Arts & Culture Maplewood

What the Heck Is Django a Go Go?

Stephane Wrembel solo by Jason Elon Goodman

Maplewood being Maplewood, it’s not so unusual to discover that your neighbor happens to be a celebrated author, or that your kid’s soccer coach is an award-winning actor. So it comes as no surprise that Maplewood’s own Stephane Wrembel is widely considered to be one of the world’s most gifted guitarists. For the third year in a row, I am privileged to work with Stephane on behalf of the Township to bring the “Django A Go Go International Music Festival and Camp” to Maplewood.

First, to clear up some confusion about the name: Django (pronounced JANGO) is for Django Reinhardt, a legendary and enigmatic Gypsy guitarist whose name is synonymous with the unique style of guitar playing he created. You’d know his sound the moment you hear it.

The Camp portion of the Festival involves workshops and masterclasses. Over two dozen guitarists from around the country have paid $950 for the privilege of attending. What makes Django A Go Go so worth their time and treasure are the instructors. For those in that corner of the music universe, the teaching musicians involved in Django A Go Go are superstars, and the chance to learn from them in small groups is an opportunity not to be missed.

In addition to the prestige that comes with this one of a kind Festival, Maplewood hosts a series of public concerts spread over three nights. Each performance features a different combination of musicians involved in the Camp. The concerts are on Wednesday, April 24, Thursday, April 25, and Friday, April 26, all at 8pm.

It would be easy to slip into hyperbole trying to describe these performances. They are indeed brilliant, and the performances jaw-dropping. But what makes these concerts so very special, is that they are happening here. You wouldn’t be surprised to see musicians of this caliber performing together in any of the world’s great music cities, New York, Paris, Chicago or New Orleans. And yet, here in our small New Jersey enclave, we have the chance to see these performers with an audience of just a few hundred.

As if to make the point, many of the same artists performing in Maplewood will be on stage at Town Hall in NYC on Saturday the 26th for Django A Go Go All Star Jam. Tickets for concerts in Maplewood are $30 each or $70 for all 3 concerts. As a music lover, you’ll be blown away. As a member of the community, you’ll be reminded that Maplewood is a very special place to live.

Andrew Fishman

Maplewood Office of Cultural Affairs

More information and links for ticket purchases at www.djangoagogo.com.

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