The Following is a review of a performance by La Guinguette

for the Alliance Française de Santa Rosa on June 17, 2011

On Friday June 17, 2011 in honor of “La Fête de la Musique” well known in France since 1982, an audience of about 90 people gathered in the Vista Del Lago big room (in Santa Rosa) to listen to the musical group “La Guinguette”, a trio with Christiane Lelaure (mezzo-soprano), Al Haas (guitar & baritone) & Robert Lunceford (accordion). This group, that has existed for only one year, already has an impressive repertoire of songs and melodies that we might have heard during the 20th century in the “guinguettes”, those popular cafes around Paris where music and dance took place outdoors.

           The concert that we attended on June 17th was divided into two parts, each one consisting of ten pieces, plus one encore at the end. Most pieces were vocals with instrumental accompaniment; the others were only instrumentals. Well known songs immortalized by Edith Piaf (La foule, La vie en rose, Non je ne regrette rien) and interpreted in an authentic and faithful way by Christiane Lelaure were interspersed with songs of Jacques Brel and other song composers. Also in the program, two beautiful Italian songs performed by Al Haas and Christiane Lelaure with accompaniment.

           The trio was able to impress its audience with precise phrasing, a perfect intonation, and of course the native French of Christiane. But for the author of this review, the most distinctive feature of this concert was the way Robert Lunceford was playing accordion: a plaintive sound, honest, pure and confident that reminded me of the sound of the bandonéon from Argentina. I would not be surprised to learn that Robert studied with one or another of these Argentinian musicians.

            The only regret was that nobody danced during the first part of the concert in spite of the invitations from the artists to use the small dance floor. But the situation changed after the intermission (that is to say after having enjoyed the good wine offered by the Alliance) when finally the beautiful music encouraged several couples to start dancing - which is, after all, de rigueur in a guinguette.

                 Bravo for this concert that ended with a well-deserved standing ovation!          Let’s hope that in the future, the trio La Guinguette from Sonoma County will contribute again to celebrate “La Fête de la Musique” or other festivals in our region. If you want to know more about this musical group, go on the web at

Philip Beard, member of the AFSR with the help of Jacqueline Lindenfield.

This is a translation of a review that was originally written in the French Language.