Postcards from Paris:{Le Piano Vache}

"What is this Piano Cow you mentioned?"
A small bar, crowded but better described as cosy, full of some regulars and some exchange students from the Sorbonne who come chaque lundi soir to listen to three Django Reinhardt enthusiasts strum away like madmen. Middle-aged with physical characteristics that match their instruments, there hasn’t been a Monday evening where any of them have seemed bored to be there. If I didn’t know better I’d imagine these guys passing Tuesday through Sunday with anticipation only to come back to Monday where they could happily twiddle their fingers along the silver plated copper strings.
To avoid being scolded by the bar owner whose only reprimand in English is, “shut the hell up” the audience remains silent, nursing their drinks and only applauding after each five minute jam has been wrapped up, or right in the middle after one of the three musicians does something incredible. For instance the upright bass player, heavy-set like the physique of his instrument will move his fingers so quickly with complete control over the heavy strings that one can’t help but applaud like mad after he slows down and gives the other guys the spotlight. Their passion is impressive, and one would assume that good ole’ Django Reinhardt would agree.
Who exactly is this Django Reinhardt you mentioned?
Django Reinhardt’s story is pretty unique. He was born in Belgium to Manouche gypsy parents, spending most of his childhood in Romani-gypsy encampments outside of Paris. From an early age Reinhardt was interested in music, and he was able to make an earning from his self-taught talent by the age of thirteen. At 18, he lived through a fire that could have easily given him the excuse to never play again; yet never ceasing he continued to play after two of his fingers were severely burned. Inspired by Louis Armstrong and American jazz, Reinhardt developed a style of playing guitar all his own, jazz manouche-gypsy jazz.
The music is comforting and charming in that golden-age-of-another-time sort of sense. I don’t go every Monday evening, but when I find myself a bit fatigue of big-city discouragements I head across over to the left bank, and let Le Piano Vache charm me with its enthused jazz manouche.


1 comment:

Anonymous said...

There's a special on Netflix about this genious guitar player from long ago.....! Must see....