THE final concert of the season was a novelty.
A French woman from Nimes in the south of France, now living in Darlington, who had just adopted British citizenship, teamed up with a talented guitarist. Advertised as featuring works by Edith Piaf and Django Reinhardt they actually ranged further afield. Two famous Piaf songs - La Vie En Rose and, inevitably, Je ne regrette rien - were delivered in authentic-sounding Piaf style.
The only Reinhardt piece played by Paul Donnelly was a request from a member of the audience. The fast-fingered adornments that decorated the basic melody were all the more amazing when it is realised that the third and fourth fingers on Django’s left hand were useless following a fire when he was 18. His unique style of playing made the Quintette du Hot Club de France renowned, a group founded jointly by Reinhardt and the jazz violinist Stèphane Grappelli.
The lively, uninhibited and amusing comments by Flossie Malavialle introduced us to a range of folk style songs. Many were love songs but there were others like The Child With Troubled Eyes and the Irish song from World War I of a relative visiting a soldier’s grave. There were pieces by the Americans Eva Cassidy and Rogers & Hart and the Belgian Jacques Brel. Another was sung in Portugese. So, a varied collection supported by some virtuoso guitar playing. A lively end to a highly successful season.