Anthropology & Sound – Occitania

I am currently in the south of France, in the Aveyron, an important department in Occitan history which is part of the the Midi Pyrennees Region }

Occitania is the region in southern Europe where Occitan was historically the main language spoken, and where it is sometimes still used, for the most part as a second language.

This cultural area roughly encompasses the southern half of France, as well as Monaco and smaller parts of Italy and Spain. Occitania has been recognized as a linguistic and cultural concept since the Middle Ages, but it has never been a legal nor a political entity under this name, although the territory was united in Roman times as the Septem Provinciae and the early Middle Ages before the French conquest started in the early 1200s.

I am currently in the region documenting the Occitan culture. I am making recordings in different villages, old factories, and obviously capturing voices and dialogues to get hold of a language that is very rare to hear around and which is apparently extinct. I contacted local people and with their help it’s getting much easier. It is motivating and certainly impressive to discover that this culture is actually alive although masked by a friendly French accent.

The first place I visited was the village of Concas (shell), an amazing little commune surrounded by mountains, this place is part of the ‘ Way of St. James’, surely an important stop to go on a pilgrimage. One of the main sonic characteristics that drew my attention are the echoing sounds that resonate all over the place, this gives a feeling of mysticism that a religious place must have.

Today I will continue to go around the region to get more hidden sounds of the Occitania. I will keep posting them here.


~ by soundgrain on December 16, 2010.

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