In Cauterets on the eve of the Tour de France stage that finished there on 6 July, we were charmed by Eths d'Azu, a male choir which had reformed to perform their repertoire of traditional Pyrenean mountain songs for the first time in 15 years.
Mountain singers (Fr. chanteurs montagnards) are part of a popular choral tradition dating back to the 19th century. The idea of the original movement was to encourage social harmony based on practicing musical harmony. The choirs promote conviviality and a way of integration into the mountain culture for incomers.
We noticed with some amusement that every song mentioned mountains, sheep and shepherds, and how great it was to be outdoors in the mountains. A couple of songs acknowledged that women existed and were quite nice to have around ie they cooked well or pleased the male eye. Some of the songs were not in French but in the local dialect of Bigourdan Gascon. We assume their themes were similar.