Monday, January 17, 2005

Django Reinhardt

(Thanks to Matt at pas au-delà who mentioned he had heard the NPR profile and linked the Antonietto bio... I had heard of Reinhardt, but had never heard him play. One listen to Django's guitar playing and I was hooked!)

Django Reinhardt Talk of the Nation (PBS: December 8, 2004)
Django Reinhardt is a legend of jazz guitar whose shadow still looms over performers 50 years after his death. A new book sheds light on the life of Reinhardt, who rose to stardom in just 43 years.

Django Reinhardt: The Biography by Alain Antonietto
The poet Serge evokes the scene as it was then : “Down there in the Gypsy camp a banjo was jiggling with a popular melody.., one had the impression of distant dance music, dizzying waltzes one the sweetness of an accordion. Camp fires were everywhere, each with its cooking pot. Everywhere chickens were stewing and banjos going wild...” This was the setting in which Django grew up - in a world that today has become the stuff of legend, the world of the bohemian and the vagabond on the doorstep of a great city : caravans and horses on the waste ground, wooden fences, weedy ditches for brawling children and bony dogs to roam in, Gypsy women with their kiss-curls and long flowing dresses, black- moustached men in striped waistcoats and broad- brimmed hats, men with dancing bears and performing goats, chair-menders, horse-copers, ragpickers, scrap-metal merchants, basket-makers, tinkers and musical-instrument makers - a whole world lost for ever under the bulldozers, leaving behind only a wisp of smoke from a camp-fire, the notes of a guitar drifting on the wind...

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