Out of all the summer ethnic festivals in Milwaukee, Bastille Days is the closest in proximity to 91.7 FM WMSE. Located right smack-dab in the middle of downtown Milwaukee, near Cathedral Square Park (and the WMSE studios), Bastille Days is a four-day celebration of French food, music, language and more. WMSE will be right in the thick of it all, enjoying meeting the listening audience at our yearly-established tent and absorbing the sounds of classic and modern French music as well as local music of all varieties.
France is no slouch in terms of holding their own in terms of music: Edith Piaf, Serge Gainsbourg and contemporary pop band Phoenix and electro-pop-ers Daft Punk all carry plenty of clout and an air of familiarity to the musical world, even with their distinct French flavor. French music, in its beginnings, has a stronghold in the tradition of ‘chanson’ (which translates directly as ‘song’), with its emphasis on vocals and emotive lyricism. Champions of the genre include Piaf, Georges Brassens, Jacques Brel, Francis Cabret and Laurent Voulzy. Instruments such as the hurdy gurdy (a form of mechanical violin) and bagpipes make a regular appearance in traditional French songs, which originated mainly from the island of Corsica and Auvergne, the Basques and Bretons.
Far-removed from hurdy gurdys, the island of Corsica and the style of chanson, Milwaukee’s Codebreaker still retains enough relevance to make their own version of French fun at this weekend’s Bastille festivities. Performing Saturday evening (9:15 p.m.), the local electronic maestros will be playing up some of their own (and France’s) more lively versions of pop. House music became increasingly popular in the the 90s in France (as well as all over Europe) and no French group made this genre more accessible than Daft Punk. Codebreaker carries across similar mentalities (and they cite the band as a big influence), fusing a bit of funk and disco to their house beats. Steven Hawley and Sage Schwarm have taken operation Codebreaker into some of the best and sweatiest clubs across the city and country for several years, and this summer are looking forward to a string of performances that include a stint at the Bay View Brewhaus for WSME’s Radio Summer Camp and opening for The Faint and Zola Jesus at both Turner Hall Ballroom and The Metro in Chicago.
Codebreaker performs at Bastille Days this Saturday, July 10th at the Airtran Stage on W. Kilbourn at 9:15 p.m. All-ages