After discovering Trio Manouche via an online search for Gypsy Swing in London we ventured south to Battersea High Street and it was with curiosity that we walked into the Quecumbar.
The quirky venue is a mecca to ‘Gypsy Swing’ and has been operating for the last 14 years in homage to Django Reinhardt, the father of the genre. Amazing to find such a gem exists. Given the re-emerging popularity of this sound in recent years, it would probably have queues down the road if the décor was refreshed and the prices lowered, but the intimate nature and romantic table layout certainly transports you to Paris, with traditional French gastro-style dinner being served.
Venue aside, after five minutes of Trio Manouche, we would have happily travelled anywhere and sat on the floor to be a part of this irresistible sound. Performing a clever blend of the works of Django Reinhardt and their own original swing compositions, the warmth and skill of this trio instantly bring smiles to the crowd.
The Frank Sinatra of Gypsy Swing, Simon Harris, (band-leader) has an effortless warmth to his vocals as well as playing guitar that sits perfectly with Ducato Pietrowski - who brings the authentic sound of gypsy music on guitar. It’s hard to take your eyes of his frenetic finger-work executed with a totally relaxed vibe. With Davide Mantovani's fingers dancing down the double bass, they made a truly inspiring blend.
Trio Manouche aren’t hard to find in London though Harris told us, they’ve been focussing on a lot of private events – recently Guy Ritchie’s wedding. If you haven’t heard them before, start with their EP, ‘Fall In Love With Swing’, which reached No. 3 in the online bandcamp charts. 'Anna Banana' is a more recent original composition, with witty and contemporary lyrics and Renato Carosone's 'Tu Vuò Fa' L'Americano' another stand-out number and the night's closer.
With so many styles and cultures of music to dip into right now, it's comforting to know that Trio Manouch are proudly flying the flag for Gypsy Swing, and if the musical fault llines continue to shift you just might see this talented trio step into the mainstream and capture the hearts and minds of the masses.