Benoit Viellefon is one of the last "old fashion" band leaders keeping the craft alive in Europe today, backed by an all star cast of the UK's finest swing musicians. Here is his story.
Whether it be as a lifelong student of the glorious gypsy guitar musings of Django Reinhardt or as a crew member and specialist mechanic on 1930s De Havilland Tiger Moth airplanes, Benoit has always had a penchant for the nostalgic things in life. Like the man himself, Benoit's music is characterized by its distinctive elegance and boundless energy.
Having spent the late 1990s in the US, Benoit returned to London in 1998 to establish his label JohnJohnRecords.com and to work as a first-call session guitarist on many film soundtracks, international Reggae & Roots Music tours and on London's burgeoning vintage cabaret and burlesque scenes.
Having toured extensively in Europe and Japan as lead guitarist with groups such as ska legends The Trojans, Gaz Mayall, Prince Buster, Rico Rodiguez, Vin Gordon (Studio1 & Bob Marley), Louis Alphonso (Bad manners), Nick Welsh (the Selecter), Rhoda Dakar (Special AKA), and Eddie Tantan Thornton (Beatles, Jimi Hendrix, Boney M, Aswad), Benoit decided it was time to step firmly into the limelight as band leader.
Benoit formed his orchestra in 2009 and it was immediately a hit on London's cabaret and vintage speakeasy scene. Since then Benoit and his Orchestra have played all over the UK and Europe to critical acclaim, fulfilling Benoit's vision of a contemporary orchestra who command the dance floor like the master entertainers of the 1920s, ‘30s and ‘40s.
Wether with The Orchestra, The Hot Club or The Trio, Benoit has recorded some well received albums, played many pretigious venues, from residencies at Ronnie Scotts and the Royal ALbert Hall, to Glastonbury Festival, BBC radio3, he also appeared in a good number of Hollywood films, TV productions, and some Immersive theatre shows. He got booked by Madonna, Mr Bean, the Kremlin, the Royal Family and many other celebrities to perform at their private events. He is curently living mostly in the UK, but also in France and Japan.