Maniere des Bohemiens
Eco Barn, Porthtowan, Cornwall, UK
added: 12 Nov 2012
interviewed by: Tadgh Shiels
One moment violinist and band leader Rob Rosa appeared as an awkward clumsy oaf spilling beer on his shoes outside the door to the venue - the next as one of the most proficient and confident musicians I have ever seen, moving around the stage with effortless showmanship.
The Nottingham, UK band Manière des Bohémiens, meaning ‘way of the gypsies’, play note-perfect performances of Django Reinhardt style gypsy jazz music with the virtuoso skill of classically trained musicians. They recently graced Mount Pleasant Eco Barn near Porthtowan, Cornwall, UK with their characteristic astonishingly tight and entertaining live show.
The band formed in 2009 when Rob and his brother Roger got together with friend Matt Kerry and began to imitate jazz recordings on guitar. “We’d learn the chords and a few patterns and didn’t waste much time in going out and playing,” said Rob. “The three of us did our first gig at an open mic and from then on were asked to play follow up gigs.”
The two brothers form the backbone of the band which otherwise features a rotating cast of musicians which includes players of upright bass, accordion, clarinet, and enough guitarists to fill up a small bus. “We love jamming and have hosted countless jam nights in Nottingham and elsewhere giving us the pleasure of playing with a whole host of great musicians,” explained Rob. “We invite people to play with us and the band has been forged this way…I think the dynamic is a positive one where we’re seeking to develop and keep the sound fresh and new.”
“We all come from different, almost opposing musical backgrounds. Our different approaches certainly gives us a unique sound; I like to think it does anyway,” he added. The current line up of the band consists of Rob Rosa on violin, Abel Chaudé on clarinet, Roger Rosa on guitar and Mark Houlgate on upright Bass.
Manière des Bohémiens don’t write any of their own music. Instead their live sets consist mostly of jazz improvisation, so one of the ways that Rob maintains a fresh sound is adapting the classical compositions he learned during his childhood to the gypsy style of the band. “It’s a nice way of presenting classical music which isn’t bastardised too much and people can dance to it. I’ve never seen people dancing to Brahms or Monti before so it’s mildly amusing and I think the composers would have approved,” he explained. “From a personal level it’s about taking something from your childhood that was lots of fun to play and making it even more exciting, I really wish I could play it this way to my teacher back then.”
In March 2010 the band received a boost in exposure when they appeared on BBC Radio show ‘The Beat’. “The BBC thing happened fairly early on and did get us a boost locally in terms of audience and interest,” Rob told me. “Our MySpace got twenty-thousand views in one day when we were mentioned on radio, and then returned to twenty or thirty the following day.”
Manière des Bohémiens are constantly working on new material. Next they plan on reducing their gig schedule in Nottingham and playing in a wider range of cities and towns. A 12” vinyl is due in the summer of next year and they are looking to Ireland as a possible tour destination. “I know there are a lot of musicians there, so there are rich pickings for jamming,” said Rob enthusiastically.
“All in all, we just want to play as many new and interesting places and to as many people we can, like most bands,” he added.
Read the entire interview here: http://falmouthfunhouse.wordpress.com/2012/11/12/way-of-the-gypsies-interview-with-rob-rosa/
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