Django in June

About Our Concerts

2014 Concert Dates: Friday and Saturday, June 20 & 21.

Thanks for your interest in Django in June's 2014 concerts for the general public. This year, as last, we will be back at the historic Academy of Music in downtown Northampton, MA. They will be handling all ticket sales for us, so please contact their box office for details on available seating and your options for both online and cash purchases.

If you are experiencing any difficulties getting tickets, please contact me directly using this email address and I'll see if I can help you sort it out: Andrew AT communityguitar Dot com.

Now, on to this year's artists...

Friday June 20: Latcho Drom AND Samson Schmitt with Tim Kliphuis

The Academy of Music, Northampton, MA. 7:30. Tickets $25 advance / $30 door.
Academy of Music Box Office

Latcho Drom

The circus ran away with Christophe Lartilleux early in life. His mother was of the Hart-Goujon manouche (Gypsy) circus family, and Christophe spent his childhood in the show's caravan as it traversed France and beyond. His father Yvon was a professional guitarist whose early career was spent (as was Django Reinhardt's) accompanying accordionists playing la musette. As the popularity of that musical style declined Yvon would become a banquiste—a musician for the circus. With a musician father and a Gypsy mother, suffice it to say that Christophe Lartilleux hasn't fallen far from the tree.

He founded Latcho Drom before Gypsy jazz was (once again) cool, in 1993. The group's name means "safe journey" in Romani, which is only fitting given not only Christophe's own road-roots, but all the miles the ensemble has logged over the years, having played over 1000 concerts.

Along the way, Latcho Drom played no small role in re-awakening the Gadjo (non-Gypsy) world from the slumber of neglect of not only Django's own music, but of the tradition he spawned and that had been spreading like musical mycelium for decades below the surface of popular culture. In this evening's performance Christophe will be joined by his daughter, Deborah, on bass, Philippe "Doudou" Cuillerier on rhythm guitar and vocals, and Aurelien Trigo on violin.  


Samson Schmitt & Tim Kliphuis

Gypsy jazz has always been a family affair, and the Schmitts are one of the great clans of the genre. Cousins Dorado and Tchavolo Schmitt are among the best known and respected players of their generation (both were born in the 1950's and have performed since the 70's.) Dorado was introduced to both guitar and violin by his father, and he has played the same tutorial role for his trio of talented sons, Samson, Bronson and Amati. Samson is, at 34, the eldest of the bunch and the first of the Schmitts we've had the pleasure of hosting at Django in June.

Swing by and the music on auto-play there will—if you know your Reinhardts—remind you more of Babik than of his father, Django. But wherever new growth takes Samson over the course of what we hope will be a long and inventive musical career, his roots will be in traditional Gypsy jazz. He has played with all the greats, played all the major festivals of Europe and abroad. To get there he did not so much study this tradition as live it. You can get a taste of what I mean by watching the video clip below of young Samson getting a guitar lesson from his father a quarter century ago. Try to imagine how well that kid can play now...then come see him in action.

He'll be sharing the stage with a Django in June favorite, Holland's Tim Kliphuis (pronounced, clip-house.) Tim has graced our teaching staff and our stage at least every couple of years since Django in June began. An internationally recognized expert in the playing of Django's best known sideman, Stephan Grappelli, Tim regularly plays that role for the best in the Gypsy jazz business around the globe. But like Samson, steeped and rooted as he is in the tradition, Tim's wit, skill and love for music made in the moment are all his own. He and Samson are old friends; join them for an evening of Gypsy jazz of the first order.


Video Previews:


Saturday June 21: Les Doigts De L'Homme

The Academy of Music, Northampton, MA. 7:30. Tickets $25 advance / $30 door.
Academy of Music Box Office

Les Doigts De L'Homme

Those of you who have been attending Django in June's concerts for some time may recall the last time Les Doigts De L'Homme were here—in 2011. If so, you are probably just wondering where to get tickets. That was among the best attended and best loved of our concerts in over a decade of such shows. Wow.

If you missed them last time, well, here's your second chance. The group's name is a play on words: "doigts" (fingers) being very similar to the word "droits" (rights) in French. So the familiar French phrase for "the rights of man" (or, "basic human rights") becomes, with just a slight twist of the tongue, "The Fingers of Man." This jeu de mots hints at something essential in Les Doigts' formula for success: don't take yourself too seriously.


It's an admonition they can well afford because by 30 seconds into their first tune —max—no listener is going to be doubting the seriousness of their musicianship. One part technical virtuosity, one part sophisticated, layered arrangements, and one part great compositions (borrowed and originals), all that remains to finish the mix is that elusive way these ingredients come together in Les Doigts De L'Homme that makes for the chemistry of fireworks.

It is rare in this genre that a group should remain intact for a decade, but that is largely the case for Les Doigts. The group's leader, Olivier Kikteff, the rhythm guitarist, Yannick Alcocer, and bassist Tanguy Blum have been working together under this name since the early 2000's. Benoit Convert (whom Django in June audiences also enjoyed last year in concert with Adrien Moignard and Gonzalo Bergara) joined a few years later. He can often be found onstage in either a tightly choreographed tango or a game of dueling guitars with Olivier. (Remind me not to get caught in that crossfire...yikes!) Just over a year ago as the group was preparing for their most recent recording, Mumbo Jumbo, they added a fifth "finger" to the hand with which they play: Antoine Girard, on accordion.

The pinnacle of Gypsy jazz events in the world is the Festival Django Reinhardt that takes place annually in Django's final resting place of Samois-sur-Seine. And the high point, so to speak, of that festival is the closing act. Last year that most sought-after performance slot went to Les Doigts De L'Homme. And here they are, right in your backyard. Use your fingers well—by reserving tickets now—and I guarantee theirs will return the favor.


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