Saturday, August 2, 2014

VIDEO REVIEW: Mahjun & Giroux play "Shake it Babe". Dunkerque Guitar Picking Festival

Jean-Louis Mahjun, “born” as violinist, but later evolved as mandolinist, and Alain Giroux, guitarist and singer, who became blues professional after a fruitful career as commercial performer.

VIDEO REVIEWS by Patrick Van Denhove for

I had the opportunity to see their last show on stage in the small town Romans-sur-Isère in southern France. That day there were other festival concerts going on in town, drying up the potential listeners…plus a misunderstanding about a jam session with the others, who did not show up ; at the end they played in front of about 15 persons ; well no problem, they played as enthusiastically as ever.

They met in a Parisian club, and call their meeting a “close encounter of the blues kind”. Characteristics: swinging acrobatics, humor, complicity and virtuosity ! Jean-Louis Mahjun ( which sounds a bit like Cajun, right ? ) plays since an early age. Deeply impressed by Jimi Hendrix and Frank Zappa, he formed his own band in the seventies and toured intensively...

His partner, Alain Giroux, is a picking specialist; industrials would call this productivity: the thumb does the job of the bass, and the other fingers remain free for the melody.

But the magic appears when they are together. Humor is present all along the set and they act a bit as the white-faced clown versus the Auguste clown, with Mahjun as Auguste, always pulling the laughs towards him, but without ever loosing the musicality.

The repertoire contains some classics rags like St James Infirmary, Sweet Georgia Brown, and John Lee Hooker’s Shake it Babe

 It contains a good example of Mahjun’s skills on an electrified mandolin, with the instrument sounding just like a Stratocaster; the solo contains a detour along more celtic tunes and other humoristic add-ons.
Here is another video taken at a set for the Spanish TV

Composition “Switchman blues”, a very classical country oriented tune, where we have Giroux picking, and Mahjun at the violin, but alternatively played with the bow, then in pizzicato, and then with the guitar plectrum.

Hope you like it; other videos, with more crazy virtuosity, are available on Youtube! The only sad point: no video in HD available !

VIDEO REVIEWS by Patrick Van Denhove for