French Music Festival brings French music to NSW and VIC

Reading Time: 4 minutes

Milko Foucault-Larche is organising a French Music Festival, a concert tour of French music in New South Wales and Victoria. In this festival there are three shows, Paris After Dark, Pardon My French and Aznavour & Friends. We chatted to Milko about these concerts and the French Music Festival.

French Music Festival

Milko, you’re touring New South Wales and Victoria with a series of concert this may. Tell us a little about the French Music Festival.

The French Music Festival is a travelling festival with French performances that we take to various parts of New South Wales and Victoria.  In some cases we work with the Alliances Françaises.

 

You have three distinct shows within the French Music Festival: Paris After Dark, Pardon My French, Aznavour & Friends. Tell us about these shows.

Paris After Dark and Pardon My French are are variety shows. We present the great classics of French Song and we include a touch of operetta, musicals and opera.

 

Aznavour & Friends, is of course Charles Aznavour’s songs in the foreground but also songs that we borrow from Mr Aznavour’s friends.

Which singers and from which era are the songs in Paris After Dark?

Paris After Dark presents songs by Edith Piaf, Charles Aznavour, Jacques Brel, Joséphine Baker, Dalida, Gilbert Becaud, Claude François, Michel Legrand.

 

Who is singing in the show Paris After Dark?

Milko Foucault – Larche and Corinne Andrew are the protagonists of Paris After Dark.

 

Pardon My French poster - French Music Festival

Which singers and from which period are the songs from the show Pardon My French?

Pardon My French presents songs quite similar to “Paris After Dark”. In this tour, there are also songs of Yves Montand, Enrico Macias, Luis Mariano but also international songs that are part of the French repertoire.

 

Who performs in the show Pardon My French?

Pardon My French is a one-man show with me, Milko Foucault–Larche.

You are a big fan of Aznavour – you have even released an album of his songs. What do you like about his music?

With Monsieur Aznavour, it’s first of all the absolutely remarkable lyrics. It’s a theatrical play in three minutes. And the most interesting thing is the fact that Charles Aznavour’s songs have extraordinary English translations or adaptations, because Monsieur Aznavour personally supervised these adaptations with very talented English-speaking lyricists.

 

What can people who attend the French Music Festival expect?

Most of the festival events are dinner and show events. So, evenings in a pleasant atmosphere and discovering for some, or re-discovering for others, songs that have made French music great.

 

How did you choose the artists and songs that are included in the festival shows?

Between Corinne Andrew and I, we have a pretty large French repertoire, and we do a lot of duet songs. And these are songs that we like and are very comfortable with.

French Music Festival

And this festival will continue into June?

Yes, we have a few other shows in June and of course, we will continue in July, which I’ll call “The French month”, with shows around Bastille Day.

 

Anything else to share with us?

During the Festival in June, I am also organising a French Music Concert – Classical & Jazz with Ukrainian pianist Alex Parkmen.  And I will be there as a guest.

 

The concert is called A PIANO THAT SINGS. Alex presents compositions by Debussy, Ravel, Chopin, Saint – Saëns and will accompany me in my programme of Charles Aznavour, Yves Montand, Edith Piaf, and Charles Trenet with a classical touch. A bit different from the usual!

We thank Milko Foucault-Larche for this interview.

 

KEY INFO FOR THE FRENCH MUSIC FESTIVAL

QUOI: French Music Festival, a travelling festival of concerts of French music

WHERE AND WHEN: In the places and on the dates stated below

HOW: Buy your ticket via the links provided below.

 

6 May – Paris After Dark, Bay View Golf Club – Mona vale [NSW]- By French a la carte

14 May – Pardon My French, Palais Hepburn – Daylesford [Victoria]

19 May– Pardon My French, Piano Bar Bendigo [Victoria]

20 May – Pardon My French, German Club Tivoli – Prahran [Victoria]

21 May – Aznavour & Friends, AGBU Centre – Scoresby [Victoria]

27 May – Paris After Dark, Avalon Restaurant – Katoomba [NSW]

28 May – Paris After Dark, Keystone 1889 – Bathurst [NSW]

29 May – Paris After Dark, Prince of Wales Opera House – Gulgong [NSW]

Who is your favourite francophone artist?

 

Subscribe

Enter your email to subscribe to new article notifications about all things French and francophone in Australia

French Music Festival

Piaf & Brel: the impossible concert at Adelaide Fringe

Reading Time: 4 minutes

Piaf & Brel: the impossible concert is a new show to appear at Adelaide Fringe 2020 and even though it was the first I’ve seen for the season, it is guaranteed to be a highlight of the French music performances at this year’s Fringe. 

