Lingua djanca: a brief introduction to gypsy jazz terminology

Gadje:
Romani term for non-Gypsy.
Gitans:
Spanish-based Romani.
Grande Bouche:
French for ‘large mouth.’ The original Selmer jazz guitar designed by Maccaferri, with a large, D-shaped sound hole. This design is still preferred by rhythm players in jazz Manouche ensembles.
Gypsy jazz:
Genre of music evolved after American jazz came to Europe, created by Romani musicians living around Paris in the 1930s, notably Pierre “Baro” Ferret and Django Reinhardt. Also called Hot Club swing, after Django’s first jazz ensemble, le Quintette du Hot Club de France.
Jazz Manouche:
More widely accepted term for Gypsy jazz, from the French branch of the Romani people, the Manouche.
Petite Bouche:
French for ‘small mouth.’ The Selmer acoustic jazz guitar preferred by Django, featuring a small, oval-shaped sound hole for more intense solo projection. Only around a thousand Selmer petite bouche guitars were ever built.
La pompe:
The rhythm technique used by Gypsy guitarists in Hot Club swing music. In English, it means “the pump.” This distinct pulse allows one or two guitarists to take the place of drums and keyboard in a traditional Hot Club group.
Roma, Romani:
Proper name of the ethnic group commonly known as the Gypsies. The Romani people are believed to have been displaced from Northern India around 1,000 A.D.
Selmer:
Parisian musical instrument company which produced Django Reinhardt’s favorite guitar, originally designed for Selmer by Italian luthier Mario Maccaferri. Production on these guitars stopped in the early 1950s.
Sinti:
Also Cinti. Romani people primarily based in Germany and the Netherlands.
Wegen:
Special handcrafted guitar pick made by Dutch artisan Michael Wegen. Formed from synthetic material resembling natural tortoise shell, this plectrum is universally preferred by jazz Manouche guitarists across the globe.

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August 04, 2008 · 0 comments

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