BEN L’ONCLE SOUL BRINGS SINATRA TO NICE

Septembre à Nice promet d’être soul! September in Nice promises to be soul!

Often described as the French Amy Winehouse, soul sensation Ben l’Oncle Soul is back with a third album, ‘Under My Skin’, a tribute to the legendary crooner, Frank Sinatra.

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Ben l’Oncle Soul will be in Nice this autumn for what should be a concert full of life! A great opportunity to see live an artist who has been making a big splash the world over in the last few years, with his eclectic brand of sound and his original look based on hats, bow ties and colourful jackets!

With a stage name that pays tribute to the fictitious elderly gent who serves as the brand image of Uncle Ben’s Rice, and music that is clearly influenced by American music of the 50’s and the 60’s, from the likes of Otis Redding and Ray Charles to Sam Cooke and Al Green, the young artist is as French as can be. Born Benjamin Duterde in 1984 in Tours in the Loire valley, he fell into soul music at a very young age, thanks to his mother who was immersed in that universe.

After graduating from art school, Ben, as he was then known to his friends, joined a gospel choir, the Fitiavana Gospel choir, which released an album in 2009 entitled ‘I Have a Dream’, featuring covers of soul classics such as ‘Killing me Softly‘.

Soon thereafter, the young man was signed by the French division of Motown Records and for his debut album, the eponymous Ben l’Oncle Soul, he chose to sing in both English and French. The album was a mix of original material and some covers, including his major hit, the soul version of the White Stripes’ ‘Seven Nation Army’,while his second offering, “A coup de rêves’, saw him team up with San Francisco-based psychedelic soul band Monophonics.

For his latest effort, which was released in late 2016, the French singer has reworked some of the greatest standards popularised by Ol’ Blue Eyes with a touch of reggae, soul, jazz and blues. With the help of both Matthieu Joly (Neïmo) and Benjamin ‘Waxx’ Heikimian (Naosol & The Waxx Blend) and thanks to his powerful voice, he has managed to give a new life to an extremely polished repertoire.

The thing which touched me most in Sinatra’s work, is the lyrics”, the soul artist says. “I wanted to give these jewels a new jewellery box, to create bridges between genres and periods.”

Ben l’Oncle Soul plays at the Théâtre Lino Ventura in Nice on Thursday, the 21st of September, 2017 at 8:30 pm. Tickets cost from €15,80 to €20,80 and can be bought at all the usual outlets or reserved online.

SPIRIT OF DIOR VERY MUCH ALIVE IN GRASSE THIS SUMMER

L’expo à ne pas manquer cet été à Grasse. The not-to-be missed exhibition this summer in Grasse.

The International Perfume Museum in Grasse is celebrating the fashion designer’s love for the South of France with a summer exhibition entitled “Esprit de Parfums”.

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Just a year after the renovation of the Château de la Colle Noire, the provencal holiday residence of Christian Dior, “Esprit de Parfums” is an exhibition that highlights the artist’s life, but also his most famous olfactory creations.

Located near Grasse, the splendid property, set on several hundred hectares, is where the French couturier found the inspiration to craft some of his most famous fragrances.

Close to the land, a stone’s throw away from my vineyards and jasmine, I always feel comforted”. – Christian Dior

But Dior’s love affair with the French Riviera started well before his purchase of the 12,900 square foot château in 1950, his “haven of peace”. As early as 1934, his recently widowed father decided to leave Granville, in Normandy, and move with his daughter Catherine and governess to Callian, in the Var. The young Christian who was already living in Paris at the time, regularly went to stay with them, even taking refuge in the family home in the early 1940’s. After the war, he often visited his sister who had become a flower trader, working as an intermediary selling flowers grown in the South of France to the rest of the country.

It was thus natural that the designer chose to base his first fragrance, Miss Dior, on rose and jasmine. That was in 1947, and the perfume became an immediate success. But the fascination for the region did not stop there. Following in the footsteps of Paul Vacher, Dior worked with a string of Grasse’s perfumers to concoct some of his best fragrances. These included the self-styled ‘perfumer/composer’ Edmond Roudnitska, who created Diorama, Eau Fraîche, Diorissimo and Eau Sauvage, and Edouard Fléchier, the man behind Poison. The region has always been central to Christian Dior scents – even nowadays,  the official perfumer and fragrance designer for the Maison Dior is Grasse-born François Demachy, who has held the position since 2006.

The exhibition, which runs until the 1st of October 2017, serves as an opportunity to display the museum’s large collection of bottles and posters, as well as some masterpieces belonging to the Maison Dior, and pieces on loan from both public institutions and private establishments. Meanwhile, videos and interactive terminals provide an historical context which call on all the five senses.

The Musée International de la Parfumerie is open every day from 10 am to 7 pm, and the entrance fee is €6

CONTACT DETAILS
Musée International de la Parfumerie
2, boulevard du Jeu de Ballon
06130 Grasse

Tel: +33 4 97 05 58 00

 

BEAUTIFUL BRATISLAVA MAKES FOR THE PERFECT WEEKEND GETAWAY

Oubliez Prague, Bratislava est la nouvelle destination pour un week-end parfait en Europe. Forget Prague, Bratislava is the new destination for a perfect weekend in Europe.

