The term farandole covers three realities
– the spontaneous and joyous farandole that ends a ball, a party.
-the political farandole intended to show his opinions
-and that which interests us the scholarly farandole
In the mid-nineteenth century the Félibrige is in full swing to defend the traditional cultures and the defense of the langue d’oc. In this context, a farandole in “folkloric” costumes is presented several times by the Barbentane dancers. in the opera “Roland à Ronceveaux”; the success is immense. In response, Gallas, master of dance, cane, stick and French boxing probably trained in the army created in 1876 in Arles the first choreographed Farandole using no dance of character. The example of his Society, The Children of Arles, is a stain of oil and the end of the century sees the creation of many Farandole societies in towns and villages Gard (Pouzilhac, Villeneuve-lès-Avignon, Aramon, Laudun, Bessèges, Bouillarges). At the same time, new Societies were declared to the Prefecture (Nîmes, Sauzet, St Geniès de Malgoirès, Générac, Langlade, Alès La Grand’combe: The Avernir of Trescol 1888
These Societies meet on two occasions:
– The competitions of Farandoles during votive festivals. These competitions are located in the districts of Uzès and Alès, as well as in the northeastern area of the district of Nîmes. Each Society tries to outdo the others in creativity and virtuosity.
– Dance Assaults where the best students pass their dance certificates. : Provost and Master
All these events are accompanied exclusively by the Musiques Municipales, brass orchestras
It was in the Gard that the choreographed forms of the Farandole were first developed, associated with the practice of other types of dances such as the English or the Gavotte. This department has become a reference in which all the Provencal groups have drawn.
The feast of the fiftieth anniversary of Mireille in Arles in 1909 saw the consecration of the learned Farandole as “Provençal”, but it is at the cost of the loss of independence of farandoleurs du Gard who are forced, against their will, the galoubet and the tambourine.
Frederic Mistral and his friends decide that La Farandole choreographed and accompanied by galoubet and tambourine would be the representative dance of Provence, the official costume would be the costume of Arles Since the Farandole Societies will gradually become folk groups. The Merry Minors are among those who have resisted this influence of Provence and continue today to teach the same steps as in the halls of dance masters of the eighteenth centuries and on ships to maintain the shape of sailors.
The musical accompaniment:
The instruments to accompany farandoles and character dances in the region have always been brass, both in Ales, St Ambroix and Martinet. It was often the Mining Harmony of those same cities which was an orchestra. At Grand’Combe we did not break the rule. The Harmonie des Mines also created in 1911, aided by the Compagnie des Mines, accompanied the Merry Minors. Over the years a group of musicians, mostly from L’Harmonie, became more faithful to the band. The orchestra of the Merry Minors was born. Today, we still maintain friendly relations with the music school of Grand’Combien country and its orcher “Variation” (ex Harmonie des Mines, ex Harmonie Municipale). Some of our musicians and dancers belong to both formations.
HISTORY OF THE SOCIETY OF DANSES AND FARANDOLE
Les Joyeux Mineurs
It is March 17, 1888 that Mr. ABRIC, then Master of Dance of the army creates the first dance company and farandole “the future of Trescol”.
This company, headed by Mr. Siméon VERT, assisted by Mr. CHAUVET, included 6 members and many musicians.
In 1891, Mr. Simeon VERT, in front of the increasing demand of young people, wishing to initiate himself to the dance, decides to create, another society “Swallow Grand’Combienne”.
The future of Trescol will continue, led by a young boy aged 11 and a half, who will later graduate from Dance. This young boy was called “Louis THOMAS”.
Subsequently, the situation made these two companies join their talents under the banner of “Merry Minors” in January 1911.
In 1911, the company was chaired by Mr. BONNEVAY, director of the Compagnie des Mines with two vice-presidents: Mrs VERT and THOMAS.
The farandoleurs, exclusively men, were led by a farandoleur leader Mr. Félix BRES. When the war breaks out in 1914, the Merry Minors cease their activities. The company started again from the 1920s.
Until the end of the second world war, Félix BRES and Henri DELENNE succeeded each other as farandoleurs leaders. From 1947, Mrs. Larguier Franc and Elie and Mr. Durand Maurice together occupy the position of farandole directors.
From the 50s to the end of the 90s, Mr Franc LARGUIER was director of farandole. Since his death on September 22, 2000, the transmission of his talent and rigor has not stopped.
The name of our group “THE HAPPY MINORS” seems somewhat outdated nowadays, but for us it’s our whole identity. The city of Grand’Combe was born from mining in 1946.
The dance and farandole society consisted exclusively of young miners who danced after their day’s work to forget the harshness of their labor at the bottom of the mine.