Music has been the language of Bireli since his youth, particularly, the sounds of Django Reinhardt. Identifying his gift, Bireli’s gypsy family in Alsace nurtured his talent by letting his father and brother teach him with strength and precision.
However, the most essential lesson he learned in those early years was freedom. "Django’s music helped me to see what is happening elsewhere," he likes to recall.
The call of the sea and music led Bireli to walk outside the family clan. He wishes to stay true to himself and journey a path according to his own artistic star. To achieve this, Biréli didn’t hesitate to break out of the gypsy cocoon and embark on the path of fusion.
He met Jaco Pastorius, with which Bireli shared the stage in 1986. Jaco heavily influenced Bireli’s guitar playing; so much so that he mimicked Jaco’s style and adaptability.
This meeting unlocked Bireli’s insatiable curiosity, extraordinary musical taste, and affinity for a variety of musical materials. He then experienced all the jazz world had to offer, meeting the unique and compelling personalities of the scene.
The 90s and 2000s
The 1990s is when Bireli started gaining recognition for playing both standard and classical jazz. He won multiple awards, including a Django d'Or in 1993. Bireli also won the Victoire de la Musique in 2001 and 2002.
In the 2000s, he faced an incredible challenge as a musician of his caliber. He wished to play the music of his early years without falling into the narcissistic trap that comes with this type of practice.
This challenge has led to the creation of Gipsy Project, a musical project that many consider a triumph.
Bireli Lagrene in the Present
Today, Bireli continues to play the guitar and hone his skills and knowledge as a jazz musician. He searches for new formulas, inspiration, and music to explore and learn.