How many bands do you know that play a blend of Louisianan French migrant music and punky, lo-fi rock n’ roll? They may hale from the shores of Lake Geneva in Switzerland, but Mama Rosin have found success marrying garage rock with traditional Cajun music — the unique genre French settlers formed in the deep-south of the US.
I originally saw them open for the successful English folk band Bellowhead last November – it was evident none of the audience had ever heard of them, but their thirty minute set managed to win over the eclectic demographic that make ups Bellowhead’s fan base with apparent ease.
This time however, the gig had a very different form. The Glee Club is a comedy venue, the ‘stage’ is just a small section of the floor and the audience were arrayed around it on funky plastic chairs. It was all very ‘underground’; I should have uploaded a sepia photo to Instagram really. There were less than forty of us attending, but Mama Rosin didn’t seem bothered – they played with as much enthusiasm and pleasure as they would for a packed festival audience. Most of their songs were in French and their thickly accented English made their between song chatter a little difficult to follow, but the intimate jam-session atmosphere proved irresistible. A steady procession of instruments helped keep things interesting, and the audience remained generous and upbeat throughout.
The accordion driven songs kept up a brisk pace and by the second half of the set many individuals had jettisoned their seats and were dancing (badly) in the wings. Mama Rosin were charming, had awesome hair, and were wonderfully unique. If you get the chance, go and watch them play, I doubt you’ve heard anyone quite like them.
I managed to grab a few words with the accordion playing Cyril Yeterian after the gig.
How are you finding the UK?
We love the UK, it’s one of the best places to play in the world. We haven’t played in every country in the world, but Britain has some of the best crowds you can have. In France, often people aren’t particularly interested, but here people are interested and curious. Britain has a musical heritage with loads of influences which means that people are willing to listen to us.
So where does the sound come from? How do you end up playing this?
So we all sat around in a laboratory for a while.
I thought so yeah,
We were listening to music from all over the place. Especially the south of the US – Louisiana, Alabama, Mississippi. Then we took that and we mixed it with some good old rock n’ roll from here.
I saw you guys playing with Bellowhead last November, how was that?
So we played for them for a whole tour and it was great. We only had 30 minutes and we were playing for 1000s of people, so we asked them “do we have to play quiet or loud?” and they said “play whatever you want!” We liked them and all the crowds seem to really like us, it was really good.
Out of interest, how much beer do they drink?
It depends on who… but it is usually quite a lot! Like you English generally really.
Have you played in the United States yet?
Well we went before we were Mama Rosin; we just played in small bars and stuff. Then we got invited to Louisiana, we had a good time there and got invited up on a big stage to play. They were all really proud that young Europeans were playing their music. Now we’re going in April, a US label wants to release our new album.