The Lycée Français de Los Angeles is celebrating all things swing! The Lycée’s Théâtre Raymond Kabbaz will be hosting the first edition of a festival in honor of renowned French jazz guitarist Django Reinhardt on June 17 and 18, 2017.
Jean Reinhardt was born in Belgium in 1910, and his life could well have taken a turn for the worse. The Romani Gypsy guitarist survived a fire that ravaged his caravan in 1928, but he lost the use of two fingers on his left hand. Instead of ending his music career, he began practicing the guitar using only his thumb, index and middle fingers. This revolutionary technique led to Django’s reputation as one of the most influential guitarists in jazz history.
The Théâtre Raymond Kabbaz at the Lycée Français de Los Angeles has organized the first edition of a festival in honor of the “father of European jazz,” perhaps inspired by Etienne Comar’s biopic movie, Django, which was previewed in North America at the Rendez-Vous with French Cinema festival in New York last March.
After discovering trumpeter Louis Armstrong and pianist Duke Ellington in the 1930s, Django Reinhardt decided to combine the speed of Romani guitar playing with the energy of American jazz. “Django was an inspirational genius who is now part of French musical and cultural heritage,” says Pierre Leloup, the Executive and Art Director of the Los Angeles Django Reinhardt Festival.
Singing La Marseillaise was forbidden in occupied France in 1940, but resistance movements took up Django Reinhardt’s song, Nuages, as a rebellious chant. “This song was a symbol of hope during the Nazi occupation, and this festival is a way to honor it.”
The festival will include performances by the Yorgui Loeffler Trio and the Samy Daussat Quintet, open-jam sessions, workshops, masterclasses, film screenings and conferences.
The Los Angeles Django Reinhardt Festival
From June 17 to 18, 2017, from 10am to 10pm.
Théâtre Raymond Kabbaz, Los Angeles, California