Paulus Schäfer (born 1978) is today one of the most talented Gypsy Jazz guitarists from The Netherlands. Born into a Dutch Sinti (Gypsy) community he learned to play the guitar at a very early age. Besides listening to fellow Sinti and records of his idol Django Reinhardt, it was Wasso Grünholz – a legend within the Sinti community – from whom he learned the most. After a short period of time, in which Paulus briefly took over the lead guitar of Jimmy Rosenberg in the Gipsy Kids, he formed the Paulus Schäfer Gipsy Band and recorded his debut album Into the Light in 2002, followed by many concerts and numerous – headlining – invitations to jazz festivals: Sziget Festival Budapest (H), Khamoro Prague (CZ), IGGF Gossington (UK), Django Reinhardt Festival Samois-sur-Seine (FR), Gipsy Festival Anger (FR), International Gipsyfestival (NL), International Guitar Festival Kaluga (RU), Django in June (USA), Copenhagen Jazz Festival (DNK), Djangofollies (BEL), Django Liberchies (BEL), Tampere Guitar Festival 2015 (FIN), Seixal Jazz (PO), Jazz Dock Prag (CZ), Victoria Django Festival (CAN), Raduno Mediterraneo Jazz Manouche (ITA), Amersfoort Jazz (NL), Haarlem Jazz (NL), Breda Jazz (NL), Jazz in Duketown (NL), Yes Gouda Jazz, Jazzclub Reduta Prag (CZ), Clamores Madrid (ES), Django Amsterdam (NL), Django a Gogo (US), Carnegie Hall NY (US) etc. to name a few.
Being a musician on high demand, Paulus is often to be found on stage with other musicians like The Rosenberg Trio, Biréli Lagrène, Stochelo Rosenberg, Stephane Wrembel, Al Di Meola, Fapy Lafertin, Larry Keel, Jimmy Rosenberg, Tim Kliphuis, Feigeli Prisor, Andreas Öberg, Olli Soikkeli, Gonzalo Bergara, Ritary Gaguenetti, Jan Kuiper, Jan Akkerman, Peter Beets, Tcha Limberger, Dominique Paats etc. and can be found on many albums. He also recorded two more albums with his own group in 2006, Desert Fire and Live at the NWE Vorst with the Paulus Schäfer Gipsy Band and The Tilburg Big Band. In March 2012 he released Twelfth Year, in which he guaranteed the assistance of Tim Kliphuis, Nous’che and Stochelo Rosenberg. In the same year two new albums been released. The surprising Rock Django and the Scandinavian album with Hot Club d’Europe Kouvola Junction. In November 2014 he had recorded with his trio and accordeonist Dominique Paats the cd album Rocky. With the CD Letter to van Gogh, October 2015 Paulus Schäfer brings a homage to this Dutch artist from Brabant. It is a unique album of his exclusive compositions. Paulus has a particular sound, easy recognised, and although all Paulus’ albums are true to a distinctive Gipsy Jazz/Swing sound; Paulus is always looking for a new modern sound. Not only to broaden his own horizons, but also for a more representative Gipsy Jazz sound for the 21st century. The violinist Tim Kliphuis typifies Paulus playing: ‘His singing tone, fearsome technique and well-balanced solos instantly reminded me of my days with Fapy Lafertin, who turned out to have been mentoring Paulus‘. On May 30 2013 he has been awarded by Mr. Akimov of the International Guitar Festival ‘The World of Guitar’ (Kaluga – Russian Federation) for his ‘special contribution to contemporary development of Gypsy Jazz‘.