Biréli Lagrène

Gypsy Project & Friends

Programming / Music

Another article about guitar? about gypsies ? Seriously ?
Yes, then – it’s not at all, but not at all, a coincidence.
First of all because when everything annoys me, my only refuge is music.
And everything irritates me. Almost.

Above all, it’s been several days that I wanted to share with you this guy called Biréli Lagrène.
How can I tell you about Biréli without telling you about his musical master?
well, you’ve got it : his master is called Django.

Biréli is also a Manouche – when he was a kid and learned that Django played with a crippled left hand, he vowed to do his best to play almost as well. He says he’s lucky: he has two good hands.
It was, from his point of view as a young guitar apprentice, the least he could do to honor the soul of his great Elder.

And now, it is said here that Biréli Lagrène would be the spiritual and so talented son of the great Django.

It’s not me who will tell you otherwise.
This man does not play the guitar, his hands dance with it and all the feelings of the heart start to flow between his fingers and strings linked, a lot of sweetness, a little sadness too – is it possible to escape from sadness ?, and very quickly comes the joy of life, very lightly slipped behind the notes.

People say it’s jazz music – I don’t know if it’s true.

I know that Django loved American jazz, and that he wanted to create their own jazz, the jazz of the gypsies, the jazz of the guitar and the violin.

& what I do know is that it’s Manouche music – and that the Manouches are, among the gypsies, the ones who still travel, from place to place, from country to country, with their caravans, with their language, with their pretty smile that says: madamé, it’s also so beautiful elsewhere

We see their children appearing from far and wide, always with that strange soft laughter in their eyes – the laughter of those who have always chosen the road, this road we will find in their melodies.
They have become modern again, the Manouches – but they are more modern than others, for them travel and life are the same, and they will play all their encounters, all the landscapes, all the showers, all the sunny stretches, all the meadows, in the evening, with music.

I wanted to share this concert with you first: you will see what it means, nowadays, a gypsy jazz concert – a concert with a “headliner”.

Yes, of course, you will hear the virtuoso Biréli Lagrène.
And you will hear all the other virtuosos who play with him.
He is not really looking for glory, this man.
He is looking for music.
He is looking for musicians.
You will see young men coming on stage, almost children.
Yes, but they have earned – hard – the right to perform.
This custom is still in force among the Manouches.
Can you imagine the pride of the little guy who comes up to you and says, “That’s it, madamé, my uncles and my father said I can play in public. When do I play?

These are unforgettable moments – and also unforgettable is the moment when the kid starts to play – you don’t play in front of “people” when you don’t know how to play, that’s the rule.

Biréli takes advantage of his name – he is very well known in our country by those who love the guitar – to bring up the youngest : look at his smile and that of the older ones when they give way to the young one. They are proud for him. And that, frankly, feels so good.

D’accord…. all right… you’re right

Yes, yes, you can legitimately accuse me of doing things backwards. Yes, yes…. Yes, I could have placed this complete concert at the end, perhaps is it a little long?
Yes, but yes, but no -I couldn’t.
I loved everything in this concert.
The music of course
The musicians and this state of mind so enthusiastic which reigns between them.
So I started with that.
Which doesn’t prevent me from sharing – anyway – these excerpts from Biréli Lagrène – much shorter – but just as enthusiastic.

To conclude, the huge advantage of Mr. Biréli Lagrène is that he is our contemporary: it is therefore quite possible to invite him on stage, for at least one concert that I will immediately and authoritatively classify as Legendary. With authority, yes yes, I assume very well to lack a little – just a little – democratic fiber.

I’m not done with the music – I’ve stumbled upon an amazing concert that I’ll have to write about.

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Featured Image : Biréli Lagrène.

3 Thoughts

  1. While reading this, there was a big smile on my face, the reason is that it reminded me of a question someone once asked, “if your life had a background music, what will it be?” I really love the way you write, it’s like we are sitting across each other and having a conversation.

    Liked by 2 people

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