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Harri Stojka

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Harri Stojka is an Austrian Gypsy Swing Guitarist. He comes from a Roma Gypsy family that surrounded him with rhythm and harmony before he could even talk. When Harri Stojka was a kid, his dad gave him a plastic guitar he got at the fair. Only six years old, little Harri was visibly fascinated by it. So Harri’s father didn’t waste any time and bought him a real instrument that was appropriate for his age. From that point on, the classical or Spanish guitar became the focus of all of Harri’s attention.

His first impressions of music came from the Beatles. When Harri was still a little child, his mother would sing Beatles songs to him. When he was a bit older, guitarist George Harrison was his absolute guitar god. Harri Stojka spells his first name with an “I” in deference to the name George Harrison. His sister Sissi always listened to the latest soul records at home, sister Doris was into English rock, and Harri’s mother liked Elvis Presley. So a colorful mixture of various musical styles influenced Harri’s world. His father’s musical idol was Frank Sinatra, if only because the Americans - or more precisely General Patton of the 3rd US Army - liberated him from the hell of captivity. At Christmas celebrations after the war, the older members of the family sang Sinatra songs with Romany lyrics as well as heartrending Romany songs from the past in memory of the family members who had died in concentration camp and others who had passed away. Harri and his cousins always hide under the tables. They wished they could just run away to escape the gloomy atmosphere. This, too, influenced Harri’s musical expression.

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