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LISA SIMONE: CONCERT REVIEW

Music in the vines...

Billed as a private party, we joined about 200 lucky souls who spent a most pleasant summer evening on the grounds of Mas de Daumas Gassac, one of France's most unique wineries. We nibbled a variety of hors d'oeuvres, drank as much wine as we thought prudent, enjoyed bits of salmon and herb-encrusted tuna from the plancha, dressed rounds of bread with freshly sliced ham and aioli, gathered around cheese boards that were at least two meters long, and if that wasn't enough, spent an hour and a half or so listening to Lisa Simone both being herself and channeling her mother Nina.

First, a word about Mas de Daumas Gassac. You can read the history HERE. It's the story of a family that just wanted to produce the best wine possible without regard to the rules of French classification. Matching great vines from other areas of France to their impeccable terroir, they proved that the Languedoc was capable of producing wine that challenges the greatest vintages of the rest of the country. If that meant that their wine had to be labelled vin de table or vin de pays, so be it. They would simply produce the best wine that they could produce and let taste decide its worth. As a result of their dedication to craft, their winery is a destination for wine lovers from around the world, offering bottles ranging from under 10€ to over 40€ and more.   

Given that their dedicated following has lifted up Mas de Daumas Gassac perhaps beyond expectation, it's fitting that the Guibert family has decided to provide their friends with something special in return. We were fortunate to have discovered the concert on Lisa Simone's website and knew the venue. We arrived just after 8pm and enjoyed what was billed as a cocktail dinner until the sky darkened. The ropes dropped, we found our seats, and the concert began with an intro from one of the Guibert boys. The musicians came out one at a time, giving us a sample of their individual skills, and then came Lisa.

"Vous etes vous," shouted one of our neighbors in the audience as Lisa talked about her mother. (You are you!) But although Lisa displayed due deference to the memory of her mother, covering Leonard Cohen's Suzanne as her mother did and closing with a rousing rendition of Nina's classic The Work Song, Lisa was Lisa. She's basically a pop singer with a strong voice that contains overtones of blues and folk along with jazz. She plays no instrument but she plays the audience, and does it well, at one point coming down from the stage and roaming up and down the aisles, shaking hands while singing.

Her backing trio displayed their talents individually at various times during the show - an amplified acoustic guitar player, a bassist who played both electric and upright bass, and a drummer with an electric smile and a facility with the variety of rhythms in Lisa's songbook.

In sum,if you have the opportunity to see Lisa Simone, don't delay. She's a treasure.

Not a bad seat in the house, if you don't mind plastic...
Men in blazers and men in shorts, ladies in Capri pants and cocktail dresses...
Fish on the plancha...
Ham like you can't often find in France...


Nothing flashy, just the music...
Into the audience...
Yes, a bit of her mother in that face...
More about our life in France, including concert revues, HERE and HERE.

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