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“Billie” Megg Farrell and Other Musical Discoveries at the Ptit Bonheur la Chance

March 28, 2012

Holy crap. I was just blown away last night by the music at the Ptit Bonheur la Chance open mic. Of course, I went to one of my usual weekly hang-outs in Paris suffering a little bit of a withdrawal syndrome after traveling around the world over the last couple of weeks and being electrified by one new musical sensory perception after another. So I arrived at the Bonheur not quite in a state of Bonheur, but probably feeling just a little bit blasé. That would be soon entirely wiped out by the music – and the first to wipe the table clean was Meg Farrell.

Was it year or two ago that I first heard Megg playing around town, starting with the Highander open mic? My first impression of her, I recall, was that she jolted me out of a somewhat soporific state at whatever particular evening I had been sitting there drinking beer and waiting for my turn to play. She had this driving, hard playing way with a ukelele that was designed to wake up anyone and rouse any crowd that had sunk into a stupor or a state of agitation in talk that sometimes accompanies certain open mics.

But from my early feelings of praise I soon identified an aspect of the Megg phenomenon that I eventually grew bored with: Everything was this hard-driving, raucous, energetic and rhythmic singing and ukelele playing. I desperately wanted to hear a little bit of variety, something a little softer. Got it in heaps last night!

Meg went off to New York City and has been haunting jazz clubs. She has returned for a short visit to Paris and I discovered a new Megg. You might call her “Billie” Megg. I was sitting at the back of the little cave room at the Bonheur when I heard the soft ukelele strumming and I did not know who was performing. It was too dark for my aged eyes to make out the facial features. I rarely like the ukelele stuff these days, but when I do, I really do. But last night suddenly what emerged, bit by bit – so not “suddenly” – was this incredible feeling, this voice that sounded like a cross between Janis Joplin and Billie Holiday, but more to the latter than the former.

And bit by bit the image in my mind began to form and I said to myself, “This could not be Megg?” Surely not. Not hard driving, hard moving rabble rousing Megg Farrell of the rhythmic uke. This was something super soft and sensitive and truly bluesy beautiful.

Anyway, to cut the praise short – it was Megg Farrell. Returned a changed performer. Check out the vids.

Now, it was not only Megg who impressed me and lifted me out of my lethargic state. There was Jelila, too, with her vaguely gypsy look and sound, and a sumptuous voice. There were many others. I got videos of ’em. Put ’em up. And am glad I went to my regular haunt once again….

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