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by Anna Kamaralli
posted 19/02/2015

Review: Tángalo at the Camelot Lounge

Modern tango quintet Tángalo have returned home from a trip to Buenos Aires, and brought Duo Ramírez Satorre back with them. Trip is the wrong word, actually. It seems to have been more like a pilgrimage/apprenticeship/spiritual blossoming.

Whereas tango, in its purest musical form, previously figured as the framework and inspiration for the ensemble, it now absorbs them utterly. Emily-Rose, who used to play piano accordion, has abandoned that instrument for the more strictly traditional bandoneon. This is an incredibly ambitious move to a fiendishly difficult instrument. Under the mentorship of bandoneon master Hugo Satorre she has already learned to charm with it. As a group, the high level of presentation and obvious collaboration is still there. This ensemble knows how to communicate their joy in the art form to the audience, and their skill has expanded and deepened with their time spent close to the source of their genre.

On this occasion Owen Salomé’s flute was sadly missed. He was nursing an injury for this particular performance, but is still very much a presence in the group. Some in the audience were clearly drawn by the opportunity to hear the Argentinian guitar/bandoneon duo, who really did prove themselves to be the maestros you would hope for. While the instrumental work was dazzling, the numbers that included vocals gave an extra richness and texture to the shape of the playlist.

What has been lost is something of the reckless expansiveness of Tángalo’s earlier work, though there has been no decrease in its passion. And the quality of their musicianship only continues to ascend. What I am really looking forward to is seeing where the group takes this next. I’m hoping to see a synthesis where, having learned their craft so well, they can begin to re-incorporate the playfulness of motifs and styles that might not belong, technically speaking, in traditional tango, but gives this ensemble its unique, flamboyant voice.

To hear Owen and Emily-Rose interviewed by Stuart Rubin use our Program Guide Playback feature for A Taste of Honey’s 5 February show. Next week (9am, 26 February) Stuