BIOGRAPHY ( usa )
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A long time before Europeans discovered Jazz there was already music existent in Europe which is in many aspects comparable to Jazz: the Music of the Rom and the Sinti.

This music was also characterized by improvisation, an unrestricted honest expression and also with a deep yearning for freedom and human dignity. The" Rom and Sinti" lived (and partly they still do) in a sociological situation similar to American Blacks. This might be an explanation for their affinity for Jazz as well as their inborn musicality especially their talent for string instruments. But it needed the genius of " Django Reinhardt " to make Jazz lovers aware that gipsy musical traditions and the "Spirit of Jazz " gave birth to a new, highly explosive and deeply moving blend of music.

Django Reinhardt's premature death in 1953 did not spell an end to this new blend of music, there were and there are many Rom- and Sinti-Jazzer. One of them is the famous guitarrist "Harri Stojka" who is known far beyond Austria.

At the age of six (1963) the Viennese Harri Stojka - a descendant of the Lovara-Rom-Dynasty from the Bagareschtschi tribe - started to play the guitar. His professional carreer started with the group Jano + Harri Stojka in the Arena. Shortly after young Harri became a bassist in the Karl Ratzer band "Gipy Love" and then again a guitarrist for Peter Wolfs "Objektiv Truth Orchestra. After dissolution of this band he formed his first "Harri Stojka Express" in 1973. During this time he played among others for Richard Schönherz, Andre Heller, Erika Pluhar, Oliva Molin, Peter Schleicher,"Novaks Kapelle", Terry Bozzio and Patrick O'Hearn.

One cornerstone of his career became the Open Air Festival in the Viennese Prater Stadion (1981) where the "Harri Stojka Express" was the only Austrian participant besides international stars like Jimmy Cliff, Eric Burden, Van Morrison and Carlos Santana. Soon thereafter Harri Stojka received an offer to take part in the "Guitar-Summit" in Montreux where he performed next to Larry Coryell, Bireli Lagrene and Harry Pepl. This performance got highly acclaimed by crititics and collegues. The LP "Live at Montreux" is an impressive proof of this event which turned out to be one of the key experiences in the career of Harri Stojka.

Since then Harri Stojka has always been one of the most preeminent Austrian Jazz musicians. The Austrian Music critic Walter Richard Langer wrote once about Harri Stojka: "Lots of Bluesfeeling combined with a sublime mastership of the guitar which is presented with a fascinating playful easyness". Experiencing and creating fun and joy through playing music ist the philosophy of Harri Stojka. Though having already produced many records, live concerts are his top priority as the interaction with the audience stimulates his artistic output. Harri Stojka is a musician who is constantly reinventing himself and he is open to all new trends in music. His versatility permits him to work on different projects like Mainstream, Fusion up to Gipsy-Pop.

Current projects: Express (Bebop to Modern Jazz), Gitancoeur (Ethno-Jazz to Gipsy-Pop) the CD of this Project was nominated for the Austrian Music Award "Amadeus", Gitancour for children (a journey to Rom told with music) is a kids program, Readings with his father from the book "Papierene Kinder", Innerestadt (Rock pur), Gipsysoul (Acustic Jazz and Gipsy-Traditionals), Guitar workshops.

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