La Mentonnaise, the ambassador of the city of Menton, on the French Riviera, will delight the guest with its local songs and dances. The folk group was founded on 1945, it is a typical mediterranean dance group from the area between the Monégasque and Italian principalities.
The group is a member of the ’National Confederation of French Folk Groups’. The base of their uniqueness is their typical musical instrument, the ’pignata’, which is a regional and handcrafted terracotta pot, used as an instrument. This gives the rhythm the dances and songs. Its sound is made by rubbing a humid reed on a very tense animal skin. The origin of this practice dates back to two centuries ago.
There are 35 members in the group who sing, dance, play local music and offer a happy, colourful and lively show. Their songs represent the local life, the story of their city, the severe and hard life of their ancestors who grew olive, orange and lemon trees, went fishing on the sea and held happy and passionate gatherings in the countryside.
They dance in a circle and all the members of the group sing. Their characteristic is that the dancers also sing at the same time. Originally, these dances were performed under flowery maypoles, for the celebration of May. Each dance tells the story of the different districts of Menton and the traditions of the nearby villages. The group also presents a repertory of religious songs in local dialects.