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Monday, March 21, 2011

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Django Reinhardt
"At the age of 18, Reinhardt was injured in a fire that ravaged the caravan he shared with Florine "Bella" Mayer, his first wife.  They were very poor, and to supplement their income Bella made imitation flowers out of celluloid and paper. Consequently, their home was full of this highly flammable material. Returning from a performance late one night, Reinhardt apparently knocked over a candle on his way to bed. While his family and neighbours were quick to pull him to safety, he received first- and second-degree burns over half his body. His right leg was paralysed and the third and fourth fingers of his left hand were badly burned. Doctors believed that he would never play guitar again and intended to amputate one of his legs.  Reinhardt refused to have the surgery and left the hospital after a short time; he was able to walk within a year with the aid of a cane."

"His brother Joseph Reinhardt, an accomplished guitarist himself, bought Django a new guitar. With rehabilitation and practice he relearned his craft in a completely new way, even as his third and fourth fingers remained partially paralysed. He played all of his guitar solos with only two fingers, and used the two injured digits only for chord work."


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