At The Movies
8 1/2 Souvenirs reunited in 2014, after a 20-year break. Depending on the COVID-19 risk level, we hold our Tuesday residency at C-Boy's Heart & Soul in Austin, TX from 6:30-9:00! Check their website for updates: https://www.cboys.com/
Kathy Benayoun - vox, kazoo & percussion
Olivier Giraud - vox, guitar, analog synth
Dan Walton - piano, accordion, B3 organ, analog syth
Todd Wulfmeyer - contrabass
Robb Kidd - drums, percussion
"Formed in earnest in 1994 by French-born guitarist and singer Olivier Giraud, then buttressed by Glover Gill'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
Meet The Band!
Guitar, Vocals, Writer, Composer
After making a trip to the US and visiting some French expatriate Austinite friends in 1988, native Parisian guitarist Olivier Giraud decided to move to Austin. He formed his first Austin band, the
rockabilly fueled 47 Indians with Lisa Pankratz (drums), Kevin Smith (bass) and Brent Gorrell (vocals). But Olivier had also become an avid listener of Django Reinhardt. These influences combined with an obsession with post war Franco-Italian cinema inspired him to start the 8 1/2 Souvenirs project with singer and good friend Tony Brussat (of the Jazz Pharaohs) early in 1993.Later that year, he was joined by Todd Wulfmeyer (bass) and Adam Berlin (drums).
8 1/2 Souvenirs had their first official show at Flipnotics (ATX) in late 1993, then started a weekly residency at the Continental Club (ATX). After Tony Brussat moved away from Austin the following year, Glover Gill (piano) followed by Kathy Kiser (vocals) joined the band. A few years later, Olivier became part of the first incarnation of Austin’s own Asylum Street Spankers; toured coast to coast with 8 1/2 Souvenirs and alongside Brian Setzer and his Orchestra; and formed the bands Paris49 and Continental Graffiti. Olivier Giraud has been a steadily working musician in Austin, TX for over 30 years.
Kathy Benayoun (née Kiser)
Vocals, Kazoo, Percussion
Kathy became the first female singer the band had when she and Glover Gill joined the group in 1994. They skyrocketed to local success and recorded "Happy Feet" live at The Continental Club with her in 1995. She then got married and wisked away to The Keys where she began her family.
Thanks to the musical gods, in 2014 she helped wrangle the original band back together. They have been performing ever since.
Oh, yeah, "At The Movies" is her FIRST studio album!
All Things Keys (Piano, Accordion, B3, Synth)
Dan is the newest member of the band, joining in 2019. He is a jazz pianist based in Austin Texas. Originally hailing from the San Francisco bay area, his music draws from a variety of influences--from boogie woogie, to stride, bebop, and classical music.
He has also worked quite a bit in the western swing genre, and has recorded/performed with a variety of interesting people in the music industry, including (in no particular order) Dale Watson, Willie Nelson, Asleep at the Wheel, Lyle Lovett, Jerry Jeff Walker, Pat Green, Johnny Bush, Paul Shaffer, Elizabeth Cook, Buddy Miller, Vince Gill, The Time Jumpers, Robert Earl Keen, George Strait, Nitty Gritty Dirt Band, Rhonda Vincent, Garrison Keillor, Leon Rausch and Elvin Bishop to name a few. Dan enjoys working in a great variety of musical genres.His work as a musician has taken him all over the world, and he enjoys music and art of all sorts from many cultures and in many countries. He's a perfect fit for our band and we are so lucky to have him!!
Todd is an original member of the band. He brought his Rockabilly Swing to Austin from Denver where he played with the Jinns. He plays upright bass with us, but he also has guitar skills. Todd has played with Marti Brom, High Noon, The Modern Don Juan's, just to name a few.
To say who Robb Kidd doesn't play drums with would be much easier than listing the awe-inspiring bands that he does! We are blessed to get to share him.
Robb is definitely considered 'one of the originals,' having taken over drumming duties halfway through the band's heyday.