Django Reinhardt was a European guitarist who played in America during the Great Depression. Impress
Django Reinhardt was a European guitarist who played in America during the Great Depression. Impressed with musicians like Louis Armstrong, Reinhardt created a style of playing that has since been known as Gypsy jazz. Could Gypsy jazz have helped turn the economy around in the 1930s?
“It’s a known musical style,” says Carrie, guitarist and singer for Caravan of Thieves. “And it’s used to describe what we do. The free aspect of music.”
“Nowadays the term Gypsy has become less P.C.,” adds her husband, Fuzz, the other half to the guitar playing and singing. “But it’s what we do. We travel around a lot, as a band, and entertain. So in that aspect, I suppose you could call us gypsies.”
“But it’s more about the energy,” Carrie says. “The free-spiritedness of music.”
They bring entertainment to communities nationally.
“It gets funny,” says Fuzz. “Everyone laughs, and then we’ll get serious and very intense. We try to make the show dynamic in a variety of ways. Loud to soft, serious to lighthearted, different instruments and different configurations of those instruments.”
And the instruments are far from traditional. For example, Caravan of Thieves created their own percussion using garbage cans, buckets, and pots and pans. Fancy drum sets aren’t needed.
“We started [Caravan of Thieves] about seven years ago,” Fuzz explains. “Carrie and I have been married for ten years now, and we’ve had an acoustic duo longer than that. One day we were playing on a college campus, and Ben was playing in another band, and that’s how we met. He plays violin and we incorporated him into a trio, then we met Brian and he joined, playing a standup bass. Within a month or two we were performing and have been ever since.”
Carrie also says it’s been a wonderful experience.
Unlike many concerts, this one also incorporates the audience.
“We play on and off stage,” Fuzz explains. “We get the audience to gather around, clap, and help with the percussion.”
“We’ve added some visual and theatrical elements to the show,” Carrie says. “We dress up and get the audience involved, there are sing-alongs. The venues we’ve played are a wide range, but it’s partially seated, partially standing so people can enjoy it both ways— listen and watch or move around a little bit. We do a lot of festivals.”
This time they’re playing at the Varsity Center for the Arts, where they played during the CarbondaleRocks Revival festival in 2013.
“We’re looking forward to returning to Carbondale,” Fuzz says. “We’ve played there a couple times before, at various festivals, and the [Varsity]. It’s a lot of fun.”
“We’re about to release our fourth album [Kiss Kiss],” Carrie says, “so this is, sort of, the tour for it. We’re going to do some things that we haven’t done before.”
There promises to be something for everyone.
“We’ve had a lot of experiences, seen a lot of different types of people, been to a lot of places,” Fuzz says. “Our music comes from everywhere. Life in general. It often doesn’t come from our real lives, literally. It’s not about us; it’s fiction.”
Fiction can stretch as far as imagination.
“Carrie and I take turns telling stories,” Fuzz says. “There’s a lot of back and forth. It always starts with a concept that we’ll flush out, and find a way to tell it as colorful as possible.”
Check out their videos for “Dead Wrong,” “Home,” and “There Must Be Love,” among others, on Youtube for a preview of what’s to come.
Doors open at 7 p.m. Tickets are $20, which is a small token for an evening of singing and dancing. Plus, we’re getting out of our own Depression (or, really, recession)— let’s go out and have some fun. For tickets, visit <http://CarbondaleMusicCoalition.com>. For more information, log on to <http://www.CaravanOfThieves.com>.
who: Carbondale Music Coalition
what: Caravan of Thieves (Gypsy jazz)
where: Varsity Center for the Arts
when: Saturday, March 21