The pandemic continues, but local musicians are finding innovative ways to provide live entertainment for their fans.
One of those is gypsy jazz swing band Le Chat Lunatique, whose infectious beats will take over the stage at Macey Center on Saturday, Oct. 3, as part of New Mexico Tech’s Performing Arts Series.
New Mexico Tech’s performing arts center has long been a place where New Mexicans can enjoy a variety musical, theatrical and comedic performances. The Le Chat Lunatique concert will be live-streamed on New Mexico Tech’s Performing Arts Series’ Facebook, YouTube and Twitch channels starting at 7:30 p.m.
Viewers can enjoy the concert for free, but Macey Center will set up a virtual tip jar.
Lead vocalist and violinist Muni Kulasinghe said the pandemic has forced the band to take a hiatus from live performances, although it’s had a few appearances for small, private events. He said this will be the first remote gig the band has ever played, taking the musicians into uncertain territory playing for a live audience that’s not in the same room.
“We horribly miss playing for crowds,” he said. “We miss playing regularly.”
He said a break is always nice for rest but the band is excited to get back to live performances.
“I know I’ve really enjoyed being in the house with my two young children,” he said. “I’m sure all the gents would agree it is fantastic having time to really dad.”
Le Chat Lunatique, French for “The Crazy Cat,” is a four-man band that features Kulasinghe, John Sandlin on guitar, Jared Putnam, also on vocals, and bass, and Fernando Garavito on drums. The band formed in 2005 and has won several local awards.
The group dips into several genres during its shows, including swing, classical, reggae and doo-wop. The musicians call their unique sound “filthy, mangy jazz that makes people want to smoke and drink too much.” Their stage attire is a nod to a bygone era with their zoot suits, leather shoes, hats and curled mustaches.
Their performances feature upbeat, fast-tempoed tunes that make listeners want to swing, stomp and snap their fingers. Crowd favorites include “Hell to Pay,” “Demonic Lovely,” and their unique cover of the classic folk-rock song “House of the Rising Sun.”
Each member of the band is musically trained and well-versed in cultures from around the world, which gives the band musical depth.
“We love to play,” Kulasinghe said. “… As for this particular concert, the Macey Center in Socorro is a beautiful venue that we are honored to play.”