A few days ago I was treated to one of the best evening I ever had in London. My husband booked a dinner at Le Quecumbar Jazz Club in Battersea. The atmosphere was perfectly appropriate for St Valentine’s day, with a lushly decorated room with lots of pink, red and green from the surrounding (fake) plants. Most of all, the Gypsy Jazz band we met that night was so incredibly talented and charming and inspiring and passionate… you get it? We were completely mesmerized by the place AND the musicians…
Today, DOYOUSPEAKLONDON invits you to discover Le Quecumbar Jazz Club and the Café Manouche jazz band!
Le Quecumbar Gypsy Jazz Club & Brasserie
Le Quecumbar presents itself as the “London’s world premier gypsy swing – jazz manouche restaurant venue”.
It is dedicated to Gypsy Jazz and Django Reinhardt music in particular, and was our new experience in a London Jazz Club and I CLEARLY would come back every day if I could!
Le Quecumbar welcomes the world’s finest Gypsy Swing musicians to play in this authentic and intimate atmosphere.
As they say, “here, as in 1930’s Paris, Django’s innovative, joyous hot club music is alive, with its wicked swing and hypnotic, pumping rhythms”. You could surely feel these vibes when listening to the concert that night!
Le Quecumbar was born in February 2003, deliberately coinciding with and commemorating the 50th Anniversary of Django Reinhardt’s death (1910-1953). This was Sylvia Rushbrooke’s dream to create a venue “to be a continuation and celebration of the legacy left by this Gypsy swing guitar genius”.
Le Quecumbar offers an “ambiance of Parisian chic”, serves food and wine (and cocktails), so that clients happily relax and feel transported to another time and place… What better evening could we dream of?
That evening, we met vocalist Natalia Amy and her Jazz band Café Manouche and could only be charmed and impressed by their complicity, talent and dynamic on stage. Natalia’s perpetual smile and stunning voice are irresistible! The musicians were incredibly talented and we had a blast listening to them on this special day. To top it off, I have to say they are all very friendly, very approachable and so incredibly humble!
Café Manouche are a young Gypsy jazz & swing band formed in 2013 by three brothers: Matt Kerry (guitar), Jonny Kerry (Accordion) and Christian Hamblin (Double bass), after having performed together in other Gypsy jazz venues.
Café Manouche “fuse the traditional Gypsy Jazz sound (inherited from gypsy jazz guitar legend Django Reinhardt) with fresh swinging vocals, bringing new life to old jazz standards and more”.
Regarding their band name, Matt’s brother, accordionist Johnny Kerry came up with the name Café Manouche to convey the style of music but also the atmosphere. “Manouche” is the French name for Sinti Gypsy people (of which Django Reinhard was) and “Café” was chosen to “convey the style/atmosphere of the music, French- Café style music”.
The band is currently full of projects including “working towards new arrangements of great jazz standards and also looking to writing new, original material”, as well as “performing at more venues across the UK and tour”.
Something I would be so excited to see happening in a near future!
We thoroughly enjoyed the Café Manouche concert on St Valentine’s day. We could not imagine a better experience of joyful jazz vibes and feel more passion about the gipsy music than with this band. We are now following Café Manouche on their FB page and we’ll be more than happy to meet again!
St Valentine’s day at Le Quecumbar
That evening was quite special and I was seduced by the venue at the first glance. I just loved the Quecumbar’s interior decoration, designed with plenty of warm colors, several vintage objects scattered everywhere and pictures of Django Reinhardt on the walls to admire. This was the perfect setting for a romantic evening …
The softened lights and small tables created the perfect atmosphere to celebrate St Valentine’s day!
The menu was sadly overpriced as the quality of the food was quite basic (sounds like the usual downside of marketing events such as St Valentine’s, right?). The staff were nice but unfortunately service was slow (by a lack of staff that night) and we ended up sipping our cocktails between the starters and our mains …
Anyway, our Espresso and Chocolate Martinis were excellent, as was our mood that night due to the cheerful atmosphere and lovely music. One has to choose its own priorities, right?
So, no hard feelings, this is still a place we highly recommend to all gipsy jazz lovers!
I hope you’ve enjoyed this post and found inspiration here. If you are planning to go to Le Quecumbar or attend a gig by Café Manouche, please share your experience and opinion on DOYOUSPEAKLONDON’s blog!
Thanks a lot to Café Manouche and Matthew Kerry in particular for being so reactive and available to answer the questions I had about the band history and projects. I wish you all the success you deserve! Can’t wait to see you soon!
To go further:
Le Quecumbar & Brasserie: 42-44 Battersea High Street, London SW11 3HX
Café Manouche Gypsy jazz & swing band website
Café Manouche next public performance is Sunday 1st March at The Spice of Life.
Other performances at 2 Gypsy jazz festivals coming up, one on March 25th at Toulouse Lautrec Jazz Club, and the other on 12th May for The London Gypsy jazz festival at Folklore.
Café Manouche often plays at Le Quecumbar and in various other bar/venues/hotels across London.
Stay tuned on Café Manouche Facebook page.