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Thu Mar 11, 2021, 03:22 AM

Tour of tangopolis: a dance through the rhythms of Buenos Aires

Chris Moss
Thu 11 Mar 2021 01.30 EST

This week marks the centenary of Astor Piazzolla, tango’s revolutionary – and the city is filled with the sights and sounds of his music

On a central reservation in Puerto Madero, Buenos Aires’ youngest and least atmospheric neighbourhood, stands a strange-looking monument. It’s a twisted, abstract sculpture, in steel, that looks at first glance like the cooling fins from a motorbike engine. It is, in fact, an unfurled bandoneón (button accordion), the fiendishly difficult instrument of German origin that produces the unmistakeable sound of tango: a pained and plangent breath from a broken heart.

The composer, bandleader and musician who made the bandoneón globally famous was Astor Piazzolla, whose centennial in 2021 will be celebrated – or, at least, remembered – by players, dancers, singers and songwriters the world over. “His fingers move about that instrument as though they were snakes,” said jazz legend Gerry Mulligan. For his part, Piazzolla said the button accordion had “a velvet sound, a religious sound”. He was the high priest of that religion.

On 5 March, Buenos Aires’ venerable Colón opera house reopened after a year-long closure with a two-week Piazzolla programme. Here in the UK, scheduled tributes, such as a “¡Viva Piazzolla!” night at the Liverpool Philharmonic, have been either deferred or cancelled. There are, though, virtual events honouring the centennial, including monthly gigs beamed from Boedo in Buenos Aires, lectures and dance classes in Philadelphia and a free Piazzolla “cyber jazz” show from Nottingham .

I’ll be toasting Piazzolla’s memory with a glass of Argentine vino and spinning a few scratchy shellacs on my ancient gramophone. All right, I exaggerate: tango brings out my inner melancholic. But I will take out some vinyls and CDs, not just Piazzolla but his precursors and heirs, and play the songs that changed my perception of Buenos Aires. Unable to be in the city right now – I lived there from 1991 to 2001 and visited at least once a year until 2019 – I rely on tango to transport me there.


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Reply Tour of tangopolis: a dance through the rhythms of Buenos Aires (Original post)
Judi Lynn Mar 2021 OP
fierywoman Mar 2021 #1
abqtommy Mar 2021 #2

Response to Judi Lynn (Original post)

Thu Mar 11, 2021, 03:34 AM

1. Re BA: I L.O.V.E Piazzola, of course. Do you also listen to Nacha Guevara? (She totally

cracks me up or makes me sob.)

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Response to Judi Lynn (Original post)

Thu Mar 11, 2021, 08:51 AM

2. I love to tap my feet to any Latin Beat. One of my favorite movies is the1933 production

of Flying Down To Rio that provides much for the music lover, those that enjoy seeing
attractive persons of various gender and ethnic groups and of course spectacular dancing.
This was the first film to feature Ginger Rogers and Fred Astaire.

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