French music and entertainment in Sydney

French style music is one of the unique features of Viva the band, managed by A Band For All Occasions. Viva the band perform a selection of popular French songs and tunes as well as Spanish, Gypsy jazz, Latin, salsa and American swing and jazz music. Their “French” music includes American swing and jazz music that was performed in Paris by Sidney Bechet, Josephine Baker and the legendary “Hot Club of France” led by Stephane Grapelli and Django Reinhardt. Many other American & British musicians also helped popularize jazz and swing music in Paris and throughout Europe.

The “French” style music is played with instruments such as: musette accordion, jazz violin and soprano saxophone, these instruments are the most responsible for providing the distinctive “French” flavour to most types of tunes including American swing and jazz music played in Paris. Another distinctive feature of French music is the even “pulse” of the rhythm provided by acoustic guitar/s.

The musette accordion has special tunings of its reeds and is commonly accepted as the major instrument of Paris, The styles of music, often in waltz time in minor keys and the fact that jazz and swing music is also performed sets the French musette accordion apart from most other uses of the instrument. Italy was originally the home of the accordion, and it was used primarily to perform traditional music, folk music and classic music throughout Europe.

The French exported their music to other parts of the world including New Orleans where the accordion is popularized in performances of Zydeco and Cajun music.

Viva the band has as their leading instruments: musette accordion, jazz violin (trio & quintet) bass and Spanish guitar. Percussion (provided by the vocalists) completes the rhythm section. Congas are used primarily for Latin and salsa music, the sextet has the addition of drums.

Viva the band have taken their French style music to Asia, The band performed in Taiwan in August 2004 where they were showcased over a two week period in street parades, a welcome by the mayor of Tainan and a series of live concerts and television performances. Viva the band will be returning to Taiwan in July 2005 for a month of performances at the Kenting song Festival.

Other recent “French” themed performances by Viva the band include : “Moulin Rouge” function at Tumbalong Ballroom, The Summit Restaurant, “A Night in Paris” at the18th Yalumba Jazz Festival at Thredbo, “A Night in the French Quarter” at the master builders club, Wollongong, promotion for “Les Genies de la Mer- Masterpieces of French Naval Sculpture” at the Australian Maritime Museum, “A French” themed function at Kiama Jazz club, a multicultural PAN event at Sydney Royal Easter Show, showcasing world music, including French music, the Miss World ball at the Four Points by Sheraton, Darling Harbour, weddings at Villa Provence, wine promotions in the Hunter Valley and the Manly Food and wine festival.

Viva the band are popular at jazz festivals and major music events, primarily because of their “French” style approach to jazz and swing music. The band has performed at: Manly International Jazz Festival, Newcastle Jazz Festival, Morpeth Jazz Festival, Kiama Jazz Festival, Illawarra Jazz Festival, Central Coast Jazz Leagues, Gold Coast Jazz Festival, Thredbo Jazz Festival, Sydney City Jazz at the QVB, Sydney Olympic Park, Darling Harbour and “Jazz in the City” for the QVB jazz festival.

Viva the band are also very popular at functions, parties and special events , delighting their audiences with their unique and varied styles of music presented in an entertaining cabaret style.

The members of Viva the band (quartet) are Peter Rappolt (guitar) Marie Rappolt (accordion and bass) Gerri Santos (vocals and percussion) Jose Santos (vocals, bass and congas). The Sextet includes Morris David (jazz violin) and Griff Beale (drums).

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