Thursday, May 1, 2008

Django Reinhardt's Children

Who knew that a Jazz Festival concert would turn out to be a language lesson. Do you know Kath & Kim, the infamous Fountain Gate dwellers with their very own TV programme? If you do, then just take Kath's voice and make it male. Then announce a 'gypsy jazz' (not my words, I got them from the festival programme!) guitar group that plays "In the tradition of Django Reinhardt" (also lifted from the programme). If you don't know Kath & Kim, just bung on an Australian accent. Broad as you like. So broad that it feels like 'strewth' needs to be part of anything you say. There ya go. Bewdiful.

"Laidies n Gennlemen, wouldja please welc'm Lez Onfonts de Jangoh."

Lucky for us the band started playing... Beautiful guitars. After Wadada Leo Smith's challenges and exhilarations last night, this was a different kind of pleasure. Tapping, clapping all around as the audience really got into the guitar sounds. Smiling, strong playing from Yorgui Loeffler (guitar) Xavier Nikq (bass), Mike Reinhardt (guitar) and Samson Schmitt (guitar). Deffo a guitar group, no? I really found myself enjoying knowing when a tune began and when it ended. There are protocols with this music. I like to listen to lots of types of music with my eyes closed, but not this. I'm eyes open wide awake.
Life. You can feel the life. The sort of life that leads to large family gatherings at Sunday dinners in European immigrant backyards where vegetables are grown... Or maybe that's my own past creeping up to haunt me.

Unfortunately, we struck a language problem a couple of songs in... "Parlez vous francais?" we were asked by one of the musicians. We heard "oui" "Oui!" "oui" from scattered locales within the audience. Note my judicious use of the word scattered... Somehow the scattered minority were interepreted to represent the entire audience. The rest of the concert was delivered in French, which when it came to the music thankfully had no ill effect for non-francophones in the audience. In fact I'd be hard pressed to say whether it would have sounded any different at all in English, if I'm honest.

I knew, at some stage that I would be tempted to buy a CD at the end. But I also knew I'd resist. It's music I can listen to for hours, live, but somehow on the stereo, it's not the same.

And at the end the blessed return to our native tongue. "Woudja ploise thenk Lez Onfonts de Jango. Bloody Brilliant. There's CDs n other merchandoise for yez if yer want 'em, out the front. Kurt's gonna be here soon but yez have all got toime for a coldie... "

No comments: