Monsieur Periné Are Making Colombia Swing| 26 March, 2012
After five years refining their art it seems Colombian band Monsieur Periné are ready for the big time. The incredible reaction from audiences on their first tour outside of Colombia – playing concerts at SXSW Festival (Austin, Texas) as well as shows in Miami and New York – would certainly suggest that. Their style is Suin A La Colombiana, a Colombian hybridisation of swing music that they’ve made their own.
There was something about their New York show (at SOB’s) that suggested a band in a great moment with their own euphoria at playing easily matched by that of the audience, who sang along to the majority of the songs. Considering they are still to release an album this is something of an achievement. In fact there was something even a little Beatles-esque about their show, with both the hysteria and the style (with many of the band donning Sgt Pepper’s-esque purple, green and red suits), although perhaps not in regards to originality.
In those stakes the band very much take their cues from swing music while also successfully adding their own identity to the mix, as Trupe Cha de Boldo do with swing and samba in Brazil or Alvy Singer with swing and tango in Argentina. There are elements of cumbia (clarinet), salsa (percussion) and vallenato (melodies) though the Djanho Reinhardt vein of swing or “hot” jazz always remains at their core.
It’s a style that’s perfect for the live environment with the band constantly enciting the audience to dance and each musician having their own chance to shine. Singer Catalina García takes centerstage, and even when not singing maintains – through her dancing and percussion – a constant level of excitement. She is flanked by multi-instrumentalist Camilo Parra and guitarist (and charango player) Santiago Prieto, the latter of which does a mean Louis Armstrong impression, taking a solo spot during the show to show off this skill. Rounding out the band are second guitar, percussion, drums and an occasional trombonist, making up a seven-piece band.
The band show some naiveity with their cover of “Saints Go Marching In” which seems a little too obvious and which doesn’t really manage to ignite, but fare better with their cover of Django Reinhardt’s “Cou Cou.” Really though, their best songs are their originals, such as “Suin Romanticon”, “La Tienda de Sombreros” and “La Muerte”, which you can listen to below. In some ways the use of covers show the way in which the band needs to grow, to fully explore their own idea of Suin A La Colombiana that doesn’t feel too close to a homage of the past greats of swing. But this is a minor gripe as really this is a band which is ready to take on the world, and I wouldn’t be surprised to see them pop up at many festivals across Europe and North America later this year.
“La Tienda de Sombreros”
Download their single “La Muerte” from mundobakia.com/mperine
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