A musical confluence of European cafe society, Hot Club, swing, and jazz!
“Formed in earnest in 1994 by French-born guitarist and singer Olivier Giraud, then buttressed by Glover Gil’s piano and accordion skills, 8½ Souvenirs came to local acclaim with happy hours at venerable South Congress speakeasy the Continental Club. A musical confluence of European cafe society and rockabilly, slacker, and jazz fans – the quintet saw the venue’s record label release its debut Happy Feet in 1995.
Heavily influenced by both jazz guitarist Django Reinhardt (“Souvenirs”) and Nino Rota, composer of Federico Fellini’s film 8½, the group featured a succession of female vocalists (Kathy Kiser (Benayoun), Julianna Sheffield, and Chrysta Bell) singing in English, French, and Italian, Giraud sharing lead mic duties.
Presaging the 1990s swing and lounge craze, 8½ Souvenirs released Souvonica in 1997 and landed RCA/BMG to put out their third disc, Twisted Desire, in 1999. The group evaporated around the new millennium, but 8½ Souvenirs will always enjoy a firm place in Austin music history.” – David Lynch