the blessed time of the folklore of Aunis and Saintonge

The association celebrated its 90th anniversary on the night of Friday, April 22, at the Maison du folklore. An anniversary doubled by the opening of an exhibition to leaf through while leafing through an album with sometimes slightly yellowed images. Yolande Bonneau had come with a friend Eliane Margelli, accordionist.

With her father Dino Margelli, the latter ran an accordion school on Avenue Gambetta, in Saintes. Orchestras, dances… Éliane Margelli, a saintly figure now based in Royan, has made young and old dance and continues to do so.

An opportunity to travel

Her relationship with the folk group Aunis et Saintonge lasted “four or five years”, the same years as Yolande, when they were teenagers and young adults. Éliane Margelli was the first accordionist of the formation that until then only had a piston and a clarinet. With her father, she will clean some sheet music.


The 90th anniversary exhibition opened with dance and music, in front of the Maison du folklore.

Séverine Joubert/SOUTH WEST

Joining the group was an incredible opportunity to travel, remember Yolande and Éliane. Yugoslavia, Italy, etc “We did the 400 blows”, laughs Yolande, amplified by Éliane who remembers this time when they had built the wall during a trip to the east of France. Pierre Machon, president from 1967 to 1986, had promised to take them to the fireworks show on July 14. They had seen nothing coming and had offered themselves this gift. “He was waiting for us under his umbrella,” they laugh. “We were away from parents. »

Encounters, love affairs, correspondence. “We have so many good memories”, enthuses Yolande. In this torrent of images and emotions, there are some of the most special, such as General de Gaulle’s visit to Saintes. Éliane Margelli had been selected to accompany the general from the door of the Saintes town hall to his car. It is not a great distance but “for us it was a long way”.

Guy Lux and Simone Garnier

From these moments, Eliane kept the “Southwest” of Saturday June 15, 1963 where she appeared in one, along with Jocelyne Patry, along with the President of the Republic. And there were television appearances at Intervilles, at Royan, “twice”, with Guy Lux, Simone Garnier, Roger Couderc and Léon Zitrone.

Life has sometimes taken them away from outings and shows, but never from the group. As fate would have it, many years later, Éliane Margelli and Jean-Claude Couprie, president of the group from 1995 to 2015, forged a more personal story.

Invited to the 90th anniversary of the folk group Aunis et Saintonge, the two friends, happy septuagenarians, enjoy “not being forgotten” despite the almost six decades that have passed since their departure. And as Éliane points out, “it is a group that has lasted 90 years. And without a doubt, exceptional.

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