Thursday, September 21, 2017

Review: Joyful Columbian Band, Monsieur Perine, Thrilled and Delighted Audiences for Two Nights at the Jazz Alley, Seattle, Washington, September 12 and 13, 2017

 Monsieur Perine Delighted Audiences at the Jazz Alley, Seattle Washington, September 12th and 13th, 2017

By E. Joyce Glasgow,

Monsieur Perine is an eight-member band of joyful, high-energy musicians from Bogata, Columbia. They have brilliantly combined their favorite musical styles and developed them into a sound that is unique and original to them. (See two of their videos, included below). 
There is an undercurrent of traditional, grounded, Afro-Columbian Cumbia rhythms, meeting a high-spirited, bubbly style of  French, 1920’s era, guitar centered, “Gypsy” jazz swing, and sprinkled with funny percussive elements like the oom pahs you may find keeping time on the drum set during a polka. All the elements embraced, work together, uncannily, to create something fresh, sophisticated and different.
I was curious about where their name came from and found out that their band’s inspiration for the title is as unusual as they are. They were inspired by the perineum, ( perinee, in French) that part of the human body which lies at the base/bass of the 1st Chakra or “root” chakra and took the word "Perine", adding "Monsieur"in juxtaposition, ironically referencing the belief that all things French are refined and elegant.
They live up to their name, as their infectious rhythms and energy have everyone up and dancing energized from their own "root" chakras, inspired by the wild, catchy rhythms and the group's pop, party effervescence. Almost everyone in the club, both upstairs and down immediately rose to their feet when the band invited the audience to join in and dance.
Most of the band’s songs performed at Jazz Alley were their originals, sung in Spanish or French, along with a traditional, Latin bolero, adapted to their style. 
Lead vocalist, Catalina Garcia, has a beautiful, nuanced voice and exudes a relaxed, graceful self- confidence and charm in her singing and comfortable, natural interactions with the audience. Her easy command of the stage is very appealing and quickly engages and wins over audiences. Garcia also wears wonderful, whimsically designed outfits which stylistically cross a colorful, traditional, indigenous style South American tribal clothing look, with hip, high fashion and a Spanish flamenco/gypsy touch.
The band has been together for ten years, having started performing together in 2007. They first met at a music conservatory they were attending in Columbia. Their first album, in 2012, won Columbia’s gold album award and In 2015 they won the Latin Grammy Award for “Best New Artist” of the year. They have been traveling the world and have enthusiastic fans everywhere.
Although some personnel has changed, the many years of seasoned playing together and their comfort and familiarity with one another has made them a really tight performance powerhouse, with seamless transitions from song to song that never let down the super high energy throughout the whole show, from start to finish.  
Expressive, crisp, lively solos from the tenor sax, trombone and trap drums drive home the jazz element throughout, a clarinet adds a bit of Klezmer feel and the addition of the traditional South American Charango (guitar like instrument), traditional bass guitar (like the bass guitar you might see in a Mariachi band) and congas, cajon ( "box" percussion), bongos and other varied percussion instruments bring the Latin component into their sound. The two rhythmical guitars' frenetic strumming punctuates and completes their sound with the French Gypsy jazz swing component. 
The musicians are Catalina Garcia, lead vocalist and percussion; Santiago Priego, charango, violin and guitar; Nicolas Junca, guitar; Jairo Alfonso, saxophone and clarinet; Abstin Caveates, trombone and bugle; Miguel Guerra, percussion; Darwin Baez, drums and Adinda Meertins, bass.
Thoroughly entertaining and exciting, I recommend you see Monsieur Perine in person if you have the chance. They have been traveling all over the U.S. and appeared at the Newport Jazz Festival this summer as well as this past weekend at the Monterey Jazz Festival. 
For a list of upcoming events at Jazz Alley visit:

Watch Monsieur Perine's videos below.

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