On May 15, 1953, in the tiny French village of Samois sur Seine, legendary gypsy guitarist Django Reinhardt died of a massive cerebral hemorrhage at the age of 43. He left behind an incredible body of recorded music and original compositions, which was nearly forgotten after his death by all but a few aficionados. Fortunately, the gypsies kept his legacy alive, and today, fuelled by the Internet, thousands of musicians all over the world are rediscovering Django and his music.
One such group of musicians is Swingology, a quartet based in and around Windsor, Nova Scotia, who are becoming widely recognized as Nova Scotia’s foremost practitioners of the classic style known as “gypsy swing.” The band is wrapping up a minitour celebrating the release of its second CD Under Paris Skies at the King’s Theatre in Annapolis Royal on Saturday November 6. The CD was described by Stephen Cooke of the Chronicle Herald as “travelling light and breezy through 12 classic songs … Swingology freshens them up with enough personality and humour to make you anticipate each new interpretation.” Django was already an accomplished professional musician by the age of 18, when disaster struck. A fire broke out late one night in his caravan, and the resulting burns crippled the two small fingers of his left hand. Rather than give up playing, he spent two years painstakingly teaching himself how to play in a whole new way, using the crippled fingers to make chords and learning to solo with just the two intact fingers. In the process, he created a style of playing that still dazzles listeners and challenges guitarists. In the early 1930s Django teamed up with Parisian violinist Stephane Grappelli to form the Quintet of the Hot Club of France, one of the greatest swing ensembles in history, and music was changed forever. .
The King’s Theatre concert starts at 7:30 PM on November 6.
Tickets are available at the door, online at www.kingstheatre.ca, or by calling (902) 532-7704.
~ Ben Robertson