A Take Away Show is a musical moment to be carried in the streets, a moment when your eyes are wide open (and your ears too). But mostly, it is an uplifting moment when the musicians and the people around them feel like they’ve been brought elsewhere by the smiling faces they happen to meet. Brought to Jonquil’s magical countryside–not in Oxford where Jonquil was born, by the Isis, near Cowley road, but some place where there’s an imaginary tradition, somewhere with soil left on the ground, and where there are trees. Some place that only exists in Jonquil’s songs.
The guys from Jonquil rehearsed around Hugo, the multi-instrumentalist/accordionist/singer, in the garden of La Flèche d’Or. The songs they played during this walk across the 20th arrondissement are all from the new album Lions, and they got the finishing touches in this garden to become true “street songs”. The rhythms warmed us up, and we were ready to let the folk wash over us.
So the band marched, before the eyes of eager Parisians, enthusiastic about “Pencil, Paper”, “Whistle Low” and the fantastic “Lions”. And thus started the Jonquils’ adventure, in a different Paris, in another century, surrounded by children with laughing eyes and their cheerful parents. As we were getting instructions from the watchwomen of the garden where the Take Away Show was shot, a little crowd began to gather. And they followed us alongside the Père Lachaise walls.
Jonquil’s music is made for these kinds of places. Ben’s violin resounded perfectly, and windows opened; Jody and Robin’s guitars mixed together, and ladies applauded; Kit’s percussions put a rhythm to our walk. Seriously, since I’ve been living in Paris, I have never seen so many people open their windows, so many smiles from strangers, than on this day. There was something magical about this, and the pleasure Jonquil took out of busking in Paris must have hovered there, staying above on the walls of the alleys that hosted them. Then, Hugo’s voice smoothly accompanied us to their night’s performance at la Flèche d’Or.
“We have a garden to close!” the watchwoman yelled during “Pencil, Paper”. Our improvised choir clapped their hands, the children resumed their soccer match, and we could not help but feel happy, yet a bit melancholic, in the midst of the flowers left by Jonquil between the paved stones in the streets of the 20th arrondissement. “In the shade, when no one knows, in the shade we whistle low.”
Translated by Nora