For a good time, take France’s early swing jazz scene, add in some killer bass beats, and crank the devil-may-care rebellion up about ten notches. You’ll end up with “Don’t Give a Damn”, the new space-age swing from France-based duo Ginkgoa. Pulled from the group’s brand new EP, One Time, the song and its accompanying video extol the virtues of breaking free. The band describes the track as “an ode to dancing your cares away and releasing inner craziness”, and the song delivers with vintage style and modern dance rhythms that come together for bar after bar of ecstatic release.
Along with its sense of hedonistic fun, “Don’t Give a Damn” has a grit to it grounded in Ginkgoa’s collective attitude of resistance and self-determination. Vocalist Nicolle Rochelle made headlines earlier this year for a topless protest of Bill Cosby, and Ginkgoa’s music is just another side of that pull-no-punches worldview. Lyrically unapologetic (“If you want pieces of this, my dear man / I’ll tell you frankly, I don’t give a damn”) and bolstered by producer Antoine Chatenet’s skill for merging retro samples and modern trap, the song is bold, and its video, featuring two lead women drinking, smoking, and dancing in the streets of Paris, has a self-possessed sensuality.
The style Ginkgoa calls “Swing Future” is in full, time-blending force on “Don’t Give a Damn”. As with everything Ginkgoa does, this new video puts a fresh face on the spirit of cabaret. “We inspire each other,” says Chatenet about the music of Ginkgoa, “and I think that energy reaches the crowd when everything comes together.
“[I’m] hoping,” adds Rochelle, “the vibe will be felt no matter what language the audience speaks.” Her hopes are well realized; there’s certainly no ambiguity on the jubilant “Don’t Give a Damn”.