Django a Gogo Music Festival

April 18, 2024

The Django á Gogo Music Festival, an annual celebration, is dedicated to honoring the legacy of jazz guitarist Django Reinhardt and the incredible music tradition he created. Curated by Paris-born master guitarist and composer Stephane Wrembel (photo above), this four-day event, from May 1-4, brings together a stellar lineup of international talents. Wrembel’s deep immersion in gypsy culture has made him one of the foremost scholars and practitioners of Django-influenced music. Since its inception in 2003, Django á Gogo has been a beacon for fans of Reinhardt’s unique style, preserving the innovative music he famously created with only two fully serviceable fingers on his left hand following injuries suffered in a caravan fire in 1928.

Reinhardt’s style of acoustic exploration has been labeled in various ways, but many refer to the genre as “gypsy jazz,” a term that has been considered pejorative by some, though not by Wrembel and his close associates. “If you have to call the music anything, call it ‘gypsy’ music,” said Wrembel. “Don’t use words like Roma, Manouche, Sinti, or anything else because it’s inaccurate. Manipulating language in this way really bothers me. It bugs my gypsy friends, too. There is nothing bad about that word. It’s not an insult.”

A Maplewood, NJ, resident, Wrembel is an excellent musician, instructor, and orator. He is particularly excited about this year’s festival. “In 2003, I created the first Django A Gogo festival,” he said. “My idea was to bring some of those masters from France (and later other parts of Europe) to perform. It’s a huge undertaking. As the festival grew, we took it on the road and added a guitar camp and more concerts that concluded in the past with a giant final show at Carnegie Hall. Now it concludes at Town Hall.

“This year’s festival is very special as I am bringing the Gypsy Guitars Trio to perform, featuring Angelo Debarre, Serge Camps, and Franck Anastasio. These guys are legends in Europe. They recorded an album called Gypsy Guitars in 1989, which restarted interest in Django’s music. It will be the first time they have come to America. We also have Simba Baumgartner, who is Django’s great-grandson and, of course, an amazing virtuoso. Another guest is Hugo Guezbar, the rising star of Gypsy Jazz in America at only 22. Also, Adrien Marco is one of the great bandleaders playing in the Django style in Europe; and he’s an amazing guitar player. Another featured guest is Aurore Voilqué on violin, and she is the most in-demand violinist in France right now. She is also a great singer. So those are all names of people who come from Europe. There are some musicians from America as well, including Sam Farthing, a 21-year-old master guitarist from Baltimore.”

Wrembel’s newest project, the Django New Orleans band, will also perform at the festival. “Of course, the band that works with me on my new project, Django New Orleans, will also be featured,” he explained. “It’s a nine-piece ensemble comprising two guitars and a violin, aiming to preserve the sound of Django’s music. Instead of string bass, we feature a sousaphone and drums, percussion, trumpet, saxophone, clarinet, and vocals. This setup allows us to capture Django’s drive with the dynamic interplay of guitar and violin while blending in the rich brass and percussive funkiness of New Orleans. It’s a perfect blend of these two musical worlds. And, of course, we offer the guitar camp where attendees can learn from and connect with the masters of this music.” – JAY SWEET

For a full lineup of events and details, go to


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