Jesse Cook – Once (Official Video)
Much has been written of my teenage summers in Arles, and the influence that France’s Camargue region and Gipsy music has had on my development as a musician. But I have never spoken of my earlier years in a different, lesser-known part of France: the Aveyron. I haven’t been avoiding the subject, it’s just never come up, probably because there was no music connection in the Aveyron to discuss during interviews.
In many ways, the Aveyron was France for me, or my France, the France of my earliest memories, and my childhood dreams. Though I was born in Paris, for the first few years of my life my family lived in the south of France, in an old stone house with no running water.
It was like growing up in the middle ages. In fact, many of the buildings were built as far back as the 13th century. Our house had stone walls, 3 feet thick, and giant fireplaces, stone sinks, and bread ovens from when our house had been the village bakery in some long forgotten past.
And even after my family moved to Toronto, with it’s modern glass skyscrapers, we would return each summer to that old house in France. My sister and I exploring our ancient empty village, most of its inhabitants having left generations earlier. It was our secret forgotten world, and we cherished it.
But now 30 years have past since I slept in that house, my mother having sold it long ago, and my interests having shifted to Spain, for obvious reasons. And after my father died in France, and my sister left there, I shut the door on the country, and the Aveyron, without even meaning to. I simply had no reason to return. That is…until this year.
Again, I filmed and edited this myself, with my wife, Nancy filming the difficult sections where I had to be in front of the camera.
I hope this video portrays my love affair with a quiet forgotten part of the world. And I hope you’ll find it engaging.
Thanks for watching,