A Chat with the Hodge Podge French Jazz Group from Colombia
It might seem surprising that a band like Monsieur Periné can not only have a crazy amount of followers, but highly rabid ones. The Django Reinhardt-inspired Frenchy cutesy gypsy group from Colombia kicked major behind in our latest MTV Iggy Artist of the Week poll, proving that sometimes, people like a little bit old fashioned.
We chatted with the group about their big win, the day they discovered Django, and the mixed bag of Latin genres that comprise their charming music.
Monsieur Perine, congrats on winning our Artist of the Week poll. Seems like you guys have a pretty committed fan base at home in Colombia, no?
Indeed, we have a great amount of people who like our music that have been supporting us during these last five years. We have now more than 45,000 followers on Facebook, most of them are from Colombia and they are all committed and supportive. We always try to have a close relationship with our fans. We want them to be part of our lives like we are a large family.
Where did the idea of working with the sounds of old-time French jazz come to you?
Nicolás and Santiago began playing Django Reinhardt music when they met at a music Academy in Bogotá several years ago which they found on the internet. When we came together we were haunted by “La Pompe” which is the rhythmic way of playing the gipsy jazz guitar and then jazz
manouche guitar became the backbone of our music.
You mix those jazz manouche sounds with Latin rhythms…. what are some of the Latin styles you draw on?
We are constantly experimenting with different rhythms and most of them come from Latin America like cumbia, bambuco, porro, son, mambo, samba, Peruvian vals, Mexican nortern, reggae. As well as with swing, balkan, rock, pop, funk.
One of the coolest things to me is seeing the charango, usually played in Andean music, become a swinging jazz-pop instrument. Where did that idea come from?
It was sort of an accident. Santiago had a charango and began playing samba because it sounded like a cavaquinho. He had to learn chords and rhythm patterns that are not used in traditional Andean music so we brought it then to swing music and its timbre combined perfectly with the other instruments we use. We also use ronroco which is like charango but it sounds in a low register.
What are your thoughts about the Colombian music scene today? We’ve heard a lot of the new cumbia-influenced stuff, but what you guys are doing seems totally different in a way…
We think he Colombian music scene is getting bigger, stronger and more diverse. There are several new bands making cool stuff and interesting music. Cumbia is very strong because it has a gravitational force which attracts to its orbit. But we have plenty of different rhythms and musical styles which have not been explored and exploited. The music that is being produced in Colombia is evolving and becoming universal because it is full of new and fresh ideas which are influenced by our own traditional music and by the music that comes from abroad.
What are some of your favorite Colombian bands?
Aterciopelados, Sidestepper, Chocquibtown, Esteman, Ondatrópica,
If you could go back to any time and place and history, what would it be?
We would return to the 40s to have a drink and dance while we’d watch Lucho Bérmudez playing with his Orquesta del Caribe at Hotel Granada in Bogotá and then we would cross the ocean to be in Paris and hear Django playing Nuages at a nice parisian jazz club.
There’s a lot of live performance videos on YouTube (Amplificado, Kapturing), but not many traditional music videos. Are more videos on the way?
We have a traditional video of our song “Suin Romanticón”. We are planning to release more videos soon. The next one will be a video of “La
You recently toured Mexico, right? How did it go?
We were in Mexico about 10 days. We played four times, two of them sharing stage with great mexican artists: Carla Morrison and Paté de Fuá and the other two: at Zinco Jazz club and in Guadalajara. We had a wonderful time with Mexican people. We are going to release our album with the label Intolerancia in August and we will return on November.
You have a lot of good momentum, so what’s next for the band? New albums or tours?
We have already began to preproduce our next album and we are going to Peru in August, Los Angeles in September, Mexico and France in November .