The magic of Corsica’s music festivals

La Balagne in Corsica, with it majestic mountains, glorious white sand beaches, charming towns and villages and luxury yacht filled marinas, with not a high-rise building insight, makes a delightful setting for a wonderful variety of fesivals held throughout the summer. Two of my particular favourites are both music festivals held in the ancient town of Calvi.

Calvi Jazz Festival (20th to 24th June 2012)

One of Corsica’s most popular events of the year is without doubt the Calvi Jazz Festival held each June in the streets around its exclusive marina. Imagine yourself sipping a cool Corsican beer, with views across the yachts to the snow-capped mountains beyond, whilst listening to a superb jazz concert. Follow this with a meal in one of the many wonderful quayside restaurants where another band may well come and serenade you, before you head off to that evening’s concert at the foot of the citadel. Then enjoy the jam sessions that follow in the harbour-side bars until the early hours.

I’ve been to this festival a number of times and have seen some amazing international artists. As well as jazz, a variety of other musical genres also feature in the line-up ensuring something for everyone.

Rencontres de Chants Polyphoniques de Calvi (11th – 15th September 2012)

Later in the year Calvi’s citadel itself is the stunning setting for Rencontres de Chants Polyphoniques de Calvi held each September, which I went to for the first time last summer. This intimate festival is hosted by A Filleta, experts in acapella, polyphonic singing, a Corsican tradition originating in sacred music. It is both powerful and mysterious, serenely beautiful, joyous and gut-wrenchingly sad.

Throughout the week A Filleta are joined by various artists from around the world for concerts in the citadel’s oratoire and cathedral. Last year there was also a free event on the Saturday afternoon that turned out to be the start of a truly unforgettable day with artists from Italy and Mali as well as Corsica, performing traditional music in various locations around the citadel.

The festival culminates with many of the musicians that had appeared throughout the week performing two or three numbers followed by a set from the headline act. Last summer the concert ended well after midnight but outside wine and food were being served and the singing continued well into the early hours.

Kathryn Burrington is Author of Travel with Kat.

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Comments (2)

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  1. I absolutely love Corsica – after five weeks of travelling around here, I fell in love with the people as well as the place. Lovely article.

  2. Kathryn says:

    Thank you Charlotte. It’s always lovely to get feedback and as you may have guessed I too love Corsica. It really is a very special island.

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