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The Onyx Club Boys Bring The Music Of Django Reinhardt Back To Life

The Onyx Club Boys approach Django Reinhardt's music with a joie de vivre that would make the jazz legend proud.
Courtesy of Gabriel Pelli
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The Onyx Club Boys approach Django Reinhardt's music with a joie de vivre that would make the jazz legend proud.

Guitarist and composer Django Reinhardt is regarded as one of the greatest musicians of the 20th century. The Romani-French composer gave birth to a new form of music in the 1930s known as gypsy jazz or Django music. The genre calls on classical and jazz traditions and is deeply influenced by the musette bands of Paris. 

Gypsy music is at the core of the repertoire of the Onyx Club Boys. Violinist and guitarist Gabriel Pelli is classically trained and had never heard of Django music until a friend asked him to join a band. Pelli fell in love with the music and has been playing it ever since. He also founded the annual Carrboro Django Reinhardt Festival, which is in its second year.

Host Frank Stasio talks to Pelli and the rest of the Onyx Club Boys: guitarist Dave Smith, drummer Daniel Hall, and bassist Jonathan Henderson. The Onyx Club Boys will be at headlining the first night of the Carrboro Django Reinhardt Festival at Cat’s Cradle on Saturday, Jan. 19. 

Amanda Magnus grew up in Maryland and went to high school in Baltimore. She became interested in radio after an elective course in the NYU journalism department. She got her start at Sirius XM Satellite Radio, but she knew public radio was for her when she interned at WNYC. She later moved to Madison, where she worked at Wisconsin Public Radio for six years. In her time there, she helped create an afternoon drive news magazine show, called Central Time. She also produced several series, including one on Native American life in Wisconsin. She spends her free time running, hiking, and roller skating. She also loves scary movies.
Longtime NPR correspondent Frank Stasio was named permanent host of The State of Things in June 2006. A native of Buffalo, Frank has been in radio since the age of 19. He began his public radio career at WOI in Ames, Iowa, where he was a magazine show anchor and the station's News Director.