The Great Gypsy Songbook

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Postby Northern-Neil » Fri Apr 18, 2003 1:19 am

...and then, the last time I was at Samois, I noticed that several Gipsy folks were busy videoing and recording the musical efforts of non - gipsy Brits, Europeans and Americans. Perhaps we also have our own style, equally valid in the ears of Gipsies, which, in our overwhelming quest for authenticity, we fail to see ourselves...
...Eh up, Djangologists!
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Postby Teddy Dupont » Fri Apr 18, 2003 10:22 am

Northern-Neil wrote:Perhaps we also have our own style, equally valid in the ears of Gipsies, which, in our overwhelming quest for authenticity, we fail to see ourselves...


........and we should try to develop it rather than slavishly copy people we cannot hope to equal.
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Postby Thrip » Fri Apr 18, 2003 11:08 am

Teddy Dupont wrote:........and we should try to develop it rather than slavishly copy people we cannot hope to equal.


Hear, hear!
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Slavish copying?

Postby Jan Primus » Fri Apr 18, 2003 3:59 pm

Slavery was abolished here along time ago. :wink:
While imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, I want to explore this and take what is useful rather than work on getting everything
"Exactly Like You". <As he rolls off into another tune...>
Last edited by Jan Primus on Wed Apr 23, 2003 4:30 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby nwilkins » Fri Apr 18, 2003 5:01 pm

Northern-Neil wrote:I would be interested to hear if the Alsace style has emerged intact from the past ten years of 'Rosenberg' fever.


Neil, judging by new releases from young Alsatians such as Yorgui Loeffler (check it out if you get a chance), I would say that the Alsace style is still alive and well. Bands such as Ramon Galan's "Original Paris Swing" are keeping the Parisian style going (as of course are the old guard like the Garcias et al). So although there are still hundreds of Stochelo clones, in many cases the regional styles DO seem thankfully to have persisted :D
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Postby TedGottsegen » Fri Apr 18, 2003 5:30 pm

Northern-Neil wrote:But all too often one now hears Alsace - based players trying to imitate the Rosenberg style, and Parisian players trying to do the same thing


<sigh>This has been a growing fear for me for a few years now. I got some video in a trade a few years ago of one of my favorite young players, Yorgui Loeffler with Patrick Gaguenetti and Wawau Adler. Wawau is the sickest, playing the most amazing stuff I have ever seen. He is definatley the heaviest "unknown" player out there. Yorgui (Alsace) for his part didn't seem to rely on Stochelo-isms too much but he threw more than his fair share of 'em into the pot. I suspect that that was larger in response to trading fours and eights with Gaguenetti who, if anyone has heard, is the evil spawn of Stochelo and Jimmy. You definately don't hear that on Yorgui's album which is 98% Alsace, thank God. There are still Stochelo hallmarks, but not enough to unnerve.

Northern-Neil wrote:I have never been to Colmar or Strasbourg, but I would be interested to hear if the Alsace style has emerged intact from the past ten years of 'Rosenberg' fever.


I'm still holding out hope that they can continue to resist of lure of Stochelo's touch and tone and Jimmy's masturbation. Those guys use their own guitars for the most part and have their own heroes like Samson, Tchavolo, Dorado, Mandino, Lulu Reinhardt, etc to look up to. Although with the younger crowd one never knows. Dino Mehrstein rocks hard, Yorgui Loeffler will be great, but needs about a decade to grow. I haven't heard Samson's album so I don't know about him. I was listening to tracks from Stochelo's Samois '89 appearence last night and was shocked at how much his style has grown and changed in 14 years and how different he sounds now compared to then so who knows, maybe this is just a fad or something.....
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Postby Rich » Fri Apr 18, 2003 6:37 pm

I'm fairly new to this music and havn't listened to anywhere near the range of stuff that you guys obviously have, but it seems to me that their is a little to much imitation and not enough creation. I think because the style was defined so much by one man people are scared that by not sounding like him they won't be "doing it right".
I'd be interested to know who in your opinion has developed the music the most since Django............. A lot of what i hear seems to be just what django did but faster (although i do realise django could play as fast as he wanted when he wanted, its just he knew when to do it and when not to).
Also where do people see the music going in the future, and whos going to take it there? I am would be very grateful to hear your opinions.
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Postby TedGottsegen » Fri Apr 18, 2003 9:05 pm

Rich wrote:it seems to me that their is a little to much imitation and not enough creation.


