Born in 1981, Giniaux started on cello at age 6 because he didn’t want to play standing up, like his violin-playing brother. He began studying guitar and Gypsy music at age 18, influenced by Django, Balkan music, European classical, jazz, and other improvised music.
In an interview he said, “When I really got into guitar I…worked and played like crazy for 5 years.” I first encountered him in 2003 in the campgrounds of Samois, which would have been somewhere in the middle of that 5 year period. Even that early in his exploration of the genre he was already playing jazz manouche at a level I’d never encountered in the States. This video is from those same campgrounds a few years later, but it’s typical of what I’m talking about.
Sébastien works with a number of groups as both cellist and guitarist, including Norig, Selmer # 607, the Balkan Project and a variety of duos and trios. He is also an artist, poet, composer, and arranger. In 2012 he brought all these talents to bear in a unique multi-media work titled, Melodie des Choses, a “pictorial translation” of his music that includes a special edition art book and CD.
Giniaux first joined us at Django in June in 2014 as a last-minute member of Les Doigts De L’Hommes, then again in 2016 to perform with Antoine Boyer. This year he comes as guitarist and cellist with the Mathias Lévy Trio who will share selections from their “Revisiting Grappelli” program in concert at the Academy of Music.
Like so many of the best contemporary Gypsy jazz guitarists, Sébastien’s work is featured in a series of instructional videos in the DC Music School catalogue:”In the Style of Sebastien Giniaux.” Here’s a clip from one lesson devoted to Django’s classic, Blues em Mineur: