The Baguette Bistro Band was formed by Gudmundur (Gummi) Fridriksson and Ben Hakalitz in 2017.
Ben and Gummi, having been friends for over 20 years, often talked about forming a band together to record and play their own songs and their own version of songs made by others. In mid-2017, they finally got on with it and the Baguette Bistro Band became a reality.
The Baguette Bistro Band is currently in studio recording a series of songs, both by Gummi and cover songs.
The music is intended to be “organic” and easygoing. Each note is less important than the overall feel. Small mistakes are allowed to stay. Hopefully giving a feel of a live Café performance in the late 30s.
I hope you enjoy - at least we are having a blast! - Gummi Fridriksson
While the Baguette Bistro Band is somewhat fluid in terms of band members, the core band members include
Gummi, having taken a business pathway, leading businesses in Europe, China, Australia and Papua New Guinea, was attracted to music from an early age.
The Icelandic radio had a program on Saturdays where relatives of fishermen could send them messages and songs to listen to. This was a time where the family gathered around the radio and listened to Icelandic and international songs.
A decision to move from a listener to a guitar player changed in early 1972. Neil Young released the Harvest album, which included great songs like Harvest and Heart of Gold. Upon hearing this album, Gummi was determined to learn the guitar and the money he earned during that summer holiday was used to buy his first real guitar. A 12 string Hagstrum guitar, which inflicted many blisters on Gummi's fingers and frustration, not only to him, but all those unfortunate enough to hear him battle the equipment.
Around 1977 Gummi became part of an Icelandic folk group Tritiltoppakvartettinn and later had a song (Má ég þig keyra) selected as one of ten songs competing in the Icelandic Song Contest in 1991. In late 2015, Gummi went to learn the basics of Gypsy Jazz from Jonny Hephir in Margate, England that along with his Ukulele passion was the spark needed to get these recordings underway and the Baguette Bistro Band formed.
Ben has extensive musical experience and is a sought-after session drummer and a talented bass player as well. He has toured worldwide with international artists, including Yothu Yindi.
He was a member of the Sanguma band, that was a leading Papua New Guinea musical ensemble between 1977-1985.
Ben leads the Tribe Of Jubal, a group that plays an extraordinary blend of Tribal-cool, etcno-fusion Melanesian funk. Ben has also worked on film soundtracks and stage musicals and supported opening acts for world known artists such as Bon Jovi, Kylie Minogue and Carlos Santana.
Rob is equally at home in all genres of music. He has released a classical CD but also likes to play pop and jazz with a number of groups. As an arranger, Rob has written arrangements for the Sydney International Orchestra, the Adelaide Cabaret Festival and for many international entertainers.
Simon McMenamin is a classically trained violinist who studied at the Qld Conservatorium of Music.
Simon is the director of strings at both CSHS and EHSS and has played on numerous albums that have been produced in Cairns.
Kirk who plays piano and accordion has a long and notable track-record on the Australian music scene. He has been playing an instrument since he was eleven years old, played and toured with Slim Dusty and Kevin 'Bloody' Wilson (Kevin Dennis) for years - and been on stage with, well, almost anyone who dabbled with an instrument in front of an audience in Australia…
Rocco Fazzari is an incredible artist and animator who brings the songs to life with beautiful and somewhat surrealistic animated videos. Rocco is an independent multimedia artist and video producer and graduated from the South Australian School of Art, with a credit in drawing. He has been working as a committed professional artist since graduating in 1981.
He lived and worked in Adelaide and Canberra before settling in Sydney in 1988, and his illustrative work has been published in the Fairfax press for the past 20 years, as well as in Rolling Stone magazine and American Sports Illustrated among many others.
Rocco's animated videos will be released one by one, as we go.