Hope you enjoy this interview I did with talented Tasmanian Gypsy band Geurilla Zingari late last year.
How did you guys find each other?
I came down from Queensland to study a songwriting course and Sarah, the other songwriter for the band was studying the same course. We loved each others work heaps, so started jamming. We found our music blended nicely and our voices harmonized really well together. I then met Dave Elliston; the Accordion player. I saw him busking at Salamanca market one day. I thought, ‘I’ve always loved the Accordion. I think I’d love to have that sound, so I left a little note in his change case. Then I had a friend who had a mate Pascal Chartrain, who played the Harmonica, so we got him along for a jam and Sarah found the double bass player Isaac Gee at uni. He was a fantastic guy. They’re all really fantastic. Then after a while Sarah also found Emily Wolfe, the violin player.
Describe the catalyst for your current sound ?
Sarah and I really love Gypsie, Reggae, Jazz, Folk and Blues. Then the whole band brings extra flavours of themselves, so when we bring songs to the band they just bring them to life. We cross a lot of genres in that way. We’ve got songs about heartbreak, cynicism, seasons…We’ve nearly got the next album written which will be due out next year. That’s got a lot of Latin influences.
Tasmania isn’t multicultural. What has been the reaction to your music?
Oh, they loved it straight away. We’ve had a dedicated fan base down here pretty much from when we first started. We have fans who show up to every gig. We’ve been playing a lot of shows at the Salamanca Arts centre, which is a community initiative they’ve got going. There’s a show there every Friday night throughout the year. They get different bands to come and play four weeks in a row. I think we ended up doing about eight or nine shows there this year. The demographic there is so wide. Everyone from young children to ninety year-olds. Everyone comes down and enjoys it and has a dance, so that’s probably our best test of reaction from the Tasmanian local community. Tasmania’s really coming up with a new sort of cultural movement.
You say you create your own venues. What do you mean by this?
Well, we love to pop up every so often in strange places. We do a lot of busking, and we like popping into venues and if they haven’t got any music we start playing. We pop up in parks, cafes, wine bars and places like that.
So they don’t mind you just walking in and asking if you can play?
Generally not. I mean sometimes they aren’t so keen, but generally they like it and enjoy it.
Any amusing anecdotes?
I guess our name is the first thing that comes to mind. Guerilla Zingari. If you just say it without people being able to read it, you get all sorts of errors made. ‘Guerilla’s and Gary. Guerilla’s In Curry. That’s probably our most frequent anecdote.