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Let's tango!!!
Sunday, 04.12.2011, 20:20
oh what a night...
Tango Multilingual
con Alexandra Prusa
Let's tango!!! A shout that was heard in every metropolis around the world, from the 1910's up into the 1950's.
Also with vehemence in post-world war Europe, when people were immediately seduced into abandoning all decent manners and bodily control when merely hearing the first few notes of this heart-wrenching and passionate new deluge called The Tango. Is this why those were called the good old times?
Anyway, one particular hot spot for this infectious, bloodboiling craze was of all places Helsinki...  What at that time (but check also Aki Kaurismaki's choice of film scores of today) made the stoic Finns loose their composure, can now have an unexpected effect on Swiss stiffs as well.
But wait, first some background: The music, largely a dance (like most music ever made), was born in the docks, bars and whorehouses of Buenos Aires; it's characterised by staccato movements and head snaps, then practised mostly by immigrants full of longing and heartbreak for the homelands they had to leave behind. It's name is either derived from the African for «closed place» or the latin/portuguese «tanguere» - to touch. Loosely tied handkerchiefs, high-heeled boots, slouched hats and knives casually tucked into belts, was the standard dress. (Maybe the knife was just used to clean the sensationally long pinky fingernails?) Musically, it's mainly a mix of Milonga, an Argentine polka, and Habanera (where are these Cubans not, when it comes to music?), and other sonidos calientes y tradicionales.
It's main protagonist was Carlo «Carlitos El Mago» Gardel, preparing the dance floor for nuevo tangueros like Oscar Piazzolla and Juan Jose Mosalini to follow. And listen also to what Charlie Haden did with it.
All through time, the varied forms remained flexible, continually inviting new influences wherever it went, leaving the door open for new love and new interpretations: an aspect that's always been true to world music.
Which is where our featured group comes in, senores y senoritas: El Cuarteto Argentino La Strapata, the Argentinian «Tango Multilingual». Dramatic and musically exotic, even theater when at its best, the group is led by multilinguist, dancer, singer, actor Alexandra Prusa, with Michael Gneist (violin), Jean-Baptiste Henry (bandoneon), Gabriel Sivak (piano) and Romain Lecurier (contrabass).
You'll hear all kinds of linguistic influences and idioms if you listen and if your body gyrations don't consume you (but we promise, they will). Spanish, French, Italian, Lunfardo (a gangster slang from the delta of the River Plate), even our own four dialectic versions, are all composed into the repertoire. Conjo, oye Carlitos!
So rush on over to the island for the rush of a lifetime, 'cause it's natural high time. Fueled by this sensual, happy, passionate, sad, hot and soft music; its dance, poetry, music and song. In short, you'll learn: Tango is life. Taking over yours for this noche «muy especial».
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