Reviewed: Djangology live at The Hand & Heart, Nottingham

6 Mar


I’m pretty new to this reviewing lark and I revel in opportunities wherever I stumble upon them, so when I wandered into The Hand & Heart on Derby Road last night I knew I’d hit the metaphorical jackpot. What started out as a standard pub crawl ended up in one of the best nights of free music I’ve ever heard, and a red-hot gypsy jazz extravaganza! They obviously base their style on Django Reinhardt (clue’s in the name), but they bring so much more besides.

Djangology manage to pull off elaborate jams and jazz standards without a hint of pretension – by no means an easy thing to achieve, how many bands can you think of that can play Mack the Knife without seeming a bit smarmy? – and are technically extraordinary. In fact they sound like a collection of highly trained session musicians and are almost flawless in their playing, yet their style and the feel of their music is more similar to a group of mates having an impromptu jam. It’s that ‘almost perfect’ sound which makes them so special.

The musicians were all ridiculously talented, but two in particular stuck out. The fiddle player was so quick-fingered and inventive it was quite frankly a little scary, and the lead guitarist left us all utterly speechless.

A request by my eclectic and slightly mad boyfriend for some Spanish music resulted in an elaborate, pretty lengthy Spanish-influenced jam, complete with unaccompanied fiddle solos and some terrifyingly quick guitar work. These are the kind of people that make you want to give up music altogether because you just know you’ll never be that good.

A friend of mine who was with me who’s been going to gigs all over the country for the better part of 30 years, told me that he’s never seen musicians of that standard for free. Ever. If one statement could sum up just how brilliant these guys are, I think that would be it.

(Unfortunately I couldn’t find a website for the band, there’s a Djangology on MySpace but I don’t think it’s the same people. Come on boys, Google yourselves and find this so I can link to you!)

EDIT: They did get back to me! They have changed their name to Djongology (the ‘a’ is replaced with an ‘o’)  to avoid confusion with other bands. Here is a link to Ben Holder (the fiddle player)’s myspace: Enjoy!


12 Responses to “Reviewed: Djangology live at The Hand & Heart, Nottingham”

  1. Stuart March 6, 2009 at 4:58 pm #

    Reckon this is them –

  2. Stuart March 6, 2009 at 5:00 pm #

  3. Stuart March 6, 2009 at 5:01 pm #

  4. Sarah Morrison March 6, 2009 at 8:29 pm #

    No the fiddle player was a guy, I’m pretty sure it’s not them.. plus their gig listings don’t include the one I saw. I think they might just be a jam band to be honest, but I’m going back to pub soon so I’ll ask if they’ve got any contact details!

  5. Ben Holder April 28, 2009 at 3:18 pm #

    Hi, I am Ben Holder, the “quick fingered” violin player!
    Thankyou for the very kind review.
    We have recently changed our name to Djongology (notice the “a” has been replaced by an “o”).We changed the name, as there are so many Djangology bands about.
    My myspace page is
    Thanks again,

    • Sarah Morrison April 28, 2009 at 3:43 pm #

      Fan-bloody-tastic! Thanks for commenting, you’re very welcome for the write up. Good idea with the name change, much less confusion! I’ll be seeing you at the Malt Cross soon 🙂

  6. Steve Peters May 26, 2010 at 8:49 pm #

    Hello Sarah. I’ve only just found your wonderful review. Richard the lead guitarist hadn’t seen it either, so regretfully, as Ben the Fiddler already knew of it but didn’t tell us, we’ll have to break his fingers. Sad, but these things have to be done.
    Ben at present doesn’t play the Hand and Heart – he has forthcoming gigs at Beeston Vic and the Lion at Basford, though. Would you mind if I used extracts from your review on my website? – it beats anything we could think up ourselves. Thanks again. Steve the bass player. PS lots of stuff of us on youtube.

    • Sarah Morrison May 27, 2010 at 9:29 am #

      Haha you can’t break his fingers, the he’ll just be ‘Ben the man’ and that just won’t do.

      Of course you can use the review, repost it wherever you like! If you could link back here though that would be lovely 🙂

      By the way, did you lot do some recording with Jack at StoneSoup recently? If so check in a couple of days as we used the recordings in a podcast called ‘LeftLion Sessions’!

  7. Steve Peters May 29, 2010 at 9:57 am #

    Higher Sarah. If the recording you are talking about was done on Alfred (or is it Alford) Street – yes it was us. All overdubbed stuff – we were never all there at the same time. Our next local gig is the Lion, Mosley Street Basford, 1.30pm July 18th – unless somebody else books us in the meantime. If you’re there, you might get a pint bought for you.
    Thanks again for everything.
    PS Ben’s fingers are safe (actually what I mean is Ben’s fingers are in the safe).

    • Sarah Morrison June 3, 2010 at 11:24 am #

      Yeah that’s the one! Sounds good for overdubbed recordings.

      I’ll try and make it to that gig, if I don’t I’ll be at one a tad more local if there are any more coming up 🙂

      You’re very welcome, glad you found my little blog!

      All the best

      • Steve Peters June 11, 2010 at 9:02 am #

        Higher Sarah,
        Three quarters of Djongology (alas without Ben) will be at the Hand and Heart Thursday 17th June, if you happen to be passing.

  8. Steve Peters August 1, 2010 at 2:38 pm #

    Djongology, back intact at the Hand and Heart, Thursday August 19th, 8.30pm

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s