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Fapy Lafertin To Headline Gypsy Jazz Festival Of London 2023



The Gypsy Jazz Festival of London returns this Spring with four nights of performances by internationally renowned musicians between 4-7 May.

Thanks to a generous grant from Arts Council England, the festival, organized by violinist and producer Tobie Medland, promises an exceptional line-up of musicians from Europe and New York.

On May 5th, the festival will be headlined by celebrated Belgian guitarist Fapy Lafertin, who is widely recognized as the modern heir to Django Reinhardt’s crown. Lafertin was responsible for the 1970/80’s resurgence of the Django Reinhardt style with his first band Waso. His fifty years of performing has distinguished him as a truly great artist: harnessing an unmatched melodic sense, clarity of articulation, and technique.

Belgian guitarist Fapy Lafertin

Julien Cattiaux will bring an authentic taste of Parisian Gypsy Jazz, Olli Soikkeli will come direct from New York’s modern scene, and Dutch violinist Tim Kliphuis will showcase an innovative approach that has seen him hailed as a “current-day improvising Paganini”.

Olli Soikkeli

The event also pays tribute to the vibrant – and sometimes overlooked – UK Gypsy Jazz scene. 

Cellist Shirley Smart brings her unique mix of jazz and Middle Eastern sounds to LSO St Lukes, while prolific guitarist and host of the popular podcast ‘Gypsy Jazz Hangouts’ Cornelius Corkery hits Crazy Coqs. British RAKA Balkan Band gives a taste of how the music has evolved on its travels across Eastern Europe and rising star guitarist Sol Grimshaw gives a glimpse into the future guardians of the style.

Cornelius Corkery

As organizer & violinist Tobie Medland comments: “Some of the world’s best gypsy jazz musicians live and play across the UK. As a member of the LGBT community, I have a personal stake in diversifying and promoting the scene, in which I am an active member, and why I founded this festival.”

Organizer & violinist Tobie Medland

Gypsy jazz may have been born in Paris back in the 1930s with artists like Reinhardt and Stéphane Grappelli, but its high energy, sophisticated style, and virtuosic demands have kept its popularity with audiences and musicians alike. 

As jazz fans worldwide know all too well, the much talked-about London scene is in rude health. GJFL aims not just to entertain those existing converts of the style, but to show the wider community how gypsy jazz is still evolving and sounding fresh a century later.

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