La Petite Manouche is a collaboration between Christchurch guitarists Burke Goffe and Robbie Averill, with the aim of creating a blend of the Parisian wartime gypsy jazz music popularised by Django Reinhardt with modern jazz, world, folk, classical music and more.
Formed in 2008 (ish), La Petite Manouche have been gigging extensively in Christchurch. The release of their debut album Legacy, as a sort of tribute to Django Reinhardt, saw them tour around New Zealand throughout February and March 2011 promoting the album and their music, with much success. More tours are planned for 2011/2012 - check out the gig diary to keep updated!
Burke began playing the guitar while in high school and decided to pursue a career in music at the CPIT Jazz School by enrolling in their Jazz programme in 2006. His musical interests were largely centered in rock and metal music before jazz music was drilled into his soul by the program. He studied under New Zealand jazz guitar legend Bob Heinz and Harry Harrison, a great combination of tutors as Bob taught more traditional swing (and gypsy jazz), while Harry taught more modern jazz concepts.
Receipient of the 2007 First Year Guitarist's Award at the CPIT Jazz School, Burke went on to win the 2008 Jack Urlwin Scholarship as he completed his course as well. He continued studying in 2009 to complete a Bachelor of Music with Honours majoring in Jazz Performance Guitar, studying under Auckland based guitarist Dixon Nacey, and writing a research dissertation on gypsy jazz music in New Zealand.
Since graduating, Burke spent a further year studying French, Maori and Spanish language at the University of Canterbury, while actively gigging with a variety of musicians all over New Zealand. He enjoys a keen game of poker and a wailing, distorted guitar solo.
Robbie was born in Christchurch and started playing the guitar at age 14 while at high school, after spending most of his life learning classical piano. A short stint on the bass guitar in the first two years of high school left him wanting more strings, and progressed on to the guitar. He made the decision at 16 to finish school and begin studying for a Bachelor of Music in Jazz through the CPIT Jazz School and the University of Canterbury.
The time at the CPIT Jazz School saw him study under Bob Heinz, Harry Harrison and Andrew Genge, and he met many talented musicians (including Burke). After graduating from the CPIT Jazz School/University of Canterbury majoring in Jazz Performance Guitar and Jazz Composition/Arranging, Robbie enrolled in a further year of study at UC with the same majors, which saw him study under Dixon Nacey. His MusB research paper was on Django Reinhardt, and the history of gypsy jazz music, and his Honours dissertation was on Gunther Schuller and his Third Stream music.
Since 2007, Robbie has been regularly gigging with Burke and others, and performing in a variety of musical contexts such as musical theatre orchestras, jazz groups, big bands, and a three year stint as a choral scholar with the Cathedral of the Blessed Sacrament choir.
Robbie enjoys playing pool, and has been an active committee member of Pool Canterbury for many years. He also likes travelling, cooking, a good cup of coffee and a good game of poker. In the future, Robbie hopes to travel with his music, meeting musicians from all over the world and having a great time while doing it.