Vintage Guitar - June 2018 - open - 95

Poster for the 1932 movie Clair de Lune.

waltz with accordionist Vetese
Guérino. For years, the song's
dazzling guitar work was believed
to be proof of Django's early
genius, but was actually played by
Baro - likely using the Rámirez.
But the tables turned in the early
years of the Quintette du Hot Club
de France; Reinhardt was by then
playing the leads with Baro as his
sideman - Baro was focusing his
forces on more lucrative side ventures in the Parisian underworld.
Both Django and Baro used the
Rámirez in emulation of one of their
mentors, fellow Gypsy guitarist
Jean "Poulette" Castro, who was
revered as Le Grand Gitan among

the Roma of Paris. Castro was a
wizard of the strings. Along with
his brother, Laro, and two other
Gitan musicians, Coco and Serrani
Garcia, he formed Le Quatuor à
Plectre. With layered guitars
and the multi-timbred sounds of
mandolins, banjos, and bandurias,
they recorded enchanting original
instrumentals like "Valse Poulette."
Reinhardt also backed singer
Rosita Barrios on several sides.
Because he could read musical
notation, Poulette was a rarity
among Gypsy musicians of Paris,
which earned him a seat in the
pit orchestra at the city's Théâtre
du Châtelet, accompanying

theatrical presentations and operas.
Among fellow Roma,
he was considered an
encyclopedia of Gypsy
music; having traveled
the continent as well as
to England, his fingers contained a vast repertoire of
Gypsy melodies, flamenco
songs, dance tunes, and
waltzes of all nations.
Poulette taught Django
and Baro a new style
of playing by blending
flamenco influences with
a more-modern fashion of
holding and picking the
instrument. Playing his
own Rámirez, Poulette
used a pick on the steel
strings for volume and instructed the young players
to keep their right hands
off the soundboard, loose
and free for fast playing.
It was Poulette's
example and style
Django would take into
the future, leading
to the development of Gypsy

The unique
neck joint.

June 2018

95

VINTAGE GUITAR

1930s Julián Gómez
Rámirez wappen
guitar with Brazilian
rosewood back and
sides and a softwood
soundboard.

jazz. Matelo Ferret was
likely also influenced by
Poulette, later became one
of Django's sidemen, and
went on to record stylish
Gypsy guitar music of his
own. And he later passed
along his legacy to sons
Boulou and Elios Ferré.
This guitar is believed to
have been made for Baro
Ferret's younger brother,
Jean "Matelo" Ferret, and
was perhaps borrowed by
Django in the early '30s.
Its build recalls a style of
Italian and French guitar
from the late 19th century
with a body shaped like
a shield or coat of arms;
it's called "wappen"
today in reference
to the many later
built in Germany. -
Michael Dregni


http://www.vintageguitar.com/

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Vintage Guitar - June 2018 - open

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Vintage Guitar - June 2018 - open - Cover
Vintage Guitar - June 2018 - open - IFC
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