La Gitane Intro Origins

DoubleWhiskyDoubleWhisky Upper FranconiaNew Dupont MD60, 1940s Castelluccia
edited January 2023 in History Posts: 141


I'm sure all of you are familiar with the intro that is usually played for "La Gitane" nowadays and kind of became part of the song. For example:

On the famous 1960 version of the original by Tchan Tchou Vidal however this intro is completly absent:

On this live version from 1989 he plays something very similar as intro:

The earliest recorded occurance of it I know of however is not in a "La Gitane" version, but in "Valse á Schnuckenack" from 1970:

Now my question to the historian experts at djangobooks:

Do you know the origins of that intro? Was Tchan Tchou Vidal paying homage to Häns’che Weiss when using a similar intro in the 1989 version? Or did Angelo Debarre hear Tchan Tchou playing a similar intro and went on to pay homage to Häns’che Weiss by using his intro instead? Can it even be attributed to someone specific or is it more of a "traditional intro you can use for any song you like"- thing? In the DC music school course of Tchavolo Schmitt in one episode he shows some intros he likes to use and they do not seem to be attached to a specific song, so is this the traditional way of doing it in the style with a "pool" of traditional intros one uses just how he feels for whatever song?



  • djangologydjangology Portland, OregonModerator
    Posts: 1,018

    Wow Diknu! Never heard that version before. Nice.

    Sounds like a traditional intro to me, probably from long before gypsy jazz, right?

  • ChristopheCaringtonChristopheCarington San Francisco, CA USANew Dupont MD50, Stringphonic Favino, Altamira Chorus
    Posts: 187

    To my ears La Gitane was codified by Angelo. Most modern players are covering his version, not Tchan-Tchou, and even if they pull from Tchan-Tchou they still use the Angelo intro (similar to how everyone smashes together the two versions of Troublant Bolero).

    Where Angelo got it? No clue.

  • stuologystuology New
    Posts: 196

    The intro is really for the band’s benefit to give them a tempo and a cue. It would be tricky to come in all together without it, which makes me wonder if Tchan-Tchou did play it in the studio but edited it out for the release.

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