Django is full of stacks
: Django Lassi: Django flexes its muscles
Last Saturday, the Szimpla bathhouse on the RAW site was bursting at the seams again - which is completely normal when Django Lassi is a guest and, on top of that, launches a new album. The band, inspired by jazz legend Django Reinhardt, has become a crowd puller in recent years, in clubs like Bassy, Kaffee Burger or at the Fusion Festival they are regularly celebrated for their version of the gypsy swing, which they always have their own Evolve Art.
It all started almost ten years ago in Wedding, where the Cologne bassist Klark, whose real name is Christopher Schintlholzer, and the Croatian guitar teacher Matija Krznaric meet for a jam session. A little later, Yasir Hamdan, who actually only wanted to take lessons, is there, but two weeks later he is on stage as a rhythm guitarist at a concert. Learning by doing plays an important role in the so-called jazz manouche; you cannot learn it at a university.
While Yasir Hamdan is busy drumming in the repertoire, he receives an unexpected visitor one night in the rehearsal room: “All of a sudden, Jonny Herzberg was standing in front of my door, an important Manouche guitarist from the Sinti scene. He had heard me play and wanted to know if I was a Sinti. A week later he brought his cousins to show me off. "
The trio makes contact with the widely ramified Sinti families, for whom the gypsy swing is an important cultural asset - and who Django Lassi now often get involved in their festivals. The musicians tell of lavish weddings and funerals, with many aunts, relatives and cousins in fine suits and pointed snakeskin boots.
The stage program rarely goes according to plan
Often it was a leap into the unknown. “If we got an address, it could hide a full theater hall or a small tea room,” remembers Klark. “This mentality and way of life also has to do with a certain willingness to get involved in a situation.” At the Gypsy events, things rarely go according to plan, a normal jazz musician with a song sequence and chords on the music stand would be hopelessly lost. "For example, someone suddenly comes on stage, takes your guitar out of your hand, changes your mind and continues playing a solo in a completely different key - something like that happens all the time."
At the same time, the band swung their guitars into the Berlin club scene and expanded. There are now six of them, the musicians come from four countries and at least twice as many styles. Klark was previously a funk bassist, clarinetist Laurin Habert also plays in a drum'n'bass project, violinist Roland Satterwhite in a flamenco ensemble. The Israeli drummer and tabla expert Yatziv Caspi, on the other hand, has a progressive rock era behind him.
In this respect, it is not surprising that you can see muscle shirt next to a tuxedo and beret on the stage in the bathhouse. Even the spontaneous session with a didgeridoo player only seems absurd at first. Because it quickly becomes clear that Django Lassi also know how to integrate the roaring Aboriginal instrument into their driving mix of jazz, swing and Balkan elements.
Jazz Manouche also stands for change
The fact that they do not write their songs in the classic 1920s style does not detract from their success. The Sinti also welcome this change: “Jazz Manouche also stands for change. These people have traveled a lot, been displaced frequently, been to dozens of countries, and the tradition has changed with every city, with every country, ”says Yasir Hamdan.
“Django Reinhardt ultimately remains the basis,” adds Laurent Humeau, probably one of the best guitarists in town. His colleagues jokingly call him "Coldface", because he hardly flinches an eyelash at his furiously fast solos. "At that moment, all of my concentration goes into both of my hands," he explains. Still a punk guitarist in his teenage years, he discovered Reinhardt six years ago, and since then he has been practicing for one to four hours a day. "It's like gymnastics."
The high degree of virtuosity in the gypsy swing scene does not go unnoticed for long, an invitation to the “Django Festival” in Oslo has just arrived. The band has been traveling across Germany for a number of years anyway, and they are happy about the prevailing conditions elsewhere: “In Munich, people pay 16.17 euros for a concert. If you ask for that in Berlin, no one will come. ”On the other hand, Django Lassi also like to be generous: The new CD“ Szupa Czipa ”was given to the guests of the release party.
Django Lassi live: Sat December 7th, at the Electro Swing Revolution in the Astra Kulturhaus (RAW site), Revaler Straße 99, Friedrichshain, admission: 11.30 p.m., box office 10 euros
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