Belting out good tunes

Belting out good tunes

Gypsy jazz

Belting out good tunes

Formed in 2001, ‘Beltuner’ is a French gypsy jazz band that incorporates the sounds of the accordion, guitar, percussions and double bass to create beautiful music.

The 4 Parisian artistes — Pascal Muller, Rene Sopa, Mickaël Correia and Nicholas Pautras — bring together some solid gypsy rhythms and sensitive melodies with an almost transcendent stage presence to narrate personal inspirations.

In a chat with Ananya Revanna, Nicholas Pautras, who plays the double bass, talks about how some musical notes are more coherent than words and more.  

What brought the 4 of you together?

We were young and had the same musical leanings and wishes.

Do you think gypsy jazz is popular around the world?

Gypsy jazz is a genre of music created by the genius gypsy guitar player Django Reinhardt sometime around the 1930s, mixing influences like gypsy, French and Russian music. Just like Flamenco in Spain or Tango in Argentina, this style is particular to middle Europe but is now played all around the world.  

What are you trying to get across through your music?

I think a few music notes can express more things than words, in a more subtle, intense and truthful way. When we are playing music, we feel like we can express our entire vision of life.

What kind of music did you start with?

I am a self-taught musician, and started playing rock ’n’ roll and punk music when I was 15 years old. After that I never stopped and evolved into many more styles.

What are the top 2 songs on your playlist right now?

‘Minor Swing’ by Django Reinhardt and ‘Indifference’ by Joseph Colombo and Tony Murena, which is a good representation of the French ‘valse-musette’.

A genre of music you wouldn’t go near.

For me, there’s no limit with the genre. The important thing is the context and the way of doing it; every kind of music can touch you at the right moment and in the right place.

A musician who made you go ‘wow!’ within 30 seconds of hearing them.
So many but with musicians like Astor Piazzolla, John Coltrane or Django Reinhardt, 2 seconds were enough.

Biggest blunder you, as a band, have made while playing a gig and how you got past it.
I cannot really remember such an event, but as we always play in a very free way based on improvisation, without any particular code, some funny or unexpected moments occur at every concert.

Does the band have any ritual before going on stage?

Nothing special.

If you could go back in time, what music timeline would you choose to live in?

I would just start music earlier… there are many things in music you can never really assimilate if you don’t do it in your childhood.

Advice to upcoming musicians?

Play, play and play even more.

(‘Beltuner’ will perform on April 22, 9.30 pm, at blueFROG.)

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