It’s only been a year since she started playing guitar continuously, but there’s something courageous about Mary Alouette when she performs. She’s vulnerable but confident. It’s alluring.
Alouette grew up with music. Musical theater, pop music, opera, film, indie rock – she draws inspiration from the gamete to produce a modern incarnation of Gypsy Jazz. That’s right, Gypsy Jazz. But we’ll let Aloutte describe the genre in her own words.
Aloutte took some time to speak with We Love DC via e-mail about her upcoming EP release show (Wednesday April 25) at Strathmore Mansion, where she is currently an Artist in Residence.
Rachel: What is it about Gypsy Jazz that you love? What reeled you in?
Mary: Gypsy Jazz is attractive in its hot rhythms, beautiful melodies, and freedom of expression. It was started by guitar legend Django Reinhardt in the 1930’s, who was a Belgian gypsy playing mostly in Paris. There is a special instrumentation and style to the music. The predominant feature has two or three guitars – one or two rhythm guitars and a solo guitar. The rhythm guitars provide the “pompe,” the pulse and heartbeat of the genre. The solo guitar can be simultaneously virtuosic, musical, and passionate. It floats on top of the rhythm guitar. The other usual instruments are double bass and violin or clarinet. In my compositions, I find the heart and soul to be the guitar, and the instrumentation is negligible.