A Beginners Guide To Electroswing

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Electroswing is probably fashion’s greatest come-around; a modernisation of a genre that never truly died. Jazz and Big Band music has seen a revival in the last ten years with acts such as Amy Winehouse (RIP) and Michael Bublé but it would be a fair analogy that, though the production of new music fell into decline, our appreciation of these genres did not. Whether you realise it or not I would bet that you know the lyrics (or the tune) to at least five classic tracks.* Electroswing is an underground genre that is gaining popularity by capitalising on this revival and inherent familiarity.

Early examples of Electroswing can be heard in Lou Bega’s ‘Mumbo No. 5’ in 1999 (Yeah, remember that one?!) and Mr Scruff’s ‘Get a Move On’ in 2001. The genre once again broke into the mainstream in 2010 with Gramophonedzie and ‘Why Don’t You?’.

But I’m not here to tell you about what you’ve already heard. Largely based in Europe, the current Electroswing movement is still very much in it’s infancy, originating in the mid-00s, around the same time that Parov Stelar, one of the genres pioneering acts, began performing with a full band. Following the success of the Freshly Squeezed Music label’s first Electroswing compilation album White Mink : Black Cotton, the community has thrived, growing in numbers and crossing international borders. It’s not uncommon for fans to travel  to other countries especially for some of the prestigious events, often dressing in 50s style fashion and performing traditional swing and jive dances such as the Lind Hop.

Quite recently, Southampton’s Cafe Parfait, was graced by Dutty Moonshine. I was there, and let me tell you, the atmosphere was electric. There wasn’t a single face that wasn’t adorned with a huge grin. Electroswing seems to do that to people. To quote my flatmate ‘it just makes you want to dance’.

For those of you interested into looking into the genre further some recommended acts are listed below:

Parov Stelar, Dutty Moonshine, The Correspondents, Caravan Palace, Kiwistar, and Southampton’s own Drop Dead Dandies. (Though, admittedly that last one is subject to my own personal bias)

*= Disagree?: ‘New York, New York’ – Frank Sinatra; ‘Sway’ – Dean Martin; ‘Sing, Sing, Sing’ – Benny Goodman; ‘Take Five’ – Dave Brubeck; ‘My Way’ – Frank Sinatra

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