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Mumford and Sons

Like travelling back in time a couple of years. Sitting and waiting on the sidewalk in front of the Flèche d’Or, on a bright and sunny day (oh, yes). Watching Moon show up with two huge bags on his back. Going to meet a band that would be playing that very night, and with whom we would only have a short hour. Chatted while we set up their microphones, translated their song into French, then fretted.

Moon set up while I stood, head in my hands, trying to find a location close enough where we hadn’t already filmed. The Mumfords were adorable, trying to help me. The tunnel? Already done with Ramona Cordova and Menomena. The church? With Vandaveer and Loney Dear. The café down the street? With Eagle Seagull and J. Tilman. There was, however, the tunnel a little ways away, where the door had been squeezed open. Johnny Flynn arrived and agreed to come along. We gave him a microphone; time was running out, we headed off.

Everything after this point was built on the cheerfulness, enthusiasm, and the casual Britishness of a group whose power is fed by the evident pleasure they get from playing. On their strange music, music which is almost a religious experience, pastoral and fervent, fed by dozens of differing folkloric traditions. On a Johnny Flynn, who we had brought along almost without asking his opinion on the matter, and who improvised on the violin like he had created these songs which were not even his. And finally on the young woman who opened her door to us, her courtyard, and for whom the Mumfords sang in French, “Réveille mon âme…” An understatement, to say the least.

Translated by Tara Dominguez