The Hippo


May 28, 2020








Lulo Reinhardt. Courtesy photo.

International Guitar Night

Starring Lulo Reinhardt, Luca Stricagnoli, Chystian Dozza and Debashish Bhattacharya
When: Friday, Feb 10, 7:30 p.m.
Where: Dana Center, 100 Saint Anselm Drive, Manchester
Tickets: $33.75 reserved

United nations
Guitar virtuosos perform alone and together

By Michael Witthaus

 A truly unique event, International Guitar Night is a summit of strings, a multicultural meeting of musical minds. Finger-style guitarist Brian Gore launched the event in 2000, as an acoustic concert starring four masters of the instrument playing solo, in duos and as a quartet. 

Diversity is a mainstay during the annual tour, and this year’s gathering of luminaries won’t disappoint in that regard. Luca Stricagnoli is an Italian with a percussive playing style, while Chystian Dozza is part of Brazil’s new generation of instrumentalists. Indian-born Debashish Bhattacharya has a sitar-like playing style. Gore is on touring hiatus, so German Lulo Reinhardt, an IGN veteran, will lead the ensemble.
Though Lulo Reinhardt is a grand-nephew of guitar legend Django Reinhardt, he doesn’t play Gypsy jazz, as one might expect. Reinhardt calls his flamenco-based sound Latin Swing. 
“My right hand is Gypsy swing, and I play flamenco with a pick instead of fingernails,” he said in a recent Skype interview. “It’s a new style.”
Reinhardt explained that although Spain claims it, flamenco’s roots date back 1,000 years, to the European Gypsy diaspora, a journey that went from India to Egypt, then throughout Europe after the Gypsies split into Sinti and Roma tribes; members of both migrated to Morocco and Spain. 
“The music style of the Gypsies changed because of Egypt,” Reinhardt said. “If you listen to flamenco it is like Arabian music ... it has nothing to do with Spanish music.”
Since it all began in India, Reinhardt — descended from the Sinti tribe — is very keen to duet with Bhattacharya. 
“Flamenco is exactly Arabian and Indian with the scales,” he said. “This is so interesting for me; especially now playing with this Indian guitarist.” 
The two will perform “Ayshi,” a Reinhardt original, and one of Bhattacharya’s songs. Though none of the four guitarists had met one another prior to a single rehearsal on the eve of the first show, all were well-prepared when the tour kicked off mid-January in Canada. 
“We just send MP3 songs, then we start learning by doing,” Reinhardt said. “It’s a system ... that always works, every single night. It’s always great. I’m excited.”
Reinhardt first joined IGN for the 10th anniversary tour in 2010, after being contacted three years in advance by a booking agent. 
“That was a shock,” he said.
The tour marked a pair of firsts – one for the tour and another for Reinhardt. 
“They had never had a Gypsy before ... and I had never played solo, just videos on YouTube,” he said.
When he took up guitar as a youngster, Reinhardt followed the path of his legendary relative, touring Germany with his father’s band, playing rhythm and bass guitar. After 25 years, he craved change. 
“I made my own sound, which was not easy in the beginning,” he said. “Everyone thought you’d play Django.” 
A moment of epiphany came when an elderly woman, who had met Django and seen him perform in the 1950s, requested “Minor Swing” at a show in Sydney, Australia. When he told her he didn’t play that famous number, she was incredulous. He promised to perform one of the master’s songs that she’d never heard before. 
Reinhardt then kicked into a Gypsy swing version of a song of his own, called “Que Pasa.” His trick worked. 
“She came to me and said, ‘That’s great! I never heard that song from Django,’” Reinhardt said with a laugh. “I told her, ‘Yeah, that’s my song.’ She took it well.”

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