Bireli Lagrene was born on September 4, 1966 in Saverne, Alsace, France. The son of Fiso Lagrene, a popular guitarist in pre-war France, Lagrene displayed a prodigious talent as a very young child. Born into a gypsy community, his origins and his fleet, inventive playing style inevitably generated comparisons with Django Reinhardt. In 1978, he won a prize at a festival at Strasbourg and subsequently made a big impact during a televised gypsy festival.
In his early teenage years Lagrene toured extensively playing concerts and festivals across Europe, often accompanied by distinguished jazz artists such as Benny Carter, Benny Goodman, Stéphane Grappelli and Niels- Henning Orsted Pedersen. He also made his first record Routes To Django, which helped to prove that early estimates of his capabilities were not excessive.