Le p'tit bal perdu

30's French old-fashioned Musette

Chanson, waltz, java, tango, swing, paso, march, tipico

The "Balajo" Ballroom, Paris, 1930

Straight out of a speakeasy in Paris’ Bastille quarter, this neo-retro ball will transport you back to relive the golden age of Parisian Musette*(1) - the 1930s. Using an instrumental formation typical to this style (accordion, double bass, banjo/guitar and jâse - an ancestor of the drums), the musicians bring you a line-up of javas, waltzes, toupies, tangos, swings and rhumbas for a rascals' ball which also leaves ample room for songs from the réaliste*(2) repertoire by Frehel, Damia, Piaf and Berthe, performed here by the vivacious singer Wildcat Sacha. Dive into Paris' hidden underbelly and dance with these rogues - the start, perhaps, of a great love affair!

*(1) 'Musette' is a typical style of french music and dance which first became popular in the 1880's. The accordion is the emblematic instrument of it, but after the swing years of the 1930's-40's, the gypsy-jazz stye guitar is closely linked to its history.
*(2) 'Chanson Réaliste' refers to a style of music which dealt primarily with the lives of Paris' poor and working class


The Musette balls of the 1930s embody an image that we might refer to today as ‘underground’, a real den for tough guys. This was a place where the upper-middle-class ‘bourgeois’ came to slum it and rub shoulders with the ‘riff-raff’: thugs of all stripes, pimps and young rogues: cocked hat, tank top and cigarette butt between the teeth. Just as with the milongas for the tango and the smoky bars for rébétiko, this kind of venue was controversial and was equally associated with the place that women came to do a different kind of business...

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