Paris Combo, French retro-cabaret quintet with a worldly sound, performs at Fairfield University's Quick Center for the Arts


Image: Paris ComboParis Combo, the retro-cabaret quintet with an eclectic musical sound, jazzes up the stage at Fairfield University's Regina A. Quick Center for the Arts, Thursday, April 25 at 8 p.m. Prior to the show, from 6:30 p.m. to 8 p.m., several area restaurants, including the exquisite La Colline Verte of Fairfield, will provide French food for tasting. Hartley & Parker Ltd. Wine Distributors of Stratford will offer a sampling of wines that complement French fare.

Fronted by chanteuse, songwriter and accordionist Belle du Berry, Paris Combo produces a melting pot of music that celebrates the rich diversity of past and present Paris. The band offers a jazzy twist on the chanson tradition; its music has been described as a meeting of Latin, Mediterranean, gypsy, swing, North African and flamenco rhythms. The group is sometimes compared to the Squirrel Nut Zippers, and Billboard magazine has called Paris Combo "the hottest cabaret act to come out of the City of Lights in a long time."

Paris Combo formed in 1995 and released an acclaimed self-titled album in 1997. A third album, "Attraction," is due out April 16, and the band embarks April 23 on a 12-city North American tour, with Fairfield University as its second stop.

Paris Combo's diverse sound is reflected in its musicians, who hail from the world over. Francois-Francois (drums/percussion/xylophone) comes from France, as does du Belle, who likes to explore diverse musical worlds from post-punk to dada to dance songs from the '20s, '30s and '40s. David Lewis (piano/trumpet) is Australian, and self-taught guitarist Potzi has a Mediterranean background. Finally, Mano Razanajato (contra bass/guitar/percussion), adds dashes of influence from Madagascar, Brazil, Cuba and Jamaica. Paris Combo favors the sound of traditional instruments, eschewing synthesizers and other sound-altering devices. The result is a classic acoustic sound with a modern edge.

The Paris Combo concert is part of the Quick Center's "A French Showcase: Evolving Arts," an eight-week celebration of the contributions the French have made to the worlds of arts and letters, sponsored in part by Fairfield University's Humanities Institute and the Connecticut Commission on the Arts. Tickets are $20, with discounts available for seniors, students and groups.

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Media Contact: Nancy Habetz, (203) 254-4000, ext. 2647, nhabetz@fairfield.edu

Posted on March 23, 2002

Vol. 34, No. 193