I’m glad I can’t remember exactly who introduced me to swing, because I owe them big time! Swing music has remained popular since its origin in the first part of the 20th century, and owes its inception to the earlier-established genre of jazz.
It seems fitting, therefore, that both genres should be featured back to back at a live performance, as was the case when The Swing Collective and Manouche performed at Blah Blah Bar on Friday 19 August.
Adele Wyngaard, lead vocalist of The Swing Collective and the event’s opening act, lent the perfect amount of soul to the group’s jazzy renditions of popular 21st century songs. They included The Weeknd’s ‘Can’t Feel my Face’, Taylor Swift’s ‘Shake it Off’, Gnarls Barkley’s ‘Crazy’, and Amy Winehouse’s ‘Back to Black’ and ‘Valerie’, to name a few.
The event’s headliners, Manouche, were definitely more energetic, as can be expected from a band that specialises in gypsy jazz. This rollicking genre is recognisable by its use of string instruments, which are ideal in producing sounds reminiscent of gypsy music.
Manouche gets its name from the French term for the genre, ‘jazz manouche’ or ‘manouche jazz’, and is fronted by the charismatic Anneli Thandeka Kamfer. Their line-up consisted of original work, some audience participation, and versions of songs by the ’80s and ’90s Belgian acts Vaya Con Dios and Technotronic.
Blah Blah Bar’s cramped upstairs area was the only disappointing aspect of the evening. There was too little space and too big an audience for it to be a really swinging party. That being said, getting some homegrown variation on both classic and modern musical styles made for a refreshing Friday night out.