Arts, Culture & Media

Global Hit

Today's Global Hit harks back to those good old days. Les Ogres de Barback play French music the way it used to be played. The Ogres are four brothers. One plays the accordion. The other three play horns. All are happy doing exactly what they've been doing for the past decade. The World's Gerry Hadden sent us today's Global Hit from outside Paris.

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Fredo Burger is well aware that techno and electronica music have a generation of young people around the world entranced. But he just squeezes merrily away on his accordion.

This is a song Fredo wrote about the joys and madness of life in Paris. He plays in the shade of a plum tree in a village outside the capital. This is his home. This is his music. He says he couldn't be happier.

BURGER: We play authentic French songs. Because its typical at all the little village concerts. You always see an accordionist. Our group only plays acoustic instruments. So we can just start playing on the streets, in the metro, at the flea markets, or village festivals.

Most groups that start on the street hope someone will eventually invite them inside, as it were. But Les Ogres prefer the curb. And the French apparently appreciate that. Les Ogres have made 10 CDs in the past 10 years and sold a half million of them.

BURGER: Fredo says, we DO want to progress in our career but we don't want to do just anything. The problem is that often some guy comes along and says, yeah, I'll make you stars �this is gonna be great. But we don't want others taking over control of the group and making decisions for us.

So Les Ogres do everything themselves. That includes organizing and playing about 50 shows a year. And recording. Their latest CD is called From Simple to Nothing.

This tune is called Pardon Majdid. It's a kind of an apology to immigrants for, as Fredo sings, the way France mistreats them.

Les Ogres don't restrict themselves to performing in France.

Last year they trundled across Poland and Romania for three months. They brought their own circus-style tent... setting up in fields and parking lots.

BURGER: He says, it was funny because when we went to Romania we were expecting to see accordion players all over the place. But there weren't any. Everyone was playing electric pianos and guitars, very electronic. Everything was all flipped around. We French had come to play acoustic music and the Romanians and the Poles were playing techno.

On the new CD Les Ogres refer often to their love of vagabond style traveling...even with its occasional disappointments.

We traveled a long time through forests and fields, go the lyrics to this song. We got a bit lost. Nothing went as planned. But finally we reached the summit of our desired mountain. The horizon, the wind. My bones ached a bit, but damn, how beautiful it was!

Les Ogres warn fans not to expect to catch them on any TV talent show or even on MTV. They're traditionalists. And their fans in France appreciate them for that.

For The World I'm Gerry Hadden Sergie, France.

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