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Wedding Saxophonist | Interview with Norbert Fimpel Sax player in Spain

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Weddings and Saxophones, a heavenly fusion of love and music… Part I

What better way to set the perfect tone for your wedding ceremony than with a live Saxophone player. Sunshine Weddings Spain is feeling Saxy with Norbert Fimpel, today’s feature guest.

Norbert Fimpel was born in Buenos Aires, Argentina, and grew up surrounded by music. He has toured all over the world with global superstars including Roger Hodgson, singer of the band Supertramp and Joe Cocker.

 

Norbert Fimpel was born in Buenos Aires, Argentina, and grew up surrounded by music. Photo Credit: Alberto Guzman

 

Hello Norbert, welcome and thank you for finding time out of your busy schedule to chat with Sunshine Weddings Spain. Before we move on to discover how you met Roger Hodgson and performed with Joe Cocker in his world tours, you also play at private events such as weddings.

Tell us, how does the music you play during a wedding compare to your other styles of music played, for example, during a tour?

It depends on who I’m touring with. At a wedding I try to cover a wide range of styles. I play classic and modern songs and when I was on tour, for example with Joe Cocker, they were all Joe Cocker songs and there’s no room for other music.

However I’ve also toured for about 8 years with Mallorquin guitarist and singer Tolo Severa, and on these tours we do a mixture of our own songs as well play themes from artists like Prince, Maroon 5, Oasis, Phil Collins, Sting, The Police, but making our own versions of these more well-known melodies and let’s say, that is the difference.

 

Norbert Fimpel has been a professional musician for 30 years. Photo Credit: Alberto Guzman

 

Are you also a DJ? Or do you work with one?

I’m not a DJ, but I work a lot with DJs, especially at weddings and private events. When working with a DJ, he’ll play the music and I’ll improvise with my saxophone. On most occasions I never know what type of music the DJ will play. In fact, many times I’ve never met the DJ before but the musical encounter is always very natural and spontaneous.

The DJ will play music that the bride and groom have asked him to play, or the style agreed upon and I’ll improvise with my saxophone on the music played.

Playing at weddings has to be very special, any anecdotes that come to mind when performing for bridal couples?

This year will be my 30th as a professional musician and since the start of my musical career I have always played at weddings. As you can imagine there are hundreds, possibly thousands of weddings I’ve played at, and well each wedding is different.

I love playing at weddings because there is always a good vibe, everybody is happy and in the right frame of mind to have fun. It’s wonderful to be given the opportunity to contribute with my music on such a special day.

I am also married and I know how important the wedding is, so if I can contribute with my art to make that day more special, it is always a marvellous feeling.

I have always received positive responses too, people really like what I do. I usually play familiar songs on the saxophone, classic tunes to connect with older people and current, more modern songs for the younger people.

At weddings there are usually people of all ages. So I try to play a wide range of songs so that everyone leaves happy.

No particular anecdote springs to mind but what usually happens is after performing at a wedding, I’ll be contacted by one of the guests a year or two later asking if I can perform at their wedding, the satisfaction when this happens is always great.

 

Sax player Norbert Fimpel at a wedding party where the musical encounter is always very natural and spontaneous.

 

Do you have a playlist or are you happy to accommodate the couple’s requests?

I have a fairly extensive repertoire that includes some 300 songs. So I usually send the list of what I have and the bridal couple choose from that list. Depending on how long they have hired me, it will be more or less songs.

Sometimes, however, the couple have a special song which they want me to play and it’s not on my list. When this happens, it’s not a problem as I can do it for them, though it does mean an additional cost as to perform a new song; I need to find a backing track or a playback with a quality musical base of the songbecause I play accompanied by music. I then need to buy that backing track and learn the song, which takes time and apart from my art, I charge for my time.

But it’s not a problem to include a new song, and it’s relatively frequent that the couple asks for a song that is very special to them.

Occasionally the bride and groom ask me to play a song a cappella, without accompaniment, only the saxophone.

Whatever the request, I always try to satisfy their request.

Mallorca is a magical place, do you have a favourite place to perform? Rustic or beach?

Mallorca yes, it’s a special place. It’s a paradisiacal island that has many, many beautiful venues to choose from to celebrate a wedding.

There are some old fortresses that have been refurbished on the island and converted into luxury hotels, many with spectacular viewpoints. These types of venues add to the magic of the wedding celebration.

I also like beach weddings, I have played at several, however you need a special permit in Mallorca for a beach wedding and sometimes that makes things more complicated.

 

“I love playing at weddings because there is always a good vibe.” Norbert Fimpel. Photo Credit: Alberto Guzman

 

They say that the saxophone is the easiest woodwind instrument to learn, but the most difficult to master. Is this true?

The truth is, I’ve never heard this saying before. I started with the clarinet that has some similarities; the mouthpiece is the same, the key with the finger position is the same. Perhaps the clarinet is slightly more difficult because you have to cover the holes with your fingers, but I don’t think the Saxophone is easy to learn either.

Ultimately, I think it depends a little on each individual, for some people learning the Sax will be easier, for others maybe the trumpet, for example.

But it’s true that to master it, you have to dedicate many hours because you have to generate the sound.

It is not an instrument you blow and a note is made straight away. At the beginning, either no sound comes out, or it’s a very unpleasant noise.

To master it you have to be patient and spend many hours before musical notes are emitted.

Norbert Fimpel, Sax player in Spain. Photo Credit: Luc De Wandel.

 

What is it about the saxophone you fell in love with so much?

What I most love about the saxophone is the characteristic sound it has. It’s an instrument that can be sensual, passionate and very expressive.

They say it’s the instrument that most resembles the human voice.

Norbert has toured all over the world with global superstars, don’t miss next week and PART 2… where we learn more about what’s it’s like to be on world tours with the likes of James Brown and Bryan Ferry as well as the very peculiar way Norbert met Roger Hodgson, singer of the band Supertramp.