~~Wonderful words by Guest Writer Liam McGinniss ~~

Asking a musician what inspired their music can be incredibly gauche, so it helps when they come right out and tell you. So it is with Francesca de Valence, who lived for a month in Paris, drawing on the historical hub of art and culture to inspire a new batch of songs. These new songs, which formed the bulk of her headlining set at Junk Bar on 2 February, showcase her gift for weaving themes of love, loss, place and identity through beautiful instrumentation and a powerful voice.

Francesca, traditionally a piano player, instead uses an acoustic guitar for the majority of the new songs, showing a deftness for a range of playing styles. She is adept at both piano and guitar, but her voice is the real star – when she lets it loose, it fills the small room with booming echoes and powerfully rich tones. Never afraid to expose her emotions on stage, she pairs most songs with their stories, whether it’s finding herself coincidentally crafting her father’s face in a sculpting class (Water & Clay), adventuring with a new friend’s vintage sports car (Red Cat) or wandering through what turns out to be Paris’ renowned red light district (set highlight Oh, Pigalle).

A projector provides visual accompaniment for each song, showing Francesca’s Paris photographs. The projector also comes in handy for the night’s other purpose – the launch of the video for new (non-Parisian) single, Let Go. It’s an unusual choice to show the video instead of playing the song live, but the intensely personal and emotional video, and the cover of Edith Piaf’s La Vie En Rose she plays as an encore, work perfectly to end the show. Tonight Francesca took us on a tour of both the city she loves, and the soul she values so much. With plans to spend another month in Paris later this year, we can only hope she comes back similarly inspired.

Watch the music video for Francesca’s stunning new single Let Go (below) and see her bring Paris to life at her next show Songs De Paris on 24 March at Australian Modern (Carina – House Concert). All event and ticket info HERE.


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