Les Yeux Noirs will have you dancing.

Band blends gypsy,
Yiddish music

A possibly unexpected delight of a band is "sneaking" into Hawaii for the start of an interisland tour, starting tomorrow night at the Leeward Community College Theatre.

Les Yeux Noirs is a Paris-based octet whose sound is part gypsy - in particular in the jazz style called manouche - and part Yiddish, in the form of klezmer. The English-translated "The Black Eyes" takes their name from the title of a Russian gypsy tune made famous by the legendary Django Reinhardt in the 1930s.

Because of their common life of exile, a special relationship with music was created between gypsies and Jews.

Led by brother violinists Eric and Olivier Slabiak, the band includes violoncello, accordion, electric guitar, cimbalon (Hungarian dulcimer) and even electronic samples.

Les Yeux Noirs' press release describes their sound as "a song starts slowly, moodily, before the instruments gather, merging new melodies and manic rhythms until the music snaps, losing all control. This combination of traditional and original songs of travel and love, celebrations, and heart-rending laments does more than evoke the blues. It persuades the listener to break free from them and dance."

Tomorrow night's concert starts at 8, with tickets at $22 general and $15 students, seniors and military.

The band continues its tour Tuesday at BYU-Hawaii in Laie, Thursday at the Maui Arts & Cultural Center's Castle Theater, Feb. 18 at the Kahilu Theatre in Kona, and the 19th at the University of Hawaii at Hilo.

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