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Dancer and passionate music lover in the Eure, Claude owns 1,800 CDs of country music

Claude Mare, resident of Pont-Audemer, among his huge collection of country CDs. ©EG

” There is no room left ! » finds Claude Maré. To Pont Audemer (Eure), his living room is filled with shelves of CDs and a few DVDs of westerns, furniture topped with cowboy boots and cowboy figurines. Walls are also lined with wide-brimmed hats. Dressed for the occasion in a shirt, boots and headgear, the 78-year-old retiree is passionate about country music. As proof, he has more than 1,800 CDs of this popular American music! And 2,700 CDs of all genres. “One day, I listen to country music, the next day, Corsican songs, the day after, French variety…”, he says.

In the evening, I put on my helmet and I never go to bed before one o’clock in the morning! I also take them in my car. The point of having CDs is to listen to them!

Claude Maré
Western action figures.
Western action figures. ©EG

Thousands of digital titles

That’s not counting pseveral dozen USB sticks, each with 999 tracks recorded “because my hi-fi system only displays and reads three digits, not four”. Because in addition to physical CDs, Claude Mare downloads many titles from the chain in dematerialized version, at €1.25 a piece: “Sometimes, I buy €80 worth of music per month! The enthusiast then takes his music with him, to give country dance lessons via New West Country Associationwhich he chairs.

He also likes to listen to RTL, on Friday evenings at midnight, where “an hour of country music, with host Georges Lang” is broadcast. One of his favorite country artists is Zac Brown Band, with titles like “Make this day” or “Roots”. “In country songs, it talks a lot about whiskey, cigarettes, ‘my wife left me'”, smiles Claude Mare. He still quotes the singer Garth Brooks, to 175 million albums. And singers: Mindy McCready, Bailie and the boys, and The Judds duo” a mother and her daughter “.

The living room is adorned with essential country accessories: hats and cowboy boots.
Hats and cowboy boots, essential accessories. ©EG

The country was born in the Appalachian Mountains, in the southern United States, in the 18e century. It stems from many influences due to the mixture of populations (Irish, Scottish, Anglo-Saxons, Spaniards, French, Indians, Poles, Italians, Africans, etc.). “Obvious source of rock’n’roll”, and still very popular in the USAcountry breaks down into several styles: bluegrass, western swing, cajun, rockabilly…

Late passion

But where does Claude Mare’s passion come from? “Around 9-10 years old, I went to see all the westerns in the cinema”, recalls this native of Pont-Audemer. But it was later, after 50, that Claude Mare fell in love for good. With his wife Maud, now deceased, he went to a festival in Thuit-Signol and “there, I was thrilled right away! The couple then began dance lessons in Thiberville, a few years before creating New West Country in 2005. 12 pairs of cowboy boots of Maud testify to this passion for two. Claude Mare recalls:

A seller in Caen had a lot of country records, we bought him at least 300, at 7 or 8 €. We went there every Saturday, we put on our headphones and we listened to the CDs!

Maud's many pairs of cowboy boots.
Maud’s many pairs of cowboy boots. ©EG

The man has only one regret: “I never went to the United States, I wanted to go there with my wife. They had, however, had the chance to visit Canada. “There are, moreover, Quebec country singers who sing only in French »for example Colette Carrier.

“We don’t dance to all music, but to a lot,” explains Claude Mare.

Videos: currently on Actu

Country dance lessons took place for a long time in Pont-Audemer and now take place in Flancourt-Crescy-en-Roumois (formerly Bosc-Bénard-Crescy). With a small group, Maud and Claude Mare gave numerous country demonstrations in restaurants, markets, at communal festivals, but also in schools and retirement homes.

Claude Mare watches the video of a country demonstration by his group a few years ago.
Claude Mare watches the video of a country demonstration by his group a few years ago. © EG

The music lover, also a former CAPA Foot guide, has pushed his dining table into a corner of the living room to free up space. “This is where I learn my dances! Claude Mare found the steps on the Internet before teaching them to his students himself. It also offers to dance to other genres to vary the pleasures: Amir, ABBA, Maître Gims…

The president of New West Country is above all a fan of music, country or otherwise, who only asks to share his passion!

New West Country dance class in Bosc-Bénard-Crescy on Tuesday evenings at 6 p.m. Carpooling possible. Private lessons for small groups possible. Contact: 02 32 41 22 50.

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