Françoise and Friends
It’s a French pop fête as Sylvia Cornes transforms the Ellington Jazz Club into a swinging-sixties Parisian bar.
Celebrating the vibrant world of yé-yé music—a carefree style of French pop music inspired by the playful modernity and postwar freedom of 1960s France—Sylvia’s brand-new show, François and Friends, honours the musicians whose upbeat, carefree music characterised a decade, and still delights crowds a continent away today.
François and Friends is a giddy, vibrant, brilliant evening of entertainment, and the candle-lit Ellington the perfect setting for celebrating sexy, sweetheart, swinging French pop.
Named for François Hardy, the wildly popular girl-next-door of 1960s Paris, the show clocks several of the singer’s hits in a tight 50-minute-long set featuring works from her contemporaries, including Serge Gainsbourg, France Gall, Brigitte Bardot, Sheila and more.
Sylvia’s voice is velvet-smooth and strong, and she’s a charming stage presence—a Francophile who clearly knows and adores her source material, but—in the yé-yé spirit—isn’t bogged down by taking it all too seriously.
She tells us the stories behind the songs, chatters about reading François’ Wikipedia page, tells us certain pieces are ‘bops’ or ‘bangers’, checks her pronunciation with the French-speaker in the front row, and has as much fun as any of us onstage with her band.
Comprised of guitarist Thomas Freeman, drummer Bronton Ainsworth, and bassist Wayan Biliondana, the lineup is near-note-perfect in challenging arrangements traversing jazz, swing, pop and baroque, with jazzy improvisation and a wonderfully theatrical surprise guest vocalist.
FRINGE WORLD marks François and Friends’ debut, and it’s playing two nights only—but this tight, professional group seemed miles away from its opening night.
François and Friends is a joyful, funky and fun evening of music and sweet nostalgia. Bring your mum, order rosé, practise your français—and make sure you don’t take yourself too seriously. François and her friends would be furious.