Thursday, 30 March 2017

Pa pa! papapapaaaaa!

A few months ago I had the opportunity to attend a concert rehearsal at the Philharmonie. The philharmonic hall elaborated by Christian de Portzamparc is one of my favourite concert venues in Luxembourg. While I unfortunately did not have time to sketch the beautiful building during the guided tour we had, I was able to get a couple of sketches done during the rehearsal itself.

Besides a couple of other guided tour groups, there was one man sitting in front of me who seemed to be following the music along on a music score. Although I can read notes, I would be stumped if I had to read the score of a whole orchestra! I wondered if he was a music critic.

I don't remember the name of the piece, but it was a more modern composition, difficult to follow. The full experience involved the use of instruments among the audience, which allowed me to see one of them up close.

We were sitting too far from the stage for me to sketch the musicians, but I was able to catch the conductor's dramatic poses as well as some of his (to me) cryptic comments to the orchestra.

I can't say that it was a piece I would have paid money to listen to, it was not harmonious enough, but it was indeed a very interesting rehearsal to witness. 

Thursday, 23 March 2017

Rainy afternoon at the Rotondes

At the last sketchcrawl with the USK Luxembourg, we met at the Rotondes in Bonnevoie. This location was first used keeping steam locomotives and their maintenance. Later it worked as a repair shop for buses.

Toward the end of the 20th century, they were added to the list of classified monuments and renovated to be used as exhibition spaces. Today, they host concerts, exhibitions, a pub and a variety of cultural events.

We met in the afternoon as usual and were joined by Jonathan, a fellow urban sketcher from the UK who was visiting the city that weekend. Unfortunately it had to be one of the wettest days of the year so far. We jokingly commented to Jonathan that it was probably not a big change from the weather at home.

Our group split between those who wanted to stay in dry space and those crazy enough to try to sketch on the roofed overpass between the Rotondes and the Luxembourg train station. I joined the second group.

It would have been a perfect location despite the rain, had it not been for the strong wind pushing water through some of the openings in the overpass. In spite of those conditions, I was pretty proud to manage a decent sketch.

However, after a while we all had to concede to the weather and headed inside to the Rotonde's pub, the Buvette, for a cosy session of hot drinks and sketching.

Friday, 10 March 2017

Celebrating diversity at the Festival des Migrations

Luxembourg celebrates its diversity in many ways throughout the year, but the one event where it is the most obvious is the Festival des Migrations.

The festival is organized by a non-profit organization and has grown so much over the years that it now takes place at the Luxexpo, a huge hall that must have been a warehouse in the past.

It is the occasion for smaller non-profit organizations whose aim is to share their culture and promote diversity and citizenship to show their activities and glimpses of their traditions.

Over three days people are treated to free concerts and demonstrations and have the possibility to try a variety of food from all over the world.

I spent an afternoon there sketching with a friend. The most difficult task was to choose a subject and find a place where we wouldn't be shoved by people from all sides.

I was particularly attracted by the colourful and lively African stands. Many were selling handicrafts like decorations, handbags, clothes and jewellery. Impossible to resist! 

There was a surprise at almost every corner, like this Ethiopian stand serving Ethiopian coffee prepared in what I assume is the traditional way. It was the strongest coffee I had ever tasted, but also one of the best I had ever tasted.

The lady serving it was extremely graceful, pouring the beverage in small cups in exactly the same movement over and over again.

Sitting on small stools at yellow and red tables, it was impossible to resist sketching the beautiful coffee setup.