The musicians from Les Belles du Swing perform a combination of fast-paced and laidback swing numbers in three-part harmonies with German lyrics. The band have given a contemporary makeover to swing classics from the 20s to the 50s incorporating jazz-style improvisation and their own German lyrics, many of them telling a different story to the original.
On stage Les Belles du Swing like to engage and interact with their audience; their concerts exude their passion for music, featuring cabaret, humour and poetry.
Lightness and joie de vivre are the essence of swing. We take light entertainment seriously and aim to bring out its beauty and depth. The swing groove lilts and flows, generating new and vibrant styles of dance: Dancing to acoustic music is back in vogue.
Swing fever has swept over Berlin in the last few years and we love the fact that it crosses over into so many different scenes.
American swing from the 20s, 30s and 40s is familiar to all, but Europe was also home to a thriving swing movement. We have mainly focused on French swing and jazz played by German Sinti and Roma, known as gypsy swing. During the Third Reich, swing and jazz were classed as “degenerate art” and banned, bringing this cultural development to an abrupt halt.
Our goal is to take up where this movement left off and inject it with elements of chanson, pop and modern jazz, bringing the French-German swing-club tradition into the modern day.
How we work
Each of the musicians in the band takes part in the creative process.
Some write lyrics and arrange songs; all members compose. The two bandleaders develop ideas and concepts and create the framework for all of the band’s musicians to evolve musically and contribute equally.
We place great value on working together as an ensemble. We try out all ideas.
From time to time, we invite choreographers and directors to work with us to develop the theatrical elements of our performances on stage.
Doro Gehr – Bandleader, grand piano, accordion, vocals
For me the grand piano is the most beautiful of all instruments.
It has a very special quality that at times transports me to a whole other level – these are life’s precious moments.
I grew up in a musical family. My father – a church musician – mainly listened to Bach. As a result, the whole family mainly listened to Bach.
But one day I heard “A Night in Tunisia”: My auditory senses were never quite the same after that and I flew the family nest – in spite of my love for Bach.
Although I’d always wanted to make music, I spent a decade as a piano-playing actress in the theatre, moving from place to place.
For a long time I didn’t know which I loved more: music or theatre? I find I’m happiest when music blends into theatre and theatre into music. In 2005, after a lot of musical experimentation and a large variety of theatre and music projects, I started the swing band Les Belles du Swing with Silke Fell. It had always been a dream of mine to work together with other artists, supporting and drawing inspiration from each other and making music together.
I’m very proud of Les Belles du Swing. We never cease to experiment and I’m sure we still have a lot to discover yet.
Silke Fell – Bandleader, guitar, vocals
At the tender age of 14 I bought myself an electric guitar with my first hard earned pocket money. I became the only rock guitarist in the Saar-area.This investment was well worth it. I have since become the owner of a Gypsy guitar, a Flamenco guitar, a Ukulele and a Banjo. I committed myself to an inspiring study of music paid for by my first fees. At last I was able to integrate ideas of the different music styles, and I could live and work as a guitarist. By having my own solo programme and being part of the band “Les Belles du Swing” I have turned my dream into my dream job
Barbara Klehr – vocals
Katja Katsuba – vocals
Maike Scheel – Doublebass