Yes and no. There are two things to consider when thinking about this music:

1. It's been perpetuated in Gypsy culture much longer than Gadjo culture. While there are some who make it as international stars, the vast majority are gigging musicians who are really playing for themselves and their audience who are in many cases other Gypsies. They have no interest in being progressive and are just as happy playing for their family in the caravan as they are on the stage at Samois.

2. The familiarity issue comes from the politics inherent in all types of music. In Jazz Manouche there are certain tunes that one must play and record if they are to be taken seriously as musicians. This is why you see lots of versions of "Minor Swing", etc.

3. There massive amounts of imitation is much more of a recent phenomena. Players for the first second and even third generations were much more creative in their approach and execution. Most of those albums are long out of print.

Rich wrote:I'd be interested to know who in your opinion has developed the music the most since Django.............


How are you defining "developed"?

Rich wrote:A lot of what i hear seems to be just what django did but faster (although i do realise django could play as fast as he wanted when he wanted, its just he knew when to do it and when not to).


I think that if we could see Django the way we see Stochelo or Bireli or Angelo, we'd see someone who would gladly play gratuitous solo after solo. The only evidence we have of Django are from records and radio broadcasts or "concerts" where just blowing wasn't possible or appropriate.

Rich wrote:Also where do people see the music going in the future, and whos going to take it there?


Personally, I don't think it'll change much and I don't think that it really needs to. If it ain't broke, don't fix it. I'm quite happy listening to Jacques Montagne's gypsy bop or a quirky old Mondine & Ninine record with tunes from Musettes heyday. There are enough "branches" of this music to keep it refreshing if one is enterprising enough to find it all.

There are some progressive thinkers out there who are trying to push the boundries of the music but it just depends on how your define the word. Most will tell you that Bireli is the man - using his ideas culled from bop and fusion and adding them to a traditional Hot Club ensemble is the hippest thing since Django. Note Manouche and Dino Mehrstein are also coming at the music from a different angle, using great originals, progressive ideas and altered arrangments to great effect. Wawau Adler plays the sickest improvs I've ever heard - definatley on par with Bireli but I've never heard him outside of a jam situation I don't know what he's about musically. Others like Pierre "Kamlo" Barré and Jean-Phillipe "Juanito" Watremez and even Patrick Saussois who are doing their own thing within the confines of the style.
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Postby justjack » Sat Apr 19, 2003 7:36 am

Ted, thank you.
This is just the sort of thing I was hoping would arise from this-all the lesser known players who are still never the less making an impact. It's a joy to discover their names, and what they're doing for the music. Again, thanks.
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Postby Rene » Sat Apr 19, 2003 10:01 am

I'm finding this the most interesting thread in a long while. Keep talking, Ted !
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Postby djangology » Tue Apr 22, 2003 10:51 pm

I try to imagine what Django would have sounded like if he had moved to America, stopped smoking, and lived to be alive today. Mabye he would have been influenced himself by the evolution of guitar in the 60's and 70's. What would he have thought of Jimi Hendrix? What sort of tunes would he have played? Would he have converted to bop? What people would he have run into and jammed with? Would he have lived in Nashville, New York, or Dallas Texas? Would he and Grappelli have played together til the end? Would he have starred in movies?
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Postby Northern-Neil » Tue Apr 22, 2003 10:56 pm

I once heard an anecdote to the effect that Jimi Hedrix's intro to 'Purple Haze' was influenced by Django's intro to St. Louis blues. Can anyone substantiate this?
...Eh up, Djangologists!
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Postby djangology » Wed Apr 23, 2003 12:50 am

mabye the intro, but the rest of that song is all major chords and I would hardly characterize it as genious. "The Wind Cries Mary" on the other hand, with the thumb chords, unique gypsy voicings, and the solo all remind me of Django and i wouldn't be surprised if Django turned out to be an influence. Its hard to imagine even that those two songs were written by the same guy... he must have stolen a few ideas from Django. mabye along the way, while he played with greats such as Curtis Mayfield, Sam Cooke, Jackie Wilson, Little Richard, the Isley Brothers, and Ike & Tina Turner, he ran into a Django album and had an epiphany...

just dreaming... :-)
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Postby djangology » Mon Jul 14, 2003 7:28 pm

actually, i find it interesting that one of Jimi Hendrixs best albums is called "Band of Gypsys (Capitol, 1970)"
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