Gypsy swing

Dec 05, 2018, 10:29 IST | Karishma Kuenzang

"In our community, you just grow up with gypsy swing. As a child, you already have a guitar or violin in your hands.

Gypsy swing
The band

Swing jazz is one technique musicians take time to master. Delve deeper and you have gypsy jazz — a distinctive swing jazz sound, and a trademark of the Dutch. Bringing some of their signature sounds to Mumbai is Paulus Schäfer Band, as part of the Holland Meets Mumbai festival, organised by the Consulate General of the Kingdom of the Netherlands in Mumbai.

Schäfer, known for imbibing funk and pop elements in the fast-paced tunes that still complement the musical arrangements, says his biggest influence is Django Reinhardt, the fabulous gypsy guitar player. Schäfer was born into music and says his career was "inevitable". "In our community, you just grow up with gypsy swing. As a child, you already have a guitar or violin in your hands.

Paulus Schäfer
Paulus Schäfer

It is an ongoing process; you constantly try to improve. We don't study at the conservatory. It is passed down from father to son, uncle to nephew," Schäfer adds. The band's set-list for Mumbai will be impromptu, as usual, and include Django Reinhardt classics, the Great American Songbook and their original compositions, including songs from Schäfer's latest album, Letter to Van Gogh, a musical tribute to the iconic artist.

"He lived in my village, Nuenen, for a few years. He was an outsider, and in the time he lived here, he made the famous The Potato Eaters painting. It is a dark canvas of very poor farmers and quite depressing. [But] we promise the crowd a swinging and jazzy night," he signs off.

On December 8 and 9
At The Quarter, Royal Opera House, 9 pm and 6 pm onwards.
Email hdutchgypsyjazz@gmail.com
Entry Rs 749

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