Lalor Galore! by Carole Rommene

Lalor Galore 1Michelle Lalor is a busy woman. Sharing her professional career between her chamber-music ensemble Trio Borsalino and her solo career, the Irish/Scottish musician and composer based in Le Pouget (34) has also spent the last year building a wooden house to share with her daughter, her man and a limping Labrador. Here, she finds the time to tell Carole Rommene about her life and how cycling 350 kilometres in two days is her way of letting off steam.


A lthough half Irish, Michelle was born in Kent. She went to a specialist music school before graduating from the Guildhall School of Music & Drama in London where she studied the violin and the viola. For fifteen years she was a viola soloist for the Radio Television Orchestra in Dublin and toured the world accompanying artists such as Pavarotti, Ronan Keating or Bryn Terfyl. She also recorded in studio with R.E.M., Sinead O’Connor, Katie Melhua and The Corrs, as well as for the films The Mask, Four weddings and a funeral and Lassie. An exciting lifestyle, which she gave up after the birth of her daughter Charlotte, now 12. "Orchestra life and family routine just didn’t fit together," she says. If Jilly Cooper’s novels are anything to go by, I can see that to be a fairly accurate assessment.


When we first featured Michelle in 2011, she told us all about her chamber group Trio Borsalino.
"I am still very much involved with the trio," she explains. "We are now lucky enough to have a manager in Paris who takes care of the nitty gritty bit so that we can concentrate on the creative part. It’s so hard selling yourself when it’s not what you’ve been programmed to do. All we want is play our music. Having the luxury of doing just that is fantastic."


Lalor Galore 2At the same time, Michelle’s solo career is also going from strength to strength. If you’ve never seen her in action, you have to! Her style is funny, quirky and self- deprecating. Her One-Woman Show, C’est Compliqué, is a comic look at her life in France told in anecdotes and amusing songs mixed with Irish and classical music. Armed with her viola, guitar and her special humour, you will find out that Michelle loves "her dog, her daughter, the Sécu, her parents, France and her amoureux, but not necessarily in this order."


When asked what inspired the show, she says with humour and a hint of resignation: "Life in France isn’t always easy for us expats. Whether you are retired, a single parent, working, renovating a building, setting up a business or even if you’re just on that epic quest for the elusive carte vitale, our existence here is full of obstacles! You just need to imagine my life: intermittente du spectacle, forty-something divorcee, single-mum overseeing a house-build when I’m not busy charging round the French countryside on my bike. All the ingredients are there for a great show!"


Talking of bicycle, Michelle is about to embark on a 350 kilometre ride around the Ardèche. "It’s my way of letting off steam" she says almost as an excuse. "I discovered cycling in France and I love it. It’s a great way of exploring the beautiful landscape here. I also play tennis — very badly. But it’s only a way of combatting the onset of the middle-aged spread."


Michelle also performs in retirement homes once a month, something she says she "wouldn’t give up for the world." I can imagine her sparkly style having quite the effect of a firework on the residents. "They are a wonderful audience and it’s a way of giving back to the community. It’s important for me to keep my feet on the ground and they definitely help me do that!"


On the other end of the scale, Michelle also tours schools with Les Ziconoclastes (, a bilingual show combining singing and theatre. "This aspect of my job is very rewarding too; children are so responsive to both languages. It’s great to see their littles faces lit up."


I thought I was a busy woman but I have found a serious opponent in Michelle. How do you manage to do it all? I ask. "I have a special trick," she says. "I put a note on my mirror saying If you can think it, you can do it. I’ll have to remember that next time I have the washing on the line, shopping bags to empty, breakfast still on the table and on the table and fruit puree all over my clothes," I reply ironically. We laugh and she says: "Peter Ustinov once said: laughter is the most civilized music in the world." Definitely Michelle’s world...


For more information, or to view some extracts of Michelle’s hilarious show, visit her website
Michelle LALOR
06 32 44 03 94
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