French Jazz + Sabor Latino = “Colombian Swing”
Name: Monsieur Perine
Where They’re From: Bogotá, Colombia
Genre: Colombian Swing
When they started: 2007
The Sound: Bite-sized French pastries, wrapped up in ribbons, with cherries on top.
One of the most pleasant surprises to emerge from Colombia’s bubbling musical crucible in recent years, Monsieur Perine don’t make psychedelic cumbia, roots rap, or rock en español. Rather, the Bogotá septet draws its inspiration from a unlikely source: the spritely jazz manoche of Django Reinhardt and 1930s France.
On a bevy of acoustic instruments – including the ukulele-like charango, guitar, melodica, flute, clarinet, percussion, and upright bass – Monsieur Perine mixes swinging gypsy jazz with a sprinkling of pan-Latin sounds such as son, tango, and samba. The result is something the band has dubbed “suin a la colombiana” (“Colombian swing”). The group’s vibe is always bouncy and fun, and the musicianship of its members is impressive to say the least.
What’s amazing is that Monsieur Perine isn’t just some obscure jazz-school nerdery. They’ve made big strides at home in Colombia, earning radio play and marquee billing at major music festivals, not to mention a sizable online following. In part, that’s because they balance their high-concept musical fusions with a spot-on pop sensibility. And it doesn’t hurt that they’re an extraordinarily good looking bunch. In addition to the array of shaggy-haired and mustachioed young men playing the instruments, frontwoman Catalina Garcia is pretty much the dictionary definition of cute.
Monsieur Perine also has an impressive visual game going on, mostly eschewing traditional music videos in favor of beautifully shot live performances. Below, check out the video for the song “La Tienda de Sombreros.”