Living in Paris, songwriter Virginie Lacour-Puiboube followed her sound heart and mind to the streets of London. The vibrant music scene was alluring and she had an “irresistible juvenile desire to form a band in London”.
Over the years she had been a fan of progressive rock, jammed with friends, played guitar with Just Desserts, an all-girl Reggae band, studied Jazz harmony, played in a Serge Gainsbourg tribute all-girl trio but was mainly active on the London Jazz scene in the 90s, alongside bassist Alexander Keen and pianist Gabriel Keen.
Together they formed Piano di Lavoro, a 13-piece experimental jazz group performing in London venues such as the Barbican Foyer, The Bull’s Head (Barnes), former jazz club The Bass Clef.
In 2013, Laughing with The Raindrops, a polymorphous band playing Virginie’s catalogue, was formed. The band’s size varies depending on the venue’s demands. LWTR have played at Toulouse Lautrec Jazz bar (Kennington), Map Cafe (Kentish Town), Kentish Town Arts Club, Babel Art House (Stoke Newington) and various small London bars and restaurants. The self-titled debut album was released in October 2016.
Virginie has devoted the past 2+ years to studying for an MMus in Music performance at London College of Music. During this time she focused on the creation of narratives in song and has now written and arranged a whole new album, which was recorded in lockdown and is now at post-production stage.
During her time at LCM, Virginie started exploring the use of visual art as a combined story-telling device, and composed a collection of songs for a live performance accompanying a 30-minute silent movie, Faded Prints. Inspired by a family photo album spanning over 40 years, it relates, through child play and exchanges between two young girls, the true stories of people during and after the second world war, through to the 1960s and 70s. The film develops in tandem with the songs which have their own narratives of the stories.
Gabriel Keen was classically trained at Dartington College of Arts and London College of Music. He won second prize in the 5th British Contemporary Piano Competition, and has recently recorded works by contemporary composer Brian Inglis for a CD release.
He was resident pianist at Kensington Palace Hotel for three years and plays occasionally at Grosvenor House Hotel. He has played with Hot Orange Big Band, London Swingfonia and Denmark Street Big Band, and is a member of soul band The Fabulations, classic fusion band The Weatherheads, vintage swing band Radio Nights Orchestra, 10-piece jazz band Little Big Horn, the Bee Ororo band, and one of the current line-ups of the 80s pop band, Imagination featuring Errol Kennedy. He is an accompanist for jazz, pop and opera singing classes at the City Lit in London.
Bass player Alex Keen has accompanied Tony Coe, Dick Pearce, Noel McCalla, Jim Mullen, Henry Lowther, Anita Wardell, Alan Barnes, Jimmy Hastings, John Etheridge and Alan Skidmore and has toured the UK extensively with quartets led by Theo Travis – also a member of Laughing With The Raindrops – and Philip Clouts.
Highlights have included backing Eddi Reader (Rowan Atkinson’s wedding), George Shearing, in a masterclass for the South Bank Show, and impromptu performances by James Brown and Tony Hadley.
Alex gigs and records with the Frances Knight Trio, Viper’s Dream, Graham Pike Quartet, Simon Picard Quartet, Sophie Smiles, Maiuko Fi, and The Fabulations.