I am very lucky to be here at Francofolies in La Rochelle at the behest of the French Music Office in London. I get to see loads of interesting French artists. But frankly loads of quality and a good distance (not just geographical) from the usual suspects of many a European Festival this summer. You know the drill.
First – as is often the case with things like this – I get to meet a bunch of people I have not yet met from the UK, despite having working with or been in touch a while. So now I count among my friends and in my network Sarah from Cargo, Alex at Curious Generation, Ben from Eurocultured, Kieran the Mojo Journalist, Andy from Jazz Cafe… no doubt more from today.
Second – we get a speed meeting session which we did yesterday, and loads more good work can now be done having put a face to a name. Thanks to the French office for sorting that out.
Third – and should be first – some music. Malicorne played last night and it was one of the best things I have seen in years. They bring all the shadowy atmosphere and mysticism without any suggestion of contrivance. It is clearly a very special event given the talk of not having played together for 29 years and sell out crowd, and the spectacle didn’t disappoint in the least. Some very weird instruments. Some excellent time signatures and phrases you’d only pray for from some of the more up-to-date psyche and freak folk acts. Stunning. Original members have all gone on to do different things now, and one of them – Hughes de Courson – is part of a kind of comedy string quartet, who provided a hilarious interlude. I have to confess to getting tired of some music these days. I have been suitably re-injected with enthusiasm thanks to this show.
Opening was Michel Rivard who used the killer bassist who played the day before with Catherine Major. At first I was not really moved so much but in fact he was excellent. Very witty between songs (I’m the great great grandad of Coeur de Pirate). Given he’s a Canadian, a kind of North American style of play/delivery (if I even know what I mean). Reminded me of Warren Zevon. But in French.