Among the well anchored traditions in the Carnival of Nice, we shall evoke those directly bound to the practise of this " paramusic " quoted first and provoked with instruments of the darkness " completely particular and exceptional, those of the brass band grotesque of Nice: Vespa which accompanied merry and dynamic grotesque group of Maurou; Paillassou, Maurou, Vespa, appear among the oldest traditions of the Carnival of Nice.
Maurou groups from four to five young people, the head put on by a night hat or by a turban of doubtful whiteness, dirtied the face and the arms with the soot, and put on a sheet or decked out themselves of a burnous the shape of the neckline of which they cut. They went through the parade, in sinusoidal movement, either Group of Cepoun split the crowd with big knocks of shoulder when it did not deviate fast enough and they sang the song of Maurou.
Sien Maurou lou saben
Cu voû si fa bouffa
Semblan toui d'africain Che vengon n'a trouva
Ma se si lavessien
Lu boufferen lou traoù Bessai vou plaserien
Sensa li faire maù
Se lu bouffet son rout
Faoù lu fa arrangia
Si n'avès plus d'argen
Asperes l'an che ven.
A song interpreted on the air of the song of " Bouffets " or " Soufflaculs " such the very beautiful version which is presented in the disc " Tresors dau Pais Nissart " (ed. Ventadorn, on 1980).
This presence of Maurou, corresponded in carnivals of Nice to the obstinacy in the " collective memory " and to the transmission of the popular culture (gestural and not verbal) of the evocation of the "Saracens" (Turks or Mediterranean pirates of different origins), responsible for many plunders in the Mediterranean history and to which are attributed the facts which have sometimes only a very distant report with their exactions but the track of which we find in the local festivals (Sarrazin in Languedoc, Pailhasse near Montpelier, Corpus Christi in Aix-en-Provence, Maurou in Nice but also in Spain, in Venetia and in Yugoslavia.
Mostly, Maurou followed the group of Paillassou, which fooled this model of straw and rags with a tense sheet and Maurou was accompanied with a group of musicians endowed with bizarre instruments, cut in dried gourds, with cougourdons. This grotesque brass band was called Vespa (the wasp).
Vespa: grotesque Brass band
Vespa disappeared from corsi around the sixties, and its invaluable instruments were exposed in the Museum Masséna, thanks to the donation of a carpenter, Mr. Louis Allo.
It is necessary to clarify the peculiarity of Vespa, (underlined by Claudie Marcel-Dubois des ATP): it is apparently only in Nice, in the European part of the Mediterranean Sea where we use musically cut instruments ~ in gourds/gourds, while it is usual in Africa or in Amerindian America.
Vespa knows a flourish for some years, thanks to Yves Rousguisto's talent and to Cepoun (musical traditional group of Vence).
In 1984, on the occasion of the Centenary of the Carnival, and the next years, " Vespas " was recreated in several schools of Nice where the children were introduced in the making and the use of these " instruments of the darkness " so particular and learn the dances of Carnival. An initiative of the Events committee of Nice and the Department of Education.
Among all the instruments of Vespa, let us quote: the drum with friction, the Petadou the name of which comes of " pet ", " petà " that is " die, to break itself, click ", and among which the sound if particular joins in the symbolism evoked first by the rite of the musics of the Darkness;