When I first began preparing for this year's Django in June I'd hoped that Stephane Wrembel and his trio would be available, but - alas! - at the time, it appeared they wouldn't be. You see, it has been a big year for Stephane, recording and touring with acoustic luminaries the likes of David Grisman and Mark O'Conner. Last we talked it looked as though he was going to be touring out west during the weekend of Django in June.
But gigs come and gigs go and in mid-April I got a call from Jared Engel, Stephane's long time bass player, letting me know that they were free after all. Juggling schedules this late in the game can be nerve wracking for an event organizer, but for Stephane, I'd juggle anvils. If you were here last year for the trio's performance you know why. It may be the first time I'd seen a performance interrupted by a standing ovation...before it was finished! So - voila! - we now have a double billing on Friday, June 16th featuring Stephane's trio and the incredible Andreas Oberg of Sweden.
This year, Stephane will again be accompanied by Jared Engel on bass, who will also be performing on Saturday night with Lollo and Tim as well as offering a clinic for bass players. For a twist, though, the third chair (usually occupied by a rhythm guitarist) will be held by the inimitable David Langoois playing a tricked out washboard! Trust me, unless she was a helluva percussionist, this is not your great-gramma's washboard. Bring an extra pair of socks, as they are likely to get blown off.
A native of France - he was raised in Fontainebleau, just down the road from Samois, where the big Django festival is held every year - Stephane had the opportunity to learn informally from Gypsies in their camps and to study with some of the genre's true contemporary masters, like Serge Krief. Now a resident of New York City, the man is a regional treasure for those of us with an interest in the style. Here's a link to his website, where you can sample the goods.
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Dr. Joseph Santry