We made a new record!!
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 6:30-8:30! Check their website for updates: https://www.cboys.com/
Kathy Benayoun - vox, kazoo & percussion
Olivier Giraud - vox & guitar
Dan Walton - piano & accordion
Todd Wulfmeyer - contrabass
Robb Kidd - drums
"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
Guitarist Olivier Giraud feels a kinship with Gypsies, and it's no wonder: In 1989, the native Parisian moved all the way to Austin, Texas, after dropping in on some expatriate friends there the previous year. "I had no idea what Austin was when I first came. I was actually just looking for parts for my car, a '54 Olds Rocket 88, which had been destroyed in the back by an 18-wheeler. I was blown away by Austin and I decided to stay." A few years after settling there, Giraud formed a musical bridge between the land of his birth and his adopted town and 8 1/2 Souvenirs was born. His obsession with old French and Italian films combined with his love of D'Jango still directs the vibe of the music.
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 wrangled 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.