At the Larco museum they had a section devoted to Moche warfare and ceremonial human sacrifice. Flourishing on the north coast of Peru between 100 and 800 CE, the Moche created ceramic vessels richly decorated with detailed, fineline paintings that relate complex tales. The surviving ceramics provide a wealth of information about Moche society and iconography. Moche artists frequently depicted warriors and warrior activities, and hundreds of these depictions can be found in museums and private collections today. The combat they depict appears to be ceremonial rather than militaristic. There are no depictions of warriors attacking castles or fortified settlements, or killing, capturing, or mistreating women or children. Moreover, there is no portrayal of equipment or tactics that involved teams of warriors acting in close coordination. We see no regular formations of troops like Greek phalanxes, or siege instruments whose operation would have involved trained squads of individuals. Although there are a few depictions of two warriors fighting a single opponent, the essence of Moche combat appears to have been the expression of individual valor, in which the warriors engage in one-on-one combat. Only rarely were combatants killed; the goal appears to have been to capture the opponent for ritual sacrifice.
Back in 1982 France’s then Director of Music and Dance, Maurice Fleuret, started La Fête de la Musique in Paris after a study found five million French people – including one child in two – played a musical instrument. Fleuret wanted to get them all playing together out in the open. As Jack Lane and Maurice Fleuret said 31 years ago, “the music everywhere and the concert nowhere”.
So, on June 21 every year, the day of summer solstice, the longest day of the year, musicians from all over the world perform free concerts at venues across town as part of Paris’ Fête de la Musique. Impromptu gigs break out in the streets and sound systems blast out music from every second window. The French capital fills with the sounds of everything from blue notes to Brahms to bossa nova and Paris’ Fête de la Musique rolls on well into the night.
In our normally sedate neighborhood in the 16th arrondissement the band pictured above was blasting out rock and roll including Jim Morrison, Santana, the Beatles, Joe Dassin, Eric Clapton, the Rolling Stones and some French songs that rocked but we didn’t know. People were dancing, kids were going crazy and the neighbors were hanging out their windows to look and listen.
It was a warm night, an appreciative crowd and really good music, reminded me of the free outdoor concerts in Golden Gate Park back in my younger days. Lots of fun was had by all.