Last week was a week inspired in France. Started off with French Language Lessons, followed by nice cheese and wine at La Guillotine, and ending up with a greatest French Festival in Australia on Saturday 17 January. I’ve been looking forward to attend So Frenchy So Chic (SFSC) since I first saw Émilie Simon’s intimate show in Surry Hills a few month ago and immediately bought the tickets to this event.
*An annual gathering of lovers, musicians, families and friends*
Flor and our French friend Morgane arrived at the venue on this perfect summer day. Maybe because it looked good and chic and maybe because the sun was shining bright, (probably for both reasons) everyone was wearing hats or holding sun umbrellas. You could buy some cute umbrellas there, or bring your own (as we did). We missed Franck Monnet who played first at the beginning of the festival that started at 2:30pm. Wandering around while listening to the dreamy melodies of Francois and the Atlas Mountains we found the Kids Area. The very young and the very young at heart were enjoying the diverse games provided such as life-sized chess, painting and hopscotch.
*A place where the charm of provincial France meets the attitude of Paris*
We found the ideal spot to stay in the center of St John’s College’s lawn within the University of Sydney, with a direct perspective of the stage as it was up on a small hill. The three-story sandstone Gothic Revival building with its magnificent chapel behind us provided us, not only a beautiful background, but also the relieve of its shadow. Taking off our shoes we relaxed in the soft and cool grass we practiced the French learned in our class supervised by Morgane. There were people of all ages. Everyone looked sharp in the best French inspired outfits. Stripes, blues, reds, white, and even handkerchief on neck. Another of the preferred styles of fashion was the boho-chic, with flowy dresses, natural colors and fresh flower garlands.
*Champagne is live. Garlands are essential, as is dancing till sunset.*
We enjoyed our first bottle of Laurent-Perrier listening to the lovely, feminine and talented, Émilie Simon, signing “The Eye of the Moon”, “Flowers” and “I Call It Love”, part of the soundtrack of the movie Delicatesse, and others. Her songs are in a mix of English and French. “If a song comes in English, it’s meant to be in English. Same thing for French. The language can be an inspiration for the writing” she says to the SFSC’s magazine. Her eclectic music incorporates guitar, piano, sweet vocals and electronic influences. She started to write music with the computer “because I wanted to create the textures and sounds I had in mind”. She amazed us on the smallest stage by herself a few months ago, and continued to fascinate now in the open air of this gorgeous Sydney afternoon with her band and “electronic arm” (refer to the photos).
*The ultimate picnic: where the food is better because it’s accompanied by champagne*
It’s French, it’s chic, so we had to have our mini picnic. With a small chartecurie plate we sipped our second bottle of champagne. La Femme played next with a very entertaining act. The nine-piece band “plays on suspended notes and builds tensions; combining warm synthesisers and looped beats and futuristic effects, but retains that beautiful isolation that exists within the French music buble” SFSC.
*Where dancing is more fun because it’s done on grass. Where music is live. Where inhibitions are forgotten*
As the sun set, The Do electro-pop sound, high range vocals and alternative drums, started playing. Finnish-born Merilahti and French multi-instrumentalist Dan Levy with two more band members provided an energetic and memorable show. “I think with pop music, you’re allowed to do basically whatever you want, that’s the great thing about it, so it would be a shame not to embrace that” says Merilahti to SFSC. We accompanied the quirky moves of the lead singer from first row, jumping and dancing vigorously until the end of the show. Dancing barefoot signing along songs we heard for the first time was the perfect ending to this amazing day.
*as described by So Frenchy So Chic
Photos and content: Josefina Luna