“The accordion is said to be slipping out of sight as a popular instrument.”
—Mike Royko, July 31, 1968
Don’t tell that to Chicago’s Eyes Manouche. Because while Slats Grobnik may be lamenting the accordion’s downfall, the squeezebox is popular as ever with this gypsy jazz quintet, thank you very much.
The lovely accordion stylings make up a fifth of Eyes Manouche’s sound. Two guitars, a bass, and drums make up the rest. But those are just the parts. The whole is a ridiculously fun performance, a night of original music enjoyed equally by the laid-back conversation crowd pining for a soothing background, and front-and-center music lovers on the lookout for any opportunity to dance and clap. More than even their skills as musicians or their wonderful fusing of styles, it is their energy that makes this band such a delight.
You can catch Eyes Manouche every Tuesday night at Chicago’s Xippo Lounge, 3759 N. Damen. And be sure to get there soon, because this talented bunch may be headed to Eastern Europe in the next few months to tour. Check ’em out at eyesmanouche.com and on youtube!
***JUNE 22, 2010 UPDATE***
Congrats to filmmaker Ratko Momcilovic (and to Eyes Manouche) for his award-winning documentary short on the life and music of Manouche musicians Nikola Dokic, Robert Palos, and Adis Sirbubalo! If you have not seen it yet, it’s dynamite: