We would not normally respond to an invitation like this, even from... especially from such a friendly security guard, but he happened to be beckoning us into the very place where we were headed, so in we went.
The concert room was lit with lovely mauves and blues and we happily took our seats and waited. I waved to one girl then realised it wasn't Catrin - I KNEW I should have worn my glasses. Eventually, not quite on time, Catrin and her friend Bérénice were introduced by M. Didier Beaujardin, their peotry teacher, and the concert began. Bérénice goes under the name of BenLou and her style is very sweet and feminine, singing songs of lost love and longing. She sang three songs alone, sometimes accompanied by Catrin on piano, sometimes by another student on guitar. Then they sang two duets, including one comic song, a parody about a woman who drinks everything in sight and ends up "weeing wine like a grape".
Then Catrin sang two songs at the piano and one accompanied by guitar. Catrin's songs were also songs of longing, but more about nostalgia for her country of birth (Il est une isle) and the struggle to integrate (Je voulais être comme vous). She managed to sing past her sore throat and chest infection and carried things off very well indeed, even making some mistakes at the piano and covering them up nicely.
The girls were followed without interval by the main act, M. Bastien Lallemant, who sang a variety of songs accompanying himself on his huge electric guitar. I slowly realised that the guitar was normal size, but M. Lallemant is very small and very thin. His spindly legs were fascinating as he sometimes kicked and stamped in time with the music. He sang songs of loss, one funny song about nothing at all, which he said was a kind of exercise of style and would last over 15 minutes (it didn't really), one was about a beach where the waves rolled the corpse of a drowned woman to and fro ("it's not very cheerful", he said, "but the setting is described quite prettily"), he sang a berceuse inutile "a useless lullaby" which he wrote for his third son who, unlike his first two children, slept easily and long, and he sang a very touching song inspired by the refugee crisis, On dormira la nuit au chaud "We'll sleep at night in the warm". I thoroughly enjoyed his charming presentation. "You'll have to ask for an encore", he said, "because the students are going to accompany me for it."
Afterwards I told the security guard that we were the parents of one of the girls.
"The one in white?"
"No, the one in black. Did you enjoy the concert?"
"The guy was OK" (he wrinkled his nose) "but the girls were wonderful." he said.