Monsieur Periné rocks UB Center for the Arts

Gypsy jazz, emotion and quirkiness combined


A fusion of gypsy jazz, Colombian melodies, swing and folk is unheard of, especially in the realm of modern pop music. Bogotá-based band Monsieur Periné perfects this absurd amalgamation of genres, making it simply another day on the job.

Monsieur Periné performed two consecutive shows at the Center for the Arts on Tuesday night in its first-ever Buffalo show. The band, which won the 2015 “Best New Artist” category at the Latin Grammys, is notable for its on-stage quirkiness along with its ability to communicate with the audience.

The band mesmerized fans and newcomers alike with a fresh approach to jazz.

The setup of the performance was notably unusual compared to most concerts held at the CFA. The Mainstage Theatre was transformed into a nightclub with a sea of tables, assorted sweets and a selection of beverages.

Soon after the lights began to dim, bulbs flashed and Monsieur Periné took center stage.

Once the musicians started playing, rich music enveloped the venue and elicited happiness in even the sullenest of people with the band’s quirky and funny approach to music.

Joanna Ostroot, a Williamsville resident, has listened to Monsieur Periné for over a year. The band’s exposure through an NPR Tiny Desk concert quickly drew Ostroot to the unusual style of music.

“Their music is so eclectic,” Ostroot said. “Their eclectic ability stems from how they fuse genres such as gypsy jazz, swing and even folk to create a new yet energetic sound. This is really different than what is heard on the radio today.”

Monsieur Periné is composed of three core members. When performing live, they are an octet. The main group is comprised of Catalina García on vocals, Santiago Prieto on guitar, flute and vocals and Nicolás Junca also on guitar.

Performing with them this past Tuesday was Miguel Guerra on various percussion instruments, Adinda Meertins on the acoustic bass, Darwin Páez on the drums, Jairo Alfonso on both the saxophone and clarinet and Absin Caviedes on both the trombone and bugle.

Monsieur Periné has been noted to have a fairly dedicated and large audience in Colombia. Laura Gutiérrez, a senior art history and chemistry major, noted her family’s reaction once they heard that she had tickets.

“Monsieur Periné attracts a big audience in Colombia,” said Gutiérrez. “My family was equally jealous of me and at the same time incredibly excited for me once they heard that I got tickets to see them perform.”

Monsieur Periné’s music may not be comparable to popular acts of today, but through its live performances it is able provide something for everyone.

The band is powered by the members’ incredible sense of rhythm, groove and celerity. For this reason, even pop music lovers can appreciate them.

The group moved to every note, every beat and every sound changeup, showcasing their true quirkiness to the CFA. They danced on stage perfectly in tune with the music despite the music being technical and requiring a lot of concentration to master.

The dancing was made up of many odd leg and head movements that complemented the music.

Santiago Prieto’s guitar playing is groovy and riff-heavy. He’s capable of incorporating the sounds of Santana, Eric Johnson and Django Reinhardt into his repertoire.

Faces in the audience turned from blank stares to jaw-drops once they experienced Prieto’s contribution to the gypsy jazz game, easily appealing to classic rock fans as well as jazz-heads.

Miguel Guerra’s percussion prowess dominated Tuesday’s show. Every boom and bap of his congas shook the foundation of the CFA and were as precise as they were funky.

Jairo Alfonso is just as clean as Kenny G and just as speedy as John Coltrane during his Giant Steps era on the saxophone and clarinet. His chill approach gave the show a relaxed vibe.

Catalina García’s vocals radiated positive energy with poppy undertones.

The band encouraged the audience members to get up on their feet and dance along to the music during their set.

The show quickly turned into an all-out dance fest.

Even those all on their lonesome got out of their seats and clapped their hands, bobbed their heads, moved their arms, kicked their legs and sang along to the music.

This performance had earned many new fans such as Jacob Caldwell, a senior biomedical engineering major.

“Their synergy is incredible,” Caldwell said. “The instruments combined with how they interact with the crowd through dance truly says a lot about their character and their passion. I am now going to find everything they have put out and download it.”

García presented Monsieur Periné’s mission statement at the end of the show.

“Music is the one most powerful tools in existence,” García said. “Music can destroy walls, it can destroy all hate, can help us stand up to many injustices and, most of all, music can give us security when we need it the most.”

Monsieur Periné makes the most out of its music by showing true emotion, dance, funky grooves and most importantly, by being able to connect with fans in engaging ways.

Matthew Ian Doyle is a staff writer and can be reached at