Tribute to Reinhardt’s music

Violinist Daniel Weltlinger.

EVERY year in June, the sleepy French town of Samois-sur-Seine comes alive with musical activity as fans of Django Reinhardt’s gypsy jazz-style music arrive from around the world for the Festival Django Reinhardt. 

In 2004, Sydney-born violinist and composer Daniel Weltlinger – now based in Berlin – was among those fans at the festival and became engrossed with Reinhardt’s music.

Weltlinger decided to make a trio of tribute albums to Reinhardt’s work – the first album, Souvenirs (2011), celebrated Reinhardt as a composer; the second album, Koblenz (2015), was dedicated to the Reinhardt family; and the third album, Samoreau, which is being launched on Sunday at the Camelot Lounge in Marrickville, is dedicated to Reinhardt’s fans.

Samoreau is a very multi-layered album,” says Weltlinger. “It showcases compositions influenced by the enduring gypsy swing style that Reinhardt pioneered in the 1930s.

“I’ve been playing for years with members of Reinhardt’s family, and I feel very connected to the mix within the music – some swing, some jazz, a little melancholia and nostalgia.”

Weltlinger was inspired to become a musician by his grandfather, who played the violin every day until he died aged 96.

“If you grow up with someone you adore, there’s something special about it. Music has always been in me,” he says.

At 18, Weltlinger’s grandfather walked from Hungary to France carrying a violin and very little else. He then joined the French resistance during World War II, escaped from a French prison, fought in the English army and settled in Morocco. For all this time he kept the violin, which is now on display in Weltlinger’s mother’s house.

In 2012, Weltlinger moved to Berlin to further his musical career with greater performance opportunities in Europe.

“I just took the plunge and it just keeps getting better and better,” he says.

Daniel Weltlinger’s album launch concert is at Camelot Lounge, 19 Marrickville Rd, Marrickville on April 9 at 7pm.