Castle

Sandwiched between Budapest and Vienna, and just a stone’s throw from Prague, it is very easy to overlook Bratislava, capital of Slovakia.

Since the dissolution of Czechoslovakia in 1993 which saw the country split into the Czech Republic and Slovakia, it seems like the former has received the lion’s share of world attention and tourism. But the Slovakian capital of Bratislava definitely possesses both an old-fashioned charm and an interesting history that makes it the perfect destination for a weekend getaway.

Spanning both banks of the Danube, the city which was once known as Pressburg, boasts a long and complex past, marked by the likes of the Hapsburgs, Napoléon, the Nazis, and the Communists.

One of the best examples of this is probably Bratislava Castle, a massive monument sitting atop a hill, overlooking the entire city (see lead image). Built in the 9th century, it became the formal seat of the kings of Royal Hungary in the mid 16th century. Restored many times over its 1,000+ years of existence, it has four corner towers that make it look like an upturned table. And according to legend, the internal stairs are very wide and shallow as Hapsburg Empress Maria Theresa was too heavy to climb them herself, and insisted instead on riding her horse up and down. The castle is now home to the Slovak National museum and its beautiful grounds provide for some great photo opportunities.

A walk through the narrow cobbled streets of the Old Town is like stepping back in time. The buildings date from various architectural periods, and the main square, Hlavné Námestie, full of cafés and kiosks selling handcrafts, bustles with life.

From the terraces of both Michael’s Gate, the only preserved gate of Bratislava’s fortifications, and the Old Town Hall’s Yellow Tower, one can enjoy a fantastic panoramic view of the surroundings. The three-nave Gothic St. Martin’s Cathedral with its gilded replica of the coronation crown atop is a reminder of the city’s glorious past, while the many whimsical statutes that are dotted around the Old Town are a nod to a quirkier side, like Schöne Náci, the jovial chap in tails with cane, who doffs his top hat to the curious Čumil popping out of a manhole (pictured below).

cumil

Just outside the walls of the Old Town, St. Elizabeth’s church, built in the Art Nouveau style at the beginning of the 20th century, is a not-to-be-missed attraction with it blue-coloured façade and dome. A little further outside the city, the ruins of Devin Castle, a fortress built on a high rock towering above the confluence of the Danube and Morava Rivers, offer enchanting natural scenery.

Blue church

There is no direct flight from Nice to Bratislava, but the city is easily accessible by train or bus from both Vienna and Budapest.

BONNARD AND VUILLARD REUNITED IN LE CANNET THIS SUMMER

L’expo de l’été à ne pas manquer au Cannet. The not-to-be missed summer exhibition in Le Cannet!

Pierre Bonnard would have turned 150 this year, and the museum that bears his name in Le Cannet is celebrating this milestone with a special summer-long exhibition.

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This exhibition, ‘BONNARD/VUILLARD La collection Zeïneb et Jean-Pierre Marcie-Rivière’,is centered around masterpieces on loan from the Musée d’Orsay. In total, 25 of Bonnard’s paintings and 94 of his drawings, as well as 24 paintings, 3 pastels and 2 drawings by Édouard Vuillard, taken from the collection of Zeïneb and Jean-Pierre Marcie-Rivière that was generously donated to the Parisian museum, are on display, showing the friendship and close artistic bond that existed between the two artists at the time of the Nabi Movement.

The two met at the École Nationale Supérieure des Beaux-Arts in Paris, and remained friends until the death of Vuillard in 1940, which devastated Bonnard. As Vuillard wrote in his last letter to his friend on the 4th May of that year: “If I wrote to you every time I think about you, our past, painting, etc., you would have enough letters to fill a library”.

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Throughout the years, they shared their discoveries and experimentations, but also friends and exhibitions. In the 1890’s, they had both taken an interest in the same subjects, with a preference for intimate scenes representing their daily surroundings, with furniture and accessories playing the most important role. They also both adopted a very similar, evocative style, favouring small formats, mysterious compositions, and images from the avant-garde symbolist theatre and the music of Wagner.

The exhibition clearly demonstrates the affinities between the two men and the similarities in their artistic approach, by creating a link between the various artworks. But it also shows their differences. For instance, where Bonnard’s radiant nudes were usually bathed in light, Vuillard, who observed his models from a distance in the privacy of their homes, preferred instead to represent them as ghost-like figures.

The exhibit, “BONNARD/VUILLARD La collection Zeïneb et Jean-Pierre Marcie-Rivière” runs until the 17th of September at the Musée Bonnard in Le Cannet.

CONTACT DETAILS
Musée Bonnard
16, boulevard Sadi Carnot
06110 Le Cannet

Tel: +33 4 93 94 06 06

Open from Tuesday to Sunday, 10am to 6pm