Love is crazy, right? But then again, so is much of life right now. Love is in the air especially in mid-February and the next Performing Arts Series (PAS) concert fits the bill with Le Chat Lunatique. The ensemble will play at New Mexico Tech’s Macey Center on Friday, Feb. 11 at 7:30 p.m.
FYI, in case you are a PAS regular and are twitching; yes, this is a change. Big Band on the Rio Grande, scheduled for Saturday, Feb. 12 has had to cancel due to so many quarantines they could not get together to rehearse. PAS Director Ronna Kalish says “We will hopefully get BBGR to Socorro some day!”
Le Chat Lunatique performed a live-stream concert from Macey Center for the Socorro audience and beyond during the fall 2020 season. This time we’ll get to see and dance to the group whose signature sound is billed as “filthy, mangy jazz” in person, and also live-streamed on the NMTPAS Facebook and YouTube channels, for those not ready to go out in public. Reminiscent of speakeasies and zoot suits, they will make you want to smoke and drink too much—if only you could get off the dance floor.
Le Chat Lunatique plays lots of gypsy jazz, plus Western swing, doo-wop, classical, reggae and “anything else we damn well please,” making their music into strikingly original compositions and audaciously reworked standards alike. Watching their videos, one might just be transported back to that time when life seemed easy and it was especially fun to be just a bit naughty.
Over the years, they have found an enthusiastic audience in Albuquerque’s jazz scene and around the state.
Muni Kulasinghe, violin, is a native of Albuquerque who split his time as a youth between New Mexico and Sri Lanka. He began studying violin at the age of 7. He played with the Bowed Piano Ensemble during a tour of Western Europe, which included an evening on the same bill with Herbie Hancock. He also was involved in theater, creating and performing in New York City and Philadelphia, Pa. Currently, in addition to Le Chat Lunatique, Muni teaches Elements of Improv at UNM, manages the Noon Concert Series for the Arts-in-Medicine program at UNMH, and happily does theater with friends when they ask.
John Sandlin, guitar, has played with several local groups over the years, including The Sandlin and Starr Jazz Duo which has opened for many acts in the Popejoy Lobby, including, Al Dimeola and Manuel Barueco, The Benny Goodman Orchestra, and others. John received his musical degree through the University of New Mexico, studying under a former student of Andres Segovia and Michael Anthony, 25-year Los Angeles studio veteran and local jazz hero.
Jared Putnam, bass, at one time listened only to death metal. Also a widely traveled individual, Jared studied music at UNM. He has played with Hector Pimentel, Syd Masters and Lynn Anderson. Active in making music videos, you may also see him working at La Montañita Co-op in Duke City.
Greg Williams is Le Chat’s current drummer. A mysterious guy, all we know is that he is mean, children are afraid of him and he eats fruit, go figure.
As a group, Le Chat Lunatique has won numerous awards. They have opened for numerous national acts including The Dirty Dozen Brass Band, Asleep at the Wheel and The Hot Club of San Francisco.
Just a skip through Le Chat Lunatique’s website gives you a view into their fun and funky music styles. This concert is just in time for a little romance, craziness, and feeling like you’re really getting away with some mischief, without really doing so.
Tickets are $15 for adults, $12 for seniors, $5 for youth and are available online and at the door. Tickets are free to NM Tech students.
This performance is locally sponsored by Jim & Penny Lommen, the Anne Sullivan Bronze Memorial, Socorro Insurance Mart and the NMT Student Government Association.
Please follow Covid protocols: Masks required, K95 or N95 is best; self assess for Covid symptoms; stay home if you feel sick and watch the live stream. Please note, as mentioned earlier, this show takes the place of Big Band on the Rio Grande, Saturday, Feb. 12. If you have a ticket for that show it will be honored for Le Chat Lunatique on Friday, Feb. 11.
For more information about this show or the PAS season, call 575-835-5688, email [email protected] or visit their website at nmt.edu/pas.