Gypsybilly duo the Vignatis (Fabrice Vignati and Tracy Vignati) formed in L.A. in 2009 with a mission, to “stay true to our respective roots/backgrounds and create music that elevates people’s states of life with positive messages.”
The term “Gypsybilly” comes from their roots: “Being a French native, gypsy jazz/manouche music is a part of the European musical mosaic,” said Fabrice. “My father introduced me to 1950s rockabilly and my brother to rock and blues. When Tracy and I met we came up with Gypsybilly. Our mix of the four genres that comprise Gypsybilly works very well for guitar. We do incorporate a few tricks here and there, for example, the acoustic rhythm guitar implements a technique we call ‘la pompe renversee’.”
Meanwhile, Tracy comes from a jazz background thanks to her singer mom.
“I also grew up half of my childhood in Georgia around country music so it gets into your DNA,” she said. “I sang any country song I could get my hands on. I also played clarinet in marching band and symphonic band in both middle school and high school, which later served to create the Gypsybilly sound, especially when I use guitar effects. Gypsybilly is a melding of the four styles of French gypsy jazz, rockabilly, jazz, and country. It is a pot-o-fun!”
The Vignatis are a true DIY band though not necessarily by choice.
“[DIY] ranges anywhere from creative vision, recording, artwork, distribution, booking gigs, promotion, etc,” they say. “It is certainly not our preference. It seems as though now labels, managers, etc. want things established before they take on anything. It is an enormous undertaking for the default independent artist. However, you do maintain the ever-important, creative control. Sometimes managing everything is too high of a price to pay. Help is welcomed. We need to meet the right label, manager, etc. who can understand what we are doing and establish a solid team. We are far too creative and hard-working to not be on the ‘right’ roster.”
With that work ethic in mind, the group's recently released fifth album, naturally titled Gypsybilly Vol. 5, sees them take on cover songs.
“Covers can help others connect with your music by sharing something they already know while paying tribute to the inspirational greats that came before us. We worked very hard to do justice to these songs in our unique way and hope we have accomplished just that.”
For more, visit thevignatis.com