Stephane Wrembel: Music As ‘A Question Of Life And Death’

The French guitarist, whose playing can be heard throughout Woody Allen's Midnight in Paris, discusses his new album and the enduring influence of Django Reinhardt.
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Written by NPR Staff from National Public Radio

If you’re a moviegoer, there’s a good chance you’ll recognize Stephane Wrembel’s sound, if not his name.

The oh-so-French guitar heard throughout Woody Allen’s Midnight in Paris is the work of the Parisian-born musician. Wrembel says he gleaned his style of playing from the musicians at a Gypsy camp in the French countryside, which he would visit several times a week growing up.

“Music, for the Gypsies, is a question of life and death,” he tells NPR’s David Greene. “It’s a way to communicate with the world. It’s a way to be one with the universe. It’s not like I sit and I have fun or I have no fun; there’s no concept like that. Music is vital. It’s like eating.”

One can’t listen to Wrembel’s music without thinking of the most famous Gypsy musician of them all, the Belgian jazz guitarist Django Reinhardt.

“I listened to my first Django record, as a musician, when I was 19 or 20 — and I thought it was completely magic,” Wrembel says. “I heard notes that I never heard before. There was a complete, different, hidden language. And this is their way of communicating; it’s a very subtle way, and a very poetic way, and a very spiritual way to communicate with each other with music.”

In the full version of this interview, Stephane Wrembel discusses his new album, Origins, and demonstrates some of the music that has inspired his guitar playing. Click the audio link for more.

Copyright 2012 National Public Radio. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

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