Friday, 15 December 2017

Excusez-moi monsieur, jouez-vous au ukulele?

SINGING in French is one thing, but singing in French to an audience of French people in the French capital, well that’s another kettle of poissons entirely, writes Robin Popham.

Still, it was time the International Ukulele Club of Sonning Common lived up to its name, so off 25 of us went on our own tour de France, to give three concerts over a weekend in Paris, with our glorious leader Sam Brown, our ukes, our music…. and our trepidation.

We went by plane, train, ferry and even, appropriately, a bicyclette, since four members decided to show some good old English pluck and cycle from Caen to Paris on old-fashioned bikes and dressed in tweed.

So to our French premiere, at a little place called Ma Pomme en Colimaçon, not far from the Père Lachaise cemetery where Jim Morrison of the Doors and Oscar Wilde are buried. That illustrious rock hero and the dandy with the silver tongue both died in Paris: would we? We were feeling a bit nervous, since two of our venues were where the best ukers in Paris sing and play. We expected a tough audience.

I can’t say Ma Pomme was exactly packed, but neither was it empty and away we went. The opener seemed to go well, but now came le grand départ for Henley’s Peter Moody. He sang A Bicyclette, in French, a charming song made famous by the great Yves Montand.

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