthems go (and I use ‘national’ in the sense of belonging to a people of common cultural heritage), this one is utterly delightful. Below are the lyrics in standard Occitan (there are many different versions in different dialects) and translated into English.

Dejós ma fenèstra,
I a un aucelon
Tota la nuèch canta,
Canta sa cançon.


Se canta, que cante,
Canta pas per ieu,
Canta per ma mia
Qu’es al luènh de ieu.

Aquelas montanhas
Que tan hautas son,
M’empachan de veire
Mas amors ont son.

Baissatz-vos, montanhas,
Planas, levatz-vos,
Per que pòsca veire
Mas amors ont son.

Aquelas montanhas
Tant s’abaissaràn,
Que mas amoretas
Se raprocharàn.


Outside my window,
There is a little bird
Singing all night,
Singing its song.


If it sings, let it sing,
It’s not singing for me,
It sings for my love
Who’s far away from me.

Those mountains
That are so high
Keep me from seeing
Where my love has gone.

Lay down, o mountains,
And rise up, o plains,
So I may see
Where my love has gone.

Those mountains
Will lay down so low
That my dear love
Will come closer.

Troubadours Art Ensemble - Gérard Zuchetto

—Ar Resplan La Flors Enversa


Raimbaut d’Aurenga (c. 1147-1173) - Ar Resplan La Flors Enversa

Troubadours Art Ensemble - La Troba 5

Text in Occitan and translation in English here


These four languages are really for me the best example of a linguistic passion and obsession. The French, Catalan, Occitan and Spanish are melodious in every letter and in every sound.


These four languages are really for me the best example of a linguistic passion and obsession. The French, Catalan, Occitan and Spanish are melodious in every letter and in every sound.

la-reine-occitane asked: I was wondering if you had additional information about the presence of Black people in Scandinavia other than art depicting them with the Royal Family. The vast majority of the population were peasants, and they were definitely not in contact with the royal court. I agree with the views expressed in your blog whole-heartedly, but I'm missing something... were Black people ingrained in every societal strata and to what extent - or were they only present at court?


This is a good question.

The answer is: for the most part, only wealthy and important people were painted during these eras, and/or only those images were thought important to preserve.

It’s not until the late 1400s and 1500s that you begin to see more surviving sketches and studies like this one by Dürer (Study of Katherina):


According to her clothing, she’s just a particularly lovely middle-class woman living in Germany in the 1500s.

Tons of sources insist she’s a “slave”; the thing is, the enslavement of African people hadn’t even started in Germany at that time. Some sources claim that she was the servant of the Portuguese factor João Brandão in Antwerp, in which case, that’s a possibility.

But, I digress.

Most European Medieval manuscripts and paintings focus on religious subjects, or images of royalty. However, there are some Calendars and Book of Hours that depict rather racially mixed crowds of both nobles and commoners, like this one from 1400s France:




And there’s this unfortunate guy, who is just a regular French soldier getting decapitated:


So….there is definitely room for a cross-analysis of race and depictions of peasantry and/or merchant classes in Medieval European art….

But,  finding critical race studies in the context of Medieval European art is few and far between….and the ones that do cost $75+, and I’m still paying off my computer.


Adorable & Delightful Close-Up Shots Of Meerkats In The African Wilderness

by UK-based wildlife photographer Will Burrard-Lucas