Piaf & Brel: the impossible concert

Canadian Melanie Gall, discovered by Emma Knights, who is putting on a number of shows at the Adelaide Fringe, while performing in Edinburgh last year, performs songs of Edith Piaf and Jacques Brel in this charming one hour performance. Melanie Gall encourages audience participation by way of sing-along right from the start. Her enthusiasm is contagious and her passion for singing these songs of Piaf and Brel but also for performing generally is evident. 

 

Why is the concert impossible you might ask? Well of course it’s not possible in today’s times as both Piaf and Brel have long passed but even at the time that they were alive, it was impossible because Piaf and Brel never sung together. In fact, they did not even meet. 

 

Dressed in a sparkly dress, a bargain which Melanie tells us she loves but is having her at times coughing on sequins, Melanie opens the show with the well known Piaf song “Milord”. Having opened with. A Piaf song that is well known Melanie then moves into a lesser known, but equally enjoyable, Piaf song “Parasoles”. 

 

Melanie is humorous. Telling us about Brel’s poor luck trying to break it into the singing world. Telling us that he entered the equivalent of Belgium idol, for example where he reached 27th place out of a total of 28 contestants. 

 

Brel songs featured in performance include his famous “Ne Me Quitte Pas” along with songs showing his Belgian roots “Bruxelles” and his amusing “Valse a Mille Pas”, an extremely fast song which Melanie performed perfectly – I was wondering when she would need to take a breath!.

 

Melanie punctuated songs with stories either about the artists or about herself, including that she was opera trained, that she had five opera degrees and that she completed the last of those five degrees just before the GFC hit which led to many many of the opera companies closing down! 

 

Melanie Gall told us that she has performed the show Piaf and Brel the impossible concert all over the world including in Edinburgh where she was found and hand-picked by Emma to come to Adelaide, for the Prince of Cambodia and at a nudist resort. 

 

Melanie Hall’s stage presence was one characterised by enthusiasm, humour, audience interaction and a powerful voice – her opera training was quite evident when she reached high soprano like notes and held them for a significant period of time. Perhaps the only fault to find would be that such a strong voice, perhaps did not need the microphone at all times. Unfortunately, in the intimate space of the Jade, it at times felt that Melanie was screaming into the microphone rather than her voice being showcased in the best possible way. 

 

Melanie correctly points out that the songs of Piaf and Brel do not always accurately reflect their lives. Brel, for example sings love songs. One would assume therefore that perhaps he had been in love and had stayed faithful. Not the case. One of his most famous songs “Ne me quitte pas” was written not for his wife, but for his mistress. 

 

Similarly Brel sings of old lovers. But having died at the age of 49. He never got to be old. Piaf died aged 48 and a half. Neither she nor Brel saw out there 50th birthday. 

 

Piaf and Brel: the impossible concert is a charming ode to the songs that are known by many. It also allows the audience to discover some songs that they previously did not know. Some lesser known songs by the artists. 

 

We have Melanie’s opera training, yes, to thank for her love of singing and her singing talents. But it was her desire to have a free meal in the Port of Spain, Trinidad to thank for her finding the songs of Piaf and Brel, with which she has continued to this day. As a result, we thank that French restaurant in the Port of Spain, Trinidad and a hungry Melanie Gall for Piaf & Brel: the impossible concert. 

 

As a side note it is interesting that Melanie pronounces her French perfectly but tells us that while she is Canadian, she is not Francophone Canadian even though she went to a French immersion school. 

 

Piaf and Brel: the impossible concert is a fabulous opportunity to see an international artist performing well-known French songs and to also find some lesser-known songs. 

 

🥐🥐🥐🥐 4 CROISSANTS

Matilda Marseillaise was a guest of Adelaide Fringe

 

You can see Piaf & Brel: the impossible concert at The Jade at 8:30pm Monday 24 February and at 3:30pm on Tuesday 3 to Thursday 5 March.

 

Tickets cost between $20 and $29 depending on which performance date you attend and can be purchased at:

https://adelaidefringe.com.au/fringetix/piaf-and-brel-the-impossible-concert-af2020 

 

To read about other French linked shows at Adelaide Fringe 2020, click here

 

What’s your favourite Edith Piaf or Jacques Brel song?

 

Subscribe

Enter your email to subscribe to new article notifications about all things French and francophone in Australia