DjangoFest Northwest returns to Whidbey Island for its 13th Annual Gypsy Jazz Festival, September 18-22, 2013. Held at Whidbey Island Center for the Arts in Langley, it’s become the premier showcase of Gypsy Jazz in North America.
One of the most respected names in Gypsy Jazz music, Fapy Lafertin, is this year’s festival headliner. Born in Belgium into the Manouche gypsy community, he began playing various instruments at a young age, and his Hot Club de France repertoire began with Orchestra De Piotto. In the 1970s and early ’80s, Lafertin was a member of the group Waso, which popularized Django’s Hot Club Jazz worldwide. After leaving the group, he embarked on a solo career in England, playing with such well known jazzmen as Charlie Byrd, Scott Hamilton, Al Casey, Benny Waters and Milt Hinton. He also teamed up with Stephane Grappelli in Glasgow.
Regarded as an authority in the jazz world, Lafterin formed his own quintet in the Netherlands, inspired by the sound of Django Reinhardt’s famous 1930s groups. In 2001, he again embraced his old love, the Portuguese 12-string guitar. At DjangoFest Northwest, Laftertin will be joined by Gypsy violin and guitar master Tcha Limberger; rhythm guitarists Dave Kelbie and Ryan Hoffman; and bass player Simon Planting.
Also appearing for the first time at DjangoFest Northwest are guitarist Olli Soikkeli from Finland and Vancouver Island Gypsy Jazz group Brishen, fronted by 17-year-old guitarist Quinn Bachand and violinist Richard Moody. There are also DjangoFest favorites returning this year with a few new names: New Hot Club of America with Gonzalo Bergara; Kruno Spisic with Filip Novosel; Tommy Davy with Trio Dinicu; and Whidbey Island’s 3 Cent Stamp with James Hinkley, Gloria Ferry-Brennan and Levi Burkle. DjangoFest Northwest welcomes the return of these perennial favorites: John Jorgenson Quintet; Pearl Django; Caravan with Marc Atkinson and Daniel Lapp; the Denis Chang Quartet; and Fishtank Ensemble.
This year’s workshops and presentations by the musicians have expanded, and are not only for guitarists and violinists, but the general public. For complete schedule information and to purchase tickets ($32-$70), visit tickets.wicaonline.com.
Langley Gets Lively! The Langley Chamber of Commerce is hosting a Beer and Wine Bar during DjangoFest at The Dog House in downtown Langley. Hours are Friday and Saturday, September 20-21, from noon to 9PM and Sunday, September 22, from noon to 5PM. Musicians and Gypsy Jazz lovers are invited to the historic tavern for impromptu jams and jazz conversations. And there are two Late Night Jams: Friday at Mo’s Pub & Eatery and Saturday at Prima Bistro. Both start following the evening’s main stage shows at Whidbey Island Center for the Arts.