The following is a guest post by Victoria (you can follow her blog here).
Music & Art Throughout Western Europe
The exquisite architecture of Paris, France
I recently traveled through France, Italy, Spain, and England. Backpacking, touring, and living in large cities and rural towns exposed me to the many similarities that bind Europe as a cultural, artisan, and historical hotspot, but also showed me the differences in tradition, customs, and approach. Europe as a whole is so unique to the rest of the world in its beautiful architecture, rich history, and renowned art. However, each European country is unique in its own respective ways, too.
My first experience was in Paris, France, where I was exposed to local music and art. I slept in a tent in the middle of Paris in an outdoor community that resided in a run-down hospital’s backyard. There, I met two Parisians who told me about their music group. They gave me a logo sticker as I was “checking in” to my tent. Their group is called *****, and they make music that is electronically powered by riding a stationary bike. The bike is hooked up to their speakers, and they’ve set up cycling in place to propel the electricity to perform their electronic music for people. Environmental consciousness is highly regarded in France; this type of music was just one example of how people actively promote conscious consumption! These guys were so passionate about their craft, they showed me their bike, how they’d set it up, played me some of their music, and gave me way too many stickers. It was awesome!
The streets of France
The French art scene is obviously incredible too. You don’t even need to go to the Louver to see incredible design; it’s on the streets. My favorite visual part of France is its architecture. Walking through alleys, getting coffee on the first floor of tall buildings, looking up at the incredible intricacy and detail put into each establishment is truly exquisite. Everything is so old. This kind of unique attention to detail is credited to the ancientness of its architecture.
The gondolas of Italy
Traveling to Italy, everything is different. Art is all about color; music is all about live performance. People don’t pass out CDs, stickers or flyers to promote their band. They play it live, on every street corner, outside every restaurant, and make their talents heard that way. I went to Venice and dined so close to the Grand Canal, that when Gondolas swam by, it would make the water overflow the cement so close to my table I picked my feet up to avoid getting soaked. Outside this restaurant, and every other on the Grand Canal, stood a violinist, guitarist, bassist, or trombone player. They share their music for a dollar, and thus the streets are filled with sounds.
Art is in the buildings, like France, but not in attention to detail or architecture; in vibrancy of color. Each house, business, and establishment is unique in structure, design, size, and most importantly, hue. This makes the streets, particularly of Venice, bright and captivating. Whereas France has a more traditional sort of tone, Italy is bold and loud. This, combined with the bands on street corners, creates a lively atmosphere.
Venice, Italy and Paris, France, are just two examples of the alluring differences and similarities across European art and music. Spain is a whole other monster, which I divulge into more on my blog. Europe is unique for its blend of complementary alikeness from country to country, while maintaining each city’s independence. And as for art and music, specifically, I’ve yet to found a continent richer.