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Review: Flossie Malavialle and Enchante @ Lichfield Guildhall

Lichfield Arts provided an early Valentine’s treat for lovers of fine music when the guitarist and singer Flossie Malavialle returned to play the Guildhall.

Local support act Enchante provided some fine entertainment with a mixture of their own songs and music from the chanson tradition.

The group, led by singer and songwriter Jocelyne, who also provided some acoustic guitar, also featured double bassist Nick Thompson and classical guitarist Ron Thomas. They lived up their name, enchanting the audience. Their material ranged from the tragic folk narrative of Mary Ann about a young girl who killed her abusive father, to the lighter songs such as Dancing in the Hall or Farmer Boy about first love.

They covered the work of Jacques Brel, but the highlight of their set was a haunting rendition of the jazz standard Autumn Leaves.

Flossie Malavialle

Flossie Malavialle

Flossie Malavielle is a popular live draw, having built up a solid reputation by supporting many of the more well known names on the folk and roots circuit. Her melodic, accomplished guitar style suited her pure, strong voice, while her stage presence was helped by her accent – French crossed with a Darlington twang.

Her set was wide ranging and diverse, taking in songs from traditional English and Irish idioms, her own French background, as well as more contemporary blues and country music.

She started with a reading of Dark Horse Dancing by Keith Donnelly who she has toured with, before the Irish song Teddy O’Neil was a plaintive song of longing, and her full vocal talent was shown during Edith Piaf’s La Vie en Rose.

Comedy was bought into Willie Nelson’s On the Road Again, during which she encouraged the audience to join in with the solos. Two ballads finished the first half, with sensitive singing and playing during I Know You By Heart’ and the traditional From Funny Cross.

As well as being a talented musician, she is also a raconteur, and her tales of life as a musician, teaching French with her accent or talking about insurance adverts gave a lightness of touch to proceedings.

During the second half of the concert, she covered more musical ground, ranging from Jacques Brel to Roberta Flack. The McGarrigle sisters Go, Leave was well performed, and the ache in the song was apparent in this performance. The bluesy side of Flossie’s voice and guitar work was shown during Bonnie Raitt’s The Road’s My Middle Name.

The audience joined in with Killing Me Softly, while the work of the song-writer Pete Abbott was amply illustrated in Almost a Year.

The set was finished with a fine performance of Louis Armstrong’s Wonderful World.

This was a good concert, full of charm and some fine musical performances from all four of the musicians that showed the Guildhall to its best advantage.

A volunteer wrote this. Say thanks with a coffee.