Interview With Gypsy Jazz Guitarist Jonny Hepbir In Margate Mercury

Updated: Jun 12, 2019



Kent based Gypsy Jazz/Django Reinhardt style guitarist and Gypsy Jazz guitar tutor Jonny Hepbir featured interview in this month's edition of popular local Arts and Culture paper, the Margate Mercury.


I had great fun recently answering some questions and lifting the lid on what's been making me tick as a professional musician for the Margate Mercury. Very flattered to be asked to do this, it was a good excuse to trawl the memory for some hopefully, interesting answers for readers who follow different paths artistically and may not have come across me before.


There was a tiny typo on the 'Who have been your favourite musicians to play with' question which I have to mention. It should read LULU Reinhardt not Lulo Reinhardt, I've never played with Lulo (a fantastic guitarist in his own right).


Lulu Reinhardt was big influence on my Gypsy Jazz playing and still is. He was an influential German player from the late 70's and early 80's who received great acclaim with the Titi Winterstein Quintet. His stylised, unique playing, along with his brother Geisela Reinhardt, rhythm guitarist Ziroli Winterstein and violinist Titi, helped create the world-famous sound of the TWQ during that era.


I had the unbelievable pleasure and good fortune to meet and jam with Lulu on a few occasions at his home in Germany in 2009 and 2013. These musical meetings came via the long friendship he had with mutual friend, the great Dutch Django-style guitarist and Luthier, Rino Van Hooijdonk. We even brought Lulu over to the UK for a couple of festival dates in 2010.


Very sadly, Lulu passed away from a short illness a couple of years ago but I like to think that the initial videos we shot of the jams in 2009 on Youtube helped in some small way to reacquaint the Gypsy Jazz community with this formidable musician. Like with every progressive style, he'd been over-shadowed in latter years by the younger generations of super-guitarists. Lulu quite rightly had a renaissance period soon after we first went over and he ended up doing quite a few European festivals and dates, including the Django Reinhardt Festival at Samois Sur Seine in France.


Here's a selfie with the grand-master in Germany in 2013.


Here's a video of 'Some Of These Days' in Germany 2013, jamming with Lulu, Rino and Jason my band mate from the JONNY HEPBIR TRIO, happy days indeed.



If you like Gypsy Jazz and the Django Reinhardt style of playing then a good way to learn is attending various jam meetings held all over the country. I've been running an informal one for three years in Kent called KENT DJANGO JAM held monthly at the Frog And Orange Pub in Shatterling near Canterbury. You can find us on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. All acoustic instruments welcome, everyone's very friendly and encouraging. You don't even have to play, it's good for a hang and listen too.


Here's the March poster.


JONNY HEPBIR is also a respected Gypsy Jazz guitar tutor with lessons available one-to-one or via Skype. Please click HERE for more details.


Jonny Hepbir is available to hire for weddings, private parties, corporate functions and public events throughout the UK and abroad.


His enviable client list includes the likes of Sir Paul McCartney, Sir Terence Conran, Roman Abramovich and Kool & The Gang and he has played at venues and events from The Ritz to Paris and Morocco.


Click HERE to read letters from past clients.


To hire Jonny Hepbir for your event, please call +44 (0)7712 332967 or email info@jonnyhepbir.co.uk


Jonny can also be hired with his Duo, Trio, Quartet (with or without vocals) and Quintet.  Please click HERE for more information.




COntact US

Tel: +44 (0) 7712 332967

Email: info@jonnyhepbir.co.uk

Jonny is based in Margate, Kent, UK

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