A collaboration of ex-members from various country-tinged rock outfits, 8 1/2 Souvenirs is the brainchild of Parisian transplant Olivier Giraud. Vocalist/guitarist Giraud and his band create a diverse blend of jazz and swing a gypsy would love. Gleaning the band name from Fredrico Fellini's cinematic orgy 8 1/2 and pre-bop jazz musician Django Reinhardt, Giraud found the right musicians for such a tribute. HAPPY FEET, a re-recording of songs found on the first release, features the four base members, plus female vocalist Chrysta Bell, who became the lead vocalist thanks to her clear, crisp stylings.
The cover tunes on HAPPY FEET dance around everything from Django Reinhardt's "Minor Swing" to Paolo Conte's "Come Di," to Serge Gainsbourg's "Black Trombone." The album sports three original compositions: the gypsy-esque instrumental "Kazango," the feverish cabaret-like "No Lo Visto," and the gospel balladry of "Y La Chalupa Va."