Take a Chanson

If the Downtown Mall felt decidedly Parisian this afternoon, it is thanks to an unusual musical visitor. At first glance, some might have thought the singer, standing with a mike in front of the Jefferson Theater and wearing a camouflage cap, would belt rock, rhythm and blues, or even reggae– as many Mall buskers do. But once he opened his mouth, the Atlantic ocean seemed to evaporate as something far more romantic poured out: classic French chansons. The mystery man making mellifluous melodies? Michelet Innocent, who's here visiting his sister, a local physician.

Passersby on this day, at least, were unable to resist his spell– a few spontaneously grabbed hands and twirled as Innocent smiled and sang on, and children stopped to play and listen.

Innocent, who lives and teaches music in Florida, says he'll be here at least three weeks, so if you missed him this afternoon, you'll have other chances. And if any exciting gigs come his way, says Innocent, there could be better news for lovers of French chansons: "I might stay all summer," he says.