Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Local music scene: Dancing with Dgiin

Imagine Dire Strait’s Mark Knoffler’s deep, rasping vocals overlaying a colorful tapestry of eclectic musical influences interwoven with dense patterns of lilting reggae, funk & Cajun guitar grooves; propulsive world-music bass & drum rhythms; & accented with a bright shimmering thread of effervescent Dixie-land tenor sax, & you’ll have some idea of what Sonoma County’s up-and-coming sensation, Dgiin (pronounced like “gin”), sounds like. My friend even noticed that a couple of songs vaguely reminded her of a klesmer ensemble she had heard recently.

Dgiin winningly describes their music as “French Gypsy Funk,” which seems to be fairly apt. Gabe, the lead singer/guitarist grew up in France, where the music scene is richly influenced by its former colonies in North & West Africa. The core band also consists of Jimmy “the Inch” (I REALLY don’t want to know where that nickname came from … any relation to Hedwig?) on Sax; Chrisdgiin Le Dieph (the only one with a last name) on bass; & Paget on drums. Their sound is also enhanced by a revolving ensemble of musical guests (when we saw them, they had a talented Bongo player with them).

My husband, daughter & I saw Dgiin at the Rio Nido Roadhouse last Saturday (May 10th), because we’d heard good things about them & also because their gig started at the uncommonly early hour of 6pm (yeah, we’re boring breeders & we really don’t get out much). For the very reasonable cover charge of $5.00 & the price of a yummy & inexpensive dinner & a couple of drinks (luckily, we live within walking distance), we all had a fabulous evening.

The place was jam-packed, but it didn’t feel crowded because Dgiin played on an outdoor stage, the temperature was mild, & there was plenty of seating. Not that many people were actually sitting down – they were too busy dancing. Several other families had also brought their kids, who happily ran around, danced, & played in the entirely safe, visible & enclosed outdoor space while the adults dined, chatted & enjoyed the music. The only drawback: We stayed out till the unheard-of hour of 10pm & woke up too late to make it to church the next day.

Tips for folks with little kids who want to catch Dgiin & other musical acts at the Rio Nido Road House en famille: They don’t charge cover for the kids; Young & picky eaters may not like appreciate the delicious, gourmet pizzas, but you can request a plain one with cheese; Dress the kids in play-clothes because they’ll be running around; bring mosquito repellent; & Bring another layer – it gets cool in the evenings

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