Café Europa

Naples to Normandy in search of Minnesota WWII stories

Several times since the turn of the millennium, Dan Chouinard has traveled by bicycle through Europe with his accordion in tow and come home to write about it.

DSCI0007.JPGIn the spring of 2012, Dan received a grant from the Minnesota State Arts Board to make the journey while collecting WWII stories linked to Minnesota. The show that resulted he named Café Europa, like his two previous shows for MN Public Radio (2005 and 2008) about his bicycling-with-accordion adventures in Europe.

Café Europa, the 2013 edition, describes Dan’s journey from Naples to Normandy, retracing the path of the US Army Red Bull Division through Italy, following in the footsteps of U of MN alum journalist Eric Sevareid, and stopping at the allied landing beaches in Italy and France. With the accordion strapped to the bicycle, Dan spent six weeks visiting battlefields and cemeteries, enjoying the spontaneous hospitality of Italians and French, and rolling into music-filled encounters all along the way.

The show was recorded live at the Fitzgerald Theater in St. Paul on January 26, 2013, and was broadcast in its entirety on MPR and on Twin Cities Public Television. Guest artists include Maria Jette, Prudence Johnson, Bradley Greenwald, The Rose Ensemble, Brian Barnes and more. Plus actors Joseph Scrimshaw and Eric Ringham, with the voice of Gary Eichten as journalist Ernie Pyle.

Listen to Café Europa (2013) on Classical MPR.

Below: Video from the 2008 version of Café Europa, at the Fitzgerald Theater, May 2008.

Contact Dan about Café Europa.

Learn more about Dan’s other projects: