The marriage of Lloica and Czackis - a modern klezmer's tale
Alaskan klezmer flautist-at-large Nancy Metashvili has been wandering the world for the past few months, and when we are lucky, sends back emails of her exploits from York to Mali. She sent permission to post this missive about a wedding in Alsace to the KlezmerShack. The world is so small ... it wasn't until I was almost at the end of the vignette that I realized that this is the same Lloica who participates on the Jewish-Music mailing list, and who I have encountered online for years! How wonderful to get a report of her simkha from another virtual friend, Ferengi Nan
Subject: Fun der Chupe
Date: Tue, 27 Sep 2005 13:21:14 +0000
Alors, mes amis- L'Chaim!
There's nothing like a big, exhuberant Jewish wedding, and when it's held in a tiny French mountain village the celebration is simply stupendous and unforgettable.
Andre and Lloica got married last weekend in Grandfontaine, France, in the Vosges Mountains of Alsace. The town (population 300) is postcard pretty, all smartly painted houses with steeply pitched roofs nestled along a stream and hills rising up green and luxurious. The gardens are the classic French potager—the edibles are considered beautiful, and flowers considered just dandy to be in the midst of the veggies. There is one patisserie/epicerie, a school, a church, a Mairie (mayor's office), a Salle d'Fete, some pastures, a pampered donkey and lots of dogs. It's a small town in France, prosperous and not too provincial, because after all Strasbourg in only an hour North, and what a grand place that is!
The 'Grand Fountain' is a tiny little ornamental fountain in the middle of the main street, where it intersects with the other street.
300 villagers, and then 100 guests arrive from around the globe.
Andre is originally from Poland, so his family drove down... Lloica is from Buenos Aires, and some family flew in from there... friends from London, Paris, Strasbourg, Venezuela, Germany, Holland and Alaska.....
I first met Andre on the Nile, we were both in the same felucca sailing from Aswan to Luxor. Two Klezmorim in the middle of Egypt, how very unlikely! I think Andre and Lloica met in Paris...
The bride was zaftig and magnificent, so beautiful in a sexy grey silk number. The groom was calm - bemused? - and happy and - exhausted? (They did the party themselves, with a little help from their friends.)
The sun was nice to us, warmly decorated with those sweet puffy little white clouds, and the guests were exotic and beautiful. Villagers hung (discretely) out windows, clustered in doorways, or just happened to be tending to small tasks in their fields above the mairie.
The ceremony was civil, this being France. A meeting with the Mayor (actually the deputy Mayor, who confessed nervously that it was his first wedding) to cite statutes, proclaim codes, and sign documents around a long table. A crowded room, and quiet voices. I was outside on the steps with a pickup Klezmer band—we tended to burst out joyously at the appropriate times (ie "you are now man and wife") but had to be shushed at least once!
Ah, but when they emerged, what a simcha! A wineglass was smashed and the music commenced. Rob, playing the Bobover Wedding March in context was sublime. We were a kapelye like a rainbow made audible, with 2 accordions, 2 fiddles, 1 clarinet, 2 flutes, 1 piccolo, and a sopranino sax.
Humdrum no more, la Rue Principal metamorphosized from gasn to Carnival ... the wedding pair, the Klezmorim; freilachs, gasn nign, der Heisser Bulgar, horas and shers, Zol Zayn Gelebt, , Mazel Tov and up the street in a colourful procession. From silver hair to babes in arms and not forgetting Inez the fluffy mini dachsund, we wended our way all through the town and ended up by Andre's underconstruction but already enhanced with blooming windowboxes, what class! houses. And there was champagne, canapes (I'd been working since dawn helping with the canapes) and papirossen. It was the first wedding where I've seen cigarettes officially included in the feast like that.
Toasts, chatter in French, Spanish, English, Yiddish, Dutch and Polish.
More winding and wending to the Salle d' Fete, and a banquet of French lavishness and international style—ducks, tagines, breads, cheese, sauerkraut, wine, jus de pommes, cornichons, pickled herring, prickly pears, a five tiered wedding cake (made by a Parisian 12 year old) a la Buenos Aires, of dulce de leche.
More music. Lloica sang. She's the Queen of the Yiddish Tango, with a voice like a sultry chanteuse from the 20's and a presence beyond words.
Dancing Poetry Papirossen
triumphantly carried aloft on chairs. Tears in the eyes of the Bubbies, like little diamonds of love.
Mazel Tov. May great happiness travel with you.
And in this pristine setting nestled, in a last hurrah, my little tent. When I errected it, (it was the first to go up) there was a troup of kibbitzers; Madame La B&B in whose garden we camped "Mais non, c'est froid!!" and her sister and brother-in-law, a cousin from Paris and her 12 year old. The 12 year old wanted to help "Oh, I LOVE putting up tents!". Well, enthusiasm more than experience, and of course there was the inevitable CRACK&mdah;merde—and a vital pole snapped. Inevitable again, the brother-in-law was an expert Mr Fix it and he quickly cobbled up a temporary repair. So holding back charming Agathe the 12 year old, crying "Doucement, doucement" slowly I put up my poor little lopsided dwelling for the last time. Sleeping on soft grass to the music of the stream, overlooking the neighbour's Gnome Garden and content at my friend's love and happiness, I accepted that my Camping in Eastern Europe Lark was at an end.
Gracias a la vida,