Van Django is an acoustic string ensemble made up of four of Canada's most talented and eclectic musicians; violinist Cameron Wilson, guitarist Budge Schachte, guitarist/cellist Finn Manniche and bassist Brent Gubbels.
Van Django's music is well-rooted in the gypsy jazz of 1930's Paris France, but beyond that it's all pure blue-skying; flights of dazzling fancy, driving rhythms and boundless creativity featuring original compositions and arrangements including humorous mash-ups that showcase their eclectic influences in full regalia.
Since the group's formation in 1998, they have toured extensively in Canada as well as international forays to the USA, Europe and China.
The group has had repeat performances at Djangofest Northwest (DFNW) on Whidbey Island, 2008, 2010 and 2016
They have released 3 CD's "Tiptoe Trip", "Waltz in the Shape of a Tree" and a Christmas CD with special guests titled, "Cool Yule". Their CD's have been well received and played on many radio stations at home and abroad including; CBC, RDI, Espace Musique, NPR and Lyric FM in Ireland.
This past April, the band released its 2nd CD "Waltz in the Shape of a Tree".
Perhaps Nick Lehr, director of Djangofest Northwest, summed it up best describing Van Django when he said:
"In an increasingly crowded niche, Van Django is a standout act. With a clever mix of contemporary standards, classical ditties, rock homages and solid originals they effortlessly whip the audience into a joyful frenzy. Attending a Van Django concert is the most fun you can have sitting down with your clothes on."
- NICK LEHR - DJANGOFEST DIRECTOR - USA
Here's what other folks are saying about the group
“Van Django tosses off jaw-dropping technical licks with effortless ease, but above all, they entertain hugely, with every bar of every tune — tried and true or keenly original.”
- JURGEN GOETHE, HOST, CBC DISC DRIVE - CANADA
"Van Django can deliver acoustic power chords with the lustrous tone of a classical string ensemble while staying fully stoked on the spirit of the Quintette of the Hot Club of France."
- MICHAEL JUK, HOST, CBC WESTCOAST MUSIC - CANADA
CAMERON WILSON, Violin
Cameron Wilson is currently a violinist in the National Broadcast Orchestra, Van Django, Joe Trio, The Hard Rubber Orchestra and Mariachi del Sol. He is also a composer/arranger whose works have been performed by numerous symphony orchestras and ensembles and soloists across Canada and the U.S. He has collaborated with CBC author and storyteller Stuart Mclean and the CBC Radio Orchestra on "History of Canada" and "I Remember Wayne". In 2007 he composed the music for the NFB film "Citizen Sam". The music was nominated for a 2007 Leo Award for best music in a documentary film. In 2009 he composed and premiered a violin concerto with the Hard Rubber Orchestra. Most recently he composed the music for the short film "Sikat", one of six films featured in Vancouver's Crazy 8's short film festival in March 2010.
BUDGE SCHACHTE, Guitar
Budge has worked with a stellar cast of diverse artists including; play-write Tomson Highway, Ache Brazil, Denis Chang, Coco Trevisano, Jesse Zubot, Sal Ferreras, John Korsrud, Olam, Jennifer Scott, Leora Cashe, Chor Leoni Mens Choir, Budge Schachte Quartet as well as numerous symphony orchestra shows with Tango Paradiso, and recently (2013) with the VSO playing John Adams "El Nino"...
He appears on several film soundtracks as well as composing, performing and recording his first feature film soundtrack for the film, "Love And Other Dilemmas".
FINN MANNICHE, Guitar & Cello
Finn is a versatile and passionate musician with a Music degree fron UBC and a penchant for playing anything and everything, whether on guitar or cello. He plays Swing and New Music, Bach to Bacharach, Surf and other worldly sounds. He can be heard playing live and on CD with: the Armadillo String Quartet, Ensemble Symposium, the Jazzmanian Devils, Soul Crib, the Paperboys, Denzel Sinclair, 54/40, Murray McLauglin, Mae Moore and Cam Wilson’s varying orchestral extravanganzas.
BRENT GUBBELS, Acoustic Bass
Brent Gubbels has been a Vancouver based professional musician and teacher for nearly twenty years. In that time he’s worked with a number of local musicians and ensembles including the Hard Rubber Orchestra, Gypsalero, Rumba Calzada, John Reischman, the Vince Mai Project, Jesse Zubot, Dal Richards, Lee Aaron and Dee Daniels.
Since 1992, he has toured North America and Europe extensively and played a variety of international jazz and folk festivals. Brent can be heard on recordings by Oscar Lopez, Gypsalero, Juno nominees Susan Crowe and Compadres, Juno winner James Keelaghan, and others.