THE MEMBERS OF THE FELIBRIGE
The presentation of a cicada takes place in a relaxed and friendly atmosphere, to
the music of the Occitan tongue and the merry melodies of the hurdy gurdy, the bagpipes
and the accordion. And yet this is a solemn moment. When the writer, Frédéric Mistral,
founded the Félibrige he laid out a plan of attack to revive the Occitan language.
The methods may have been resolutely gentle, but they required an enormous amount
of translation work and a huge literary output. There was, and is, so much at stake
that the “félibres” he named were not just poets, but also fierce fighters with
a hard job ahead of them.
The procedure is as follows. A “capoulier” is appointed to preside over a battalion
of “majoraux” : Occitan speaking writers who have merited a cicada thanks to the
quality and the sheer size of their literary work. When a “majoral” passes away
they say his cicada has been widowed and three “majoraux” propose a “félibre” whom
they deem worthy of the title of “majoral” and of receiving this cicada. And this
is how Jean-Claude Dugros, a Bergerac man born in Agen, was chosen by three majoraux,
Zefir Bosc from Rouergue, Jean Fourié from Languedoc and Claude Fiorenzano from
Provence, who all got to know him through his work. Besides assuming his responsibilities
as chief editor of Le Bournat’s quarterly, Jean-Claude Dugros has written “Le Bournat,
école félibréenne du Périgord, son histoire, naissance et envol 1901/1914” (“Le
Bournat, Périgord félibrien school - its history, its beginnings and its expansion.”)
and has also translated into Occitan books by the Périgord storywriter, Claude Seignolle.
THE INTEROCCITAN CICADA BRIGADE
So there is no form of nepotism between “majoraux” who are all part of the same
brotherhood. They may not actually know each other but they have banded together
to achieve their aim. And more than anything else, they put their entire trust in
their newly elected member. The cicada is not a title or a distinction ; it means
that you have embarked upon a mission, devoting yourself to a cause and doing everything
in your power to revive the Occitan culture and language.
So this stalwart group of southerners with their singsong accents show the dogged
determination and the courage that is necessary to fight with words, the words of
their language, so it can shine forth once more. It no longer holds sway as the
language of European culture as it did a thousand years ago, but it’s still there
in its Occitan cradle.
CICADAS ARE NOT DREAMERS
According to a survey conducted by the Dordogne Department Council, 34% of the Périgord
people speak Occitan, 54% understand it. Hopefully it will be back on the school
curriculum, bridging the gap between the two generations.
One thing is for sure : Jean-Claude Dugros, armed with his golden cicada, will never
give up the fight to keep Occitan alive.
It is he who translates all our articles into Occitan on
www.albuga.info so the language of the troubadours can travel all round