Catching the last night of Festival de la Cité Lausanne 2012…

Arggghhh …

I have quite a number of excursions to share … including those that dated back to April, when we did the two special train rides over two separate weekends  … that I do not know how to start! Should I start with the ones that we did before I left for my holidays in Singapore … or … the ones that I did during those holidays and after? There are so many thoughts going through my head as to how best to start the sharing of the backlogs that I can almost feel an onslaught of a headache! Hmmm … tension, tension …

Okay, let me take a deeeeep breath so that I can collect my thoughts … and try to be practical in going about it.

Now, since I already cannot remember in exact details what we did during the earlier excursions before the holiday … so I suppose it makes better sense for me to try and start with the most recent, which I can still remember well enough …. and then go back from there. However, this would of course mean a longer wait for  those of you who might be waiting for me to share on our two special train rides and then the trip to the South of France. Yes, I know that it is not a perfect solution … but please bear with me, okay?

So to kick-start my anti-clockwise sharing of excursions that we had done … let me start with the short outing that we did to catch the last night of the Festival de la Cité in the old town of Lausanne on Sunday. This is an annual event in Lausanne that lasts about a week  during which there will be various performances held in dedicated venues and streets of the Old Town (called La Cité) for people to enjoy … all for free! The only things that require payment are the food and drinks … provided by the different stalls all along the streets in the old town. But for those like us … who had their dinner first before going … not a single cent is needed for a night of entertainment, at least not that night lah. I loikeeee! hehehe … 🙂 Usually we would buy some Festival badges or drinks to help sponsor the event.

We had totally overlooked the date of the festival (even though we knew that it is normally held in July) … and so missed catching the performances that were put up during the week nights, last week. We had intended to catch some performances on Saturday night … but after a day of shopping and checking out the sales in town (where we bought an almost identical sets of trekking shoes, trekking shirts and caps all at very, very good discounts for the anticipated trekking that we intend and hope to do this summer and autumn) and then spending quite some time on my balcony garden, including harvesting my two bags of potatoes … in the end we decided to give it a miss so that we could have an early night, in order to be in good form for our mountain excursion the next morning.

But we made sure that we were back early from our mountain excursion on Sunday, the last day of the festival … so that we could catch a unique performance by a group which calls itself Vegetable Orchestra. Even though their performance only started at 10.30pm, we came early to check out the rest of the festivities. And because of that, we found time to enjoy a highly entertaining and hilarious performance by a Japanese couple of mime artists, Nozomi Horie and Takeshi Shibasaki of Takeshi Shibasaki Sivouplait (Asian pronunciation of the French phrase s’il vous plaît, which means please in English), before the start of the orchestra performance.  

So here are some shots from the festival that evening/night …

Arriving at the Place de la Cathédrale where a big stage named  ‘La Fabrique‘ had been set up for holding some of the performances during the festival. This was just one of several stages that could be found in La Cité during the festival.

Passing through the rue Cité-Devant. I was surprised to see hardly any crowds during the festival that night … except at the performance venues. Of course, this was the first time that we attended the festival on the last day, but from what I recalled during our previous visits to the festival, the streets of the Old Town (La Cité) would normally be full of people: walking, eating, drinking, chatting and watching the various performances held at the different venues in the Old Town.

But not this year. It was reported in the newspaper yesterday that there were less attendance during this year’s festival … although attendances at the performances remained very encouraging. Ahhh … poor organisers, after all the efforts that were put in. And I must say that they had managed to arrange an interesting and varied mix of performances this year. And the two performances that we did manage to attend were highly entertaining!

Another stage area for music performance called Space Tour.  I love the way the stage was set up. It was only later when we passed this area once again after watching the mime performance that I learnt the purpose for the two separate stages.

There was actually a musician suspended between the two stages doing acrobatic stunts while playing on his guitar!! Oh wow … Unfortunately, both our cameras could not take a decent shot of his suspended movements and he appeared only as a bright pink/white spectre hanging above the crowds.  But you get the idea, right? 😉

The so-called Place du Synode in rue Charles Vuillermet … where the performance by the Japanese couple of mime artists, Nozomi Horie and Takeshi Shibasaki of Sivouplait, was held. This was early yet, so there were not many people. But by the time we got back here after doing the rounds around the Old Town to check out the atmosphere and the various event venues, the crowds had grown.

Although it was not in our plan for that evening, we decided to stay and catch the show since we had some time to kill before the start of the Vegetable Orchestra performance. And was I glad that we stayed … because …

… I truly enjoyed their comic performance! No words were needed (since it is after all a mime performance lah! ;)) … but they certainly managed to get the crowds going and even participating in some of the actions by their very action!

To give you an idea of their performance, you can catch a short YouTube video clip of one of the acts that they had performed during the Festival.

More short clips can be seen here.

After their performance (which unfortunately was a little too brief to my liking) … we then made our way back to the end of rue Cité-Devant 

… and beginning of Place du Château  … where the performance by the Vegetable Orchestra was to be held. (This shot was taken during our recce of the area before the show starts … which was why the place was a little deserted. But it was crowded enough when the performance was about to start.)

The musicians of Vegetable Orchestra, a group formed in Austria in 1998, making their entrance onto the stage at  Place du Château. We managed to secure quite a good spot in the centre to enjoy their performance.

Check out the still shots of their performance.

All sorts of fresh vegetables were used to make their instrument … and I really mean ‘fresh’ as these vegetables were bought on the morning of the performance and carved to make into the various musical instruments. A basketful of the vegetable ‘instruments’ were placed at their side for the musicians to choose and use for the different music pieces.

And how was the music made from these vegetables? Well, I must say it was very interesting music … and I was especially impressed by the techno-music pieces performed by the group. A mixture of different music genres: classical, metal rock as well as gamelan/Asian were performed by the group during the performance.

The whole show lasted for an hour with no break in between. And … as an icing on the cake of their performance, free vegetable soup was offered to all who care to taste it! What a pleasant finale to the performance to the Vegetable Orchestra, do you not agree? 🙂

Although it was tempting, we decided to skip the offer of free vegetable soup so that we could catch the métro and be home not too late. What a nice end to a very pleasant Sunday … in spite of the weather!

If you are curious to find out how they make their instruments and to hear them play, check out this YouTube video (or this video on the Guardian website or these sound samples on the group’s website). Enjoy …

For an account of Festival de la Cité 2013, clik here.

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2 thoughts on “Catching the last night of Festival de la Cité Lausanne 2012…

  1. Jan, c’est bien la raison pour laquelle j’ai (moi) rajouté tous ces liens vers des vidéoclips de ce groupe …. Tu peux acheter leur musique depuis leur site web vegetableorchestra.org
    Paul

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