I think it was in 2009 I first saw Tanguarda, it was at the Barbican just before the Cafe de Los Maestros concert and they were playing in a space for everyone to hear. Off I went with my usual reservations. Another group of musicians trying to add their mark to Piazzolla (that’s like trying to do more with Baroque architecture), playing music that’s not for dancing but listening but still trying to get everyone to dance to it. They started with a Piazzolla track and I thought “ok, here we go.”
As I listened their sound floated around me and seduced me with a bow to provenance, tenderness and flavour. They weren’t trying to do more with Piazzolla, they were themselves playing Piazzolla. These were musicians from Europe with a feeling for the music of Buenos Aires, not unheard of but very rare.
“So they can play Piazzolla. Are they going to play something danceable?” my Tango Aunty voice said inside. I should say that it’s not that I don’t think Piazzolla is danceable, it is, well some of it and all of it if you’re a contemporary dancer, but unless you are very tuned into the sound and feeling or know the music, it’s really hard. Put that on a dancefloor and alot of the time it’s a tangle waiting to happen.
“and now we’re going to play something more traditional, please come and dance…” said Maria, the pianist. This was the chance to nurture this seedling of hope they’d planted, and they didn’t disappoint. I didn’t dance that evening, but I feasted on the equivalent of a entree in my favourite restaurant. Tanguarda were great to listen to and I saw the floor relax and flow to their music, something that isn’t so easy to acheive.
I had a message through from Maria this week and they are back playing two dates in London with a new line up, including Juanjo Mosalini, the son of Juan Jose Mosalini (who played in the Cafe de Los Maestros concert). This is more contemporary stuff with a focus on the work of Gustavo Beytelmann, definately worth catching.
Sunday 16th January, 6pm: Chelsea Arts Club, 143 Old Church Street SW3 6EB.
bookings 0207 376 3311
Monday 17th January, 7:30pm: Bob Boas Concert series(Music at Mansfield Street)
bookings 0207 436 0344