October 11, 2023, 8 p.m.
DJANGO REINHARDT AND THE GYPSIES:
A 1000-YEAR MUSICAL JOURNEY FROM INDIA TO FRANCE
This year marks the 20th anniversary of the Django a Gogo festival, a music festival dedicated to the art of the greatest guitar master who ever lived: Django Reinhardt. Django Reinhardt was a gypsy. The gypsies originated in Rajasthan, North India. For unknown reasons, a small group of people left Rajasthan 1000 years ago and traveled all the way through North Africa and Eastern Europe to France and Spain.
Spain developed Flamenco, and France developed Gypsy Jazz, which is Django’s unique creation and has since become the folk sound of French Gypsies. Gypsy Jazz encompasses all the styles gathered through this thousand-year journey: from Indian roots to the Oud, from North African, Middle Eastern, and Eastern European traditions to Western Classical and Jazz. It is all there, forming a fantastic, colorful canvas of musical sounds.
Over the course of the evening, the band will explore all these influences in chronological order, featuring from New York City and France the Stephane Wrembel band (Stephane Wrembel and Josh Kaye on guitars, Ari Folman Cohen on bass, and Nick Anderson on drums), Simba Baumgartner on guitar (Django Reinhardt’s great-grandson), and Aurore Voilqué on violin.
On the first half, titled “From India to early Django”, the band will start by exploring the sounds of India, the Middle Eastern and North African oud, showing how these are the very roots of it all. They will then demonstrate how Eastern European folk traditions (Tziganes and Klezmer) and Western European classical music came into play to form the next level of the harmonic framework for Django’s unique style. This was followed by the musette and early Jazz influences. Thus, Django the musician was born.
On the second half, titled “Traditional Gypsy Jazz and late Django”, the band will continue their journey by going through the whole second part of late Django’s hot jazz, which had by then been heavily influenced by Bebop and had become extremely sophisticated. This evolution gave birth to the now traditional Gypsy Jazz, a completely unique and virtuosic way of playing the guitar born from the Django angle. The band will also play some of Stephane’s compositions, including ‘Bistro Fada’ and ‘Big Brother’, two themes he wrote for Grammy Award and Academy Award-winning Woody Allen movies.