Arts and Entertainment

The Djammin’ begins in Langley

The Denis Chang Quartet was the first performance of the night at DjangoFest on Wednesday, Sept. 18. - Celeste Erickson / The Record
The Denis Chang Quartet was the first performance of the night at DjangoFest on Wednesday, Sept. 18.
— image credit: Celeste Erickson / The Record

Guitarists and fans from all over are gathering in Langley this week for the 13th annual gypsy jazz festival.

Put on by the Whidbey Island Center for the Arts, DjangoFest kicked off with the music of the Hot Club of Troy at Zech Hall on Wednesday, Sept. 18.

More than 50 people attended the performance during the night, with some strolling by just for the opening show.

The newly formed band included Troy Chapman, Patrick McClintock, John Small and Tony Kahn. The music mesmerized gypsy jazz enthusiasts and new listeners alike.

Clinton residents Nancy Hepp and Tom Trimbath came to the event just for the music, which is Hepp’s favorite genre.

“It’s listenable, it’s danceable and it’s very emotional,” she said.

Hepp had lots of fun listening to the music and said she was grateful the arts center put on the concert for the community this year.

Trimbath, an artist and photographer, came to the event for the free music.

“I’m an artist, but I can’t pay for the arts,” he said. 

The two danced to the tunes of gypsy jazz throughout the night.

Langley resident Maria Cablao had never heard of gypsy jazz before coming to the opening performance.

She said the music was a lot softer than she would have thought and enjoyed the genre. It was a beautiful night for a concert, she said.

Later in the evening the Denis Chang Quartet played the first performance, swaying audience members into the night with his compositions and, at times, jokes.

The musical group Caravan with Marc Atkinson and Daniel Lapp tipped off the night with their entrancing music.

Ruth Camp travelled from Puyallup and was excited to see Marc Atkinson perform, one of her favorite artists. Camp has attended DjangoFest for eight years; the festival is a long tradition with her friends on the island, she said.

“There’s fabulous energy here,” Camp said.

She loved how the artists combined various compositions and were fluid when moving from classic compositions to contemporary and to their own work, Camp said.

She added that she thought the staff did a great job staging and welcoming audience members. 

This year also features a new interactive phone platform for festival-goers to interact with each other during each performance. The application, called “fonograf,” features information and multimedia for each show at DjangoFest, said Brent Friedman, founder and chief creative officer at Rainspark Labs, where the app was created. The app will only be available for iPhone users.

DjangoFest will run through Sunday night and will include headliner Fapy Lafertin, the most celebrated gypsy guitarist today. This is his first performance at DjangoFest.

Lafertin will play at 8 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 21 at Langley Middle School and again at 6 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 22 at the middle school.

Lafertin will also teach a workshop on Django Reinhardt and gypsy jazz at WICA from noon to 2 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 22.

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