From the moment they gear up to take the stage with their guitars, tambourine, saxophone, and harmonica, till the closing melody of the final song, Jerry and the Bandits (JATB), emit this vibe that is lively and confident.

If you like the sound of The Lumineers, Mumford & Sons (2007), and The Head and the Heart (2011), but desire a little more frisk to your folk, then JATB is your local choice.

They folk things up in their own by fully embracing the genre, but add in their own sass with the use of Kirsten’s smooth saxophone that balances out Jerry’s confident singing. Resulting in something a little more indie, upbeat and sexy.

Jerry and The Bandits performs Ahwoo at Social in Main in Johannesburg.

It started in 2013 when Jerard Quaintmere (Jerry), began as a one-man-band, played the kick-drum and tambourine with his feet, while playing the guitar and singing. Eventually Jerry, like any lone ranger looking to expand his journey beyond his frontier, picked out his bandits and formed JATB. Each added their own unique spice to the band; the bandits are Jason Chadinha (guitar and harmonica), Kirstin Walters (saxophone and clarinet) and Danny Helsing (bass guitar). 

They’ve recently launched their second EP, Fiction in Folktale, and right now their biggest goal is to push it as far as they can through radio and live shows. “For us, playing live shows is the most rewarding part of being in the band. We just want to make others happy through our music and make them feel the passion we feel.” Says Kirstin.

Jerry and the Bandits - Fiction In Folktale

With eyes on the horizon, they are very keen to plan a tour overseas in the next year or two. But before they pack their bags and stamp their passports, three of the members are still completing their studies. Jerry is studying teaching (BEd), Jason is doing a BSc in audio post-production and Kirstin is doing her honors in Music (BMus). Danny is a freelance musician, bassist for The Sextons and has recently started his own improv band ‘Clusterflux’. 

I got in a quick Q&A over a beer or two, and asked Jerry and the Bandits a couple of essential (and very serious) questions:

JL: If you guys were a bowl of fruit – who in the band would be what?

JATB: Jerry would be the bowl. He writes all the songs and without the bowl there is no fruit salad. Jason would be an apple, he adds the crunchiness with his leading guitar lines and harmonica solos. Kirstin would be the strawberries, who adds the sweet and refreshing saxophone parts. Then finally Danny would be the banana, who provides the groovy bass lines, adding the final touch and balancing out the fruit salad.

JL – Have you been on a road trip together? And a more important question: ‘padkos’ or Wimpy breakfast?

JATB: Yes, we have! We make a point of hiring out a van for shows outside of Joburg and sing along together at the top of our lungs to local tunes – Georgetown, Bad Peter, Jeremy Loops, Lunatic Wolf, Sean Koch and The Subway. Oh, and definitely Wimpy to wake us up – best! 

JL – If you were able to sit under the table and listen to any two people speak, who would it be?

Jerry: I would love to hear Freddie Mercury and Robin Williams speaking.

JL – If you could fight any of the members from the Beatles in a boxing match, who would it be and why?

Danny: John Lennon because he was a pacifist so he wouldn’t hit back.

JL – What’s your favorite ’90s jam?

Kirstin: Wow, way too many! I actually thought about it the other day when I heard “Smells Like Teen Spirit” by Nirvana and thought to myself how it’s impossible to get over that song. Yup, that’s the one.

JL – What do you think about when you’re alone in your car?

Jason: Normally I’m listening to music so I’ll be jamming and singing away or I’m dodging and criticizing really bad drivers, and there are a lot of those ha-ha.

So if you ever come across these friendly folk-singing folks, do enjoy and embrace the way this band can bring a room together.

Listen to some of Jerry and the Bandits’ songs here. Catch their next show here. Visit their website here.

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