Having moved from France to live in the North East of England some fifteen years ago, singer/guitarist Flossie Malavialle recently gained dual nationality.
Affectionately know as the ‘French Geordie’, Malavialle reminded concert goers in The Old Ship Inn of her penchant for the vagaries of language, in particular ‘oxy-morons’ which she likes to collect.
‘Do you know what my latest is?’ she quizzed, ‘European Union! Now there’s a joke.’
Thus started an intimate show containing wide range of music interspersed with warm exchanges between performers and audience. Malavialle was accompanied by Paul Donnelly (guitar) and Chris Parkinson (accordions and drum). Parkinson’s composition a Gallic instrumental, Belle Ile, written on holiday in France got the evening of in relaxed style. Later in the piece, Malavialle enquired about the various accordions Parkinson was playing, to find that his red one was electronic and had a range of effect programmes, one of which was a very realistic bagpipe tone.
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European influences were evident in the concert with Malavialle regulars, Jacques Brel’s Le Port D’Amsterdam and Edith Piaf’s La Vie En Rose featuring. There was also a lovely Portuguese, sultry, bossa nova, Desafinado (loosely – ‘a bum note’). However, the rest of the gig was an eclectic mix, drawing on Beth Nielson Chapman, Abba, Paul McCartney, The Eagles, Roberta Flack, Bonnie Rait, Suzanne Vega and Buffy Saint Marie to name a selection. Familiar songs like Peaceful Easy Feeling, and, Luka, had the audience singing along.
‘Luka sounds upbeat,’ observed Malavialle, ‘but if you listen carefully to the lyrics, it’s a song about domestic abuse. Not many people realised at the time.’
Donnelly and Parkinson were not simply support. Parkinson took lead on a melodic French traditional dance number he had collected whilst Donnelly had his turn centre stage, soloing on a blues instrumental he had written, Single Handed. Some of the guitar runs on Single Handed could have sat easily on an Allman Brothers band track. Eat your heart out Dickie Betts.
This being Malavialle’s 10th sold out show for Warthog Promotions, it was little surprise that an encore was demanded. Malavialle obliged with her best Janis Joplin take on Kris Kristofferson’s Me And Bobby McGee which was a request from a member of the audience. Roll on gig number 11.