Cantolibre Plays Piazzolla – Cantolibre
by Diana Covell
The tango is Tantra with a distinctly Latin American flavour.
It’s the dance of intimate, mystical, sensual love.
It’s the feisty, flirtatious, dramatic dialogue between male and female.
If you’re looking for real tango music played with passion and panache, try this terrific production by Australia’s own Latin world and folk music ensemble.
Cantolibre’s latest CD is a tribute to Argentine composer Astor Piazzolla (1921-92) who extended the realm of the tango from the cabarets of Buenos Aires to the European musical mainstream.
By the age of 13, Piazzolla had mastered the bandoneon (Argentine accordion) and was playing the cabaret circuit with legendary tango singer, Carlos Gardel.
He went on to study classical European musical forms, becoming a prolific composer of chamber music, symphonies and concertos.
However, he never betrayed his own cultural roots or the essence of the tango.
“If I do a fugue in the manner of Bach,” he said, “it will always be `tanguificated`”.
Cantolibre extends Piazzolla’s popular tango `chamber` music further with new, richly-textured arrangements for an amazing array of traditional, jazz and `classical` instruments reflecting the Indigenous, African and European influences of Latin American and contemporary world music.
On a track honouring the memory of progressive Chilean President, Salvador Allende, a particularly Australian element is added when the didgeridoo creates atmospheric effect.
Every track tells a story worth hearing.
My particular favourites include “La Maison de Monique” (Monique’s House), with its beautiful ensemble playing featuring guitar, sax, violin, tiple, guitarron and cello; the cheeky, virtuosic pas-de-deux between flute and guitar on “Bordel 1900” (Brothel 1900); and the driving, celebratory “Libertango”.
This wonderful CD is an achievement of musical maturity, artistic integrity and dedicated persistence for the Wollongong-based ensemble.
From the sonorous first steps, Cantolibre leads us on a stylish and expressive journey from one striking Piazzolla piece to another, exploring the dark, the nostalgic, the tender, the capricious.
Changeable as human emotions, unpredictable as life itself, it’s true tango at its best.
Enjoy it just to listen to, or get up and dance!