A few weeks ago I arrived back in Hobart after spending 3 months overseas studying gypsy jazz guitar.
This trip was made possible due to the huge generosity of arts funding bodies the Australian Arts Council, Arts Tasmania, Regional Arts Tasmania and the Phonographic Performance Company of Australia. Without the funding of these organisations the scope of my trip would have been much smaller. A huge thanks to all of them. For Australian musicians/artists reading this, please look into these organisations as a possible source of funding for your arts practice, I’ve linked the above titles to the relevant websites. One great opportunity is the Art Start program offered by the Australian Arts Council
I spent most of my time overseas living just outside of Paris, in the suburb Aubervilliers. I also spent a few weeks in the U.S.A. at the start of my trip where I went along to the annual Django in June music camp.
It was a great few months, and kind of seems like it was a bit of a dream now that I’m back in Tasmania. I met so many brilliant musicians and went along to countless jam sessions and concerts in Paris, and took many lessons with the world’s leading experts in gypsy jazz style guitar playing.
I was very very fortunate to be able to take some lessons from my favorite guitar, Sebastien Giniaux. This was a dream come true for me. Sebastien is such an incredible musician, and a really nice guy too. Some other musicians I had the fortune of studying with while abroad were Mathieu Chatelian, Samy Daussat, Tcha Limberger, Christophe Lartilleux, Thomas Baggerman, Reinier Voet, William Brunard, Romain Vuillemin, Jean-Philippe Watramez, and Antoine Boyer.
It is great to be back in Tasmania, where I look forward to sharing what I’ve learnt with students and audiences alike.
Whilst away I also purchased a beautiful French-made gypsy jazz guitar, handmade by master guitar luthier Antoine Prabel, who lives just outside of Lyon in France. Antoine and I first met at the Samois-sur-Seine Festival of Django Reinhardt in June this year, where jazz-manouche luthiers annually display their wares. He had one guitar in particular that really left an impression on me, but had already sold.
When I visited him in Lyon two months later, he had made me two guitars to try. I walked away with the beautiful model you can see on the homepage of this website, which he named the Tasmanian Tiger because of the characteristic striped that appear on the back of the neck. It is such a beautiful guitar, and a real upgrade from the Gitane I have had since 2010.