Trobadors — surely a mis-spelling? Well, no — it’s the Occitan word for Troubadour, Occitan being a language spoken mainly in France and parts of Italy and Catalonia during the 12th and 13th centuries. This concert by the Oxford Trobadors brought to life the Occitan music and language in songs and instrumental pieces that added up to a fascinating and inspirational evening.

The first half was characterised by atmospheric songs with haunting melodies, many of them dealing with different aspects of love. So there was the tender Pyrenees lullaby Hadau at Baptista (Christmas for Baptiste), in which a father sings of his love for his child as Father Christmas flies through the night, the mood enhanced by the softly-strummed guitar and use of shakers in the background. The song was beautifully delivered by tenor/guitarist Ray Noble and percussionist Keith Fairbairn. In contrast, there was the unaccompanied Se canta (It’s singing), about a bird “singing for my loved one, who is far from me”. For this, Ray Noble was joined by his baritone brother Denis, the founder of the Trobadors, and together they produced some strong vocals and glorious harmonies.

The mood changed after the interval with a selection of instrumental pieces, strongly played by saxophonist Helen Cope with Keith Fairbairn switching between ethnic drums, marimba and vibes.

Then there was a selection of songs in tribute to modern Trobadors, including Gershwin’s Summertime and Foggy Day, sung with great energy by Ray Noble, to solid accompaniment by Keith Fairbairn and guitarist Bryan Vaughan.

Then it was back to those haunting love songs, before the whole company came together for Immortela (The Edelweiss), with the audience invited to join in the catchy chorus.

This was an intriguing, unusual evening, introducing listeners to know a whole new repertoire of music, which was delivered by a group of versatile musicians with warmth, commitment and plenty of pizzazz. Magnificent.