Interview With Fir Beag, first published in Downtown/The Evening Echo 2014-1-30

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As Valentines Day approaches, Dublin based French Chantuese Caroline Moreau comes to Cork to play two special love themed concerts, ahead of her visit to Cobh and Douglas she spoke with Ronan Leonard about what her audience can expect.
Caroline released her acclaimed second album ‘Amour Toujours etc.’ only 4 months ago and while she will be drawing upon that material she was quick to stress that these concerts will contain plenty of variation on love “it won’t just be songs from my album, because I would get bored if it was always the same songs, so I’ve been working on a few English ones as well. Some of the songs you can expect are ‘Ne Me Quitte Pas’ by Jacques Brel, (Jack Lukeman does a well known English version called ‘If You Go Away’) which is a very sad one. There will also be ‘Je Suis Venu Te Dire’ by Serge Gainsbourgh, it’s another sad love song; and another one called ‘Rebecca’, written by Sean Molloy, who played in The Pale, but was never released… it’s about being in love a woman, but now she’s a ghost.” She laughed and added, “I don’t have happy love songs!”
While she mightn’t have happy love songs, she does have a happy love life, which is the reason she has lived in Ireland for over 10 years, “I live here full time since 2002, it was love that has had me stay so long. I really love my life in Ireland, I think the people are lovely, really I think there is something in Ireland that you cannot get anywhere else, and it really has a good heart. I originally came to Ireland to perform in a play in which I sang and played accordion called ‘The Nude who Painted Back’ in the Samuel Beckett Centre in Trinity College in 1999. Mark was in the audience one night, he saw me on stage and thought to himself “I have to meet this girl”, we started talking after the show that night… and that was it! Life is short, at the start we were in living in two different places and having to meet on holidays but very soon we said let’s just try this and I moved over and as the song goes No Regrets!”
Caroline explained how her live performances are quite personal and one she doesn’t take lightly, “Chanson is a simple general term for ‘French Song’ and that is as wide and varied as what ‘Irish Music’ is; it has intellectual contexts, love, consultations with life, everything! As a Chanteuse that is what I bring to my concerts, I am alone on stage with a wonderful guitarist called Lucas Gonzalez, he is Argentinean and has a background as a Flamenco player and is a wonderful accompanist. For me I have to be very picky about the musicians I choose, I believe they must really be able to share the stage and songs with me because for me a concert isn’t just a singer on stage, music is a powerful thing, a magical thing. And since most of my songs are in French, the listener will sometimes need the music to give the voice a place to push the story. In between the songs, I explain the songs in English so non French speakers will know what I am singing about, that context is very important for the audience to have.”
Caroline is particularly looking forward to performing to a Cork audience, “I love playing in Cork, and I have a few friends living there so I enjoy gigging there. Sometimes when you are in a town you don’t know you end up doing a soundcheck, playing the concert, then going back to the hotel and driving home the next morning. But everytime we’re in Cork it feels like a party, and the people are charming and there are so many beautiful buildings.”
Caroline Moreau performs ‘Amour!’ in
The Sirius Arts Centre, Cobh on Friday 7 February. On stage 8pm, €15, bookings 021 481 3790 or and
On The Pig’s Back Café, St Patricks Mills, Douglas, on Saturday 8 February. Pre-concert menu from 6pm. On stage 8.30pm. Booking essential €15 tel: 021 4617832

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