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Caravan Palace

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Paris, France (2005 – present)

It all started with a double bass player, a guitarist and a violinist; all highly talented musicians who are really into swing, Django addicts who enjoy tinkering with electro. Their project swayed a singer, a clarinettist, a trombonist who doubles up on percussion and a guitarist who also acts as DJ. With their “Zazou” look (inspired by Parisian paleo-punks from the 1940s), they serve up festive, frantic music, an improbable futuristic and melodious Charleston fit for the dance floor. Caravan Palace is to swing what the Gotan Project is to tango.

It so often starts out like that: a gang of mates who’ve kicked around together for the past ten years and who each get into music off their own bat. In this case, it was Hugues on the violin, Arnaud on guitar and Carlos on the double bass. A shared craze for manouche jazz (gypsy-style jazz), played in its natural setting, bars. Relatively serious composition, with a Zeitgeist twist: DIY electro, house, dub and hip-hop.

What triggered it all was an order placed by a film production company: a soundtrack for silent porn films dating from the beginning of the 20th century! They trotted out all their talents. Our three heroes played the end result to some friendly listeners, the feedback persuaded them to drop their individual projects and come up with a repertory of their own. Because there was no question for them of reworking Django or giving swing a face-lift! If they were going to forge their own path, it had to be something completely fresh.

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