Tuesday, February 25, 2014

ABC Wednesday
The letter is G for Guitarist

The famous guitarist shown here is Django Reinhardt, (1910-1953)  born at Liberchies, Belgium into the rambling lifestyle of his gypsy parents.  Django grew up 'in a world of contradictions, one foot in the bustling big city of Paris and the other in the age-old life of the nomadic gypsy'.

When he was twelve he was given a banjo/guitar by a neighbour who had notice his interest in music and he was soon astounding adults with his ability on the instrument.  By the time he was thirteen he began his musical career playing with a popular accordionist at a dance hall on the Rue Monge.

In 1928, at the age of eighteen, Django was in a devastating fire in the caravan he shared with his wife.  He was bedridden for eighteen months and the fourth and fifth fingers of his left hand were permanently curled towards his palm, due to the tendons shrinking from the heat of the fire.  He took his convalescing time to devise a new technique of soloing with only his index and middle fingers, a graceful and precise technique that is visible in the bottom right hand picture above.

He went on to have an amazing career with The Quintet of the Hot Club of France, formed with a fellow guitarist Stephane Grappelli.  They were playing in England when war broke out.  Django returned to Paris, and somehow managed to survive the war, avoiding the fate of many of his kin who died in Nazi concentration camps.  After the war he was reunited with Grappelli and toured briefly with Duke Ellington in America.

On May 16th, 1953 Django suffered a massive brain hemorrhage and died.  His music remains as vital and exciting today as when he lived, a truly great guitarist and one well loved amongst all my family.

One of Charles' favourites

and one of mine

for more great Gs visit here at ABC Wednesday, with thanks to Roger and Denise.



Lisa said...

Such an amazing story of perseverance and the ability to overcome adversity. Great story!

ellen b. said...

Great story of this guitarist for the letter G. Thank you!

Sallie (FullTime-Life) said...

What an amazing history he had. Charles' favorite had me tapping my toe. Back now to listen to yours.

Reader Wil said...

I also like Django Reinhardt and the two videos are really catching! Thank you.
Have a great week, Hildred.
Wil, ABCW Team.

Roger Owen Green said...

He is one of the GREATS!

Penny said...


Leslie: said...

Very suave looking man!

abcw team

Carver said...

You always come up with great posts for each letter. Carver, ABC-W

Ann said...

Oh what a touching story of determination in the face of tragedy. What a great sound he had.

Obsessivemom said...

Wow that's quite a story.. such determination and courage. Amazing!

Gattina said...

I agree with Tulika !
ABC Team

uberrhund said...

Great post for "G" Hildred! Thanks for bringing some fun music to my evening, he was so very talented and an inspiration to so many musicians to this day.

Nydia said...

A great guitar player with a gypsy heritage, like me. Lovely post.