Thursday, May 1

Crazy ball on the river

Samarabalouf is a combination of Samara, the old French name for the Somme River in france, bal, a ball at which you dance, and fou backwards (fou means crazy), so explains Fran├žois in concert.

French gypsy jazz guitar trio Samarabalouf just blew me away. With their wholistic use of their guitars they made sounds of creaking doors, grating carrots, the whine of a tea kettle in a lonely cabin scratched by trees. These guys were probably more excited than we were to be there (and we were thrilled), knocking on their intruments, dancing with them, having humorous face-offs, interacting very well with the crowd and getting the energy going in a seemingly natural, effortless way.

Fran├žois, the guy on the right, spoke for the band both in French and in English (though his English is not in as good a condition), but the other two have just as much personality. It just shows that language isn't necessary, only useful for a tad of explanation. The guy in the middle, Luc, looked like he was ready to start dancing with his double base any minute---and there was some dancing with the instruments, too! With a quiver for his bow he switched between the flowing celloish sound and deep satisfying plunking noises to tiny little chirps, drops, and taps. The guy on the left, named Pierrot, did everything else, from strange cowboyish yee-haws to silent comedic relief, engaging the audience.

almost dancing...

a more mellow sound

I think it's the mark of a good musician or group that can really offer both talent and connect with the audience. Samarabalouf has a barrier of language but still manages to rise to the top and make the audience feel like they are just relaxing, a friend listening to the trio jam.

You can visit their official website here.

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