Event review: Flossie Malavialle, Croydon Folk Club, Ruskin House, 4th June


By - Friday 22nd June, 2018

Much to enjoy at an evening of folk, blues and self-penned classics by French-born Flossie Malavialle


Photo author’s own.

My husband Steve and I went along to the Croydon Folk Club on 4th June to see Flossie Malavialle, a French-born singer who has been based in the north-east of England since 2002. Several years on, she has become an accomplished performer, playing at folk clubs and festivals all over the UK (and beyond), and supporting well-known acts such as Fairport Convention and Show Of Hands. She teamed up with musician Keith Donnelly, who named their duo Dark Horses, but as a solo performer, she has released twelve albums since 2002 and there is a live one on the way. Her wide repertoire appeals to all. She sings folk songs, jazz standards, blues numbers, Edith Piaf and Jacques Brel classics. Quite a variety!

Her first song at Croydon Folk Club was ‘More Hills To Climb’, which compares life to climbing up a hill. She always finds that when she gets to the top, she is still two steps behind. I am sure we can all relate to that. The Abba song ‘Slipping Through My Fingers’ is a beautiful song that reflects on the passing of time and the ‘letting go’ process which inexorably accompanies it. How many parents feel this? Being used to having the child at home, then the child goes to school and plans made have to change… Then going to college, leaving home and the parents’ worry about losing the child forever.

Another song was ‘Early Days’, by Paul McCartney, where he reminisces about the ‘Fab Four’ and makes it clear that those memories definitely belong to him, and him only.

Flossie sang Suzanne Vega’s ‘Luka’… which really made me cry

The Edith Piaf song ‘La Foule’ is about a lady in a city where the crowds are celebrating. She is on her own, but then the crowd push her into the arms of a gorgeous man, then suddenly the crowd tear him out of her arms. She is carried away in the distance and never finds him again.

The song which really made me want to cry was ‘Luka’, by Suzanne Vega. It is a song about domestic abuse. Sadly, this is far too often headline news. In the song, Luka is telling neighbours in the flat below not to worry about the noise of fighting that they might hear, and they must not ask her what it was. If they ask questions, she will tell them that she bumped into the door again. She says that they only hit until one cries. After that one doesn’t ask why and one doesn’t argue anymore. How many women are going through this, I wondered.

By contrast, a love song by Bob Dylan – ‘Make You Feel My Love’ – gave us all a nice feeling. “When the rain is blowing in your face and the whole world is on your case, I could offer you a warm embrace to make you feel my love.” That made me feel a lot better! ‘Girls’ Night Out’ is all about girls going out dancing and painting the town red. The message here is to just have fun. I agree with that!

The sculpture is of a soldier, looking down, remembering the war

‘Tin Soldier’ was written by John Wrightson of Murton, County Durham, in tribute to the sculpture ’1101′ by Ray Lonsdale. Situated on the seafront on Terrace Green, Seaham, County Durham, the sculpture (nicknamed ‘Tommy’) is the pride and joy of the locals. This song is about the First World War. The tin soldier is a sculpture of a soldier who seems to be looking down, as if remembering the horrors of the war, but perhaps not knowing that the war had ended. Flossie sang that song with so much feeling, it made me feel very sad.

One of my favourites was a song by the late Vin Garbutt, ‘Morning Informs On My Dreaming’. It is about a couple’s separation. He feels that he should have listened to her complaints, but her voice was too faint and his was too loud, and then she was gone in the blink of an eye. Night has replaced the light in her eye and morning informs on his dreaming. He has learned his lesson and wants her to come back. The pillow is often wet through and the door has been kept unlocked. I kept hoping that she would come back!

We thoroughly enjoyed the gig and Flossie also has a wonderful sense of humour. She loves chatting to the audience. We would certainly go and see her again!

Anne Giles

Anne Giles

I grew up in Buenos Aires, Argentina, the daughter of an Anglo-Argentine mother and English father. I went to an English school and worked for a British company out there before coming to live in the U.K. I spent many years teaching Spanish in adult education in various centres in Croydon Borough and have got to know so many different areas – North and South. We have been living in Selsdon since 1989 and I love it. I feel passionately about Croydon and have spent many years writing blogs – firstly for the Croydon Advertiser, then the Croydon Guardian, and eventually my own blog entitled “The Good Life in Croydon”. I am very much involved in the community, attending regular meetings with the Croydon Community Police Consultative Group and am also a member of the British Transport Police PACT (Police & Community Together) Team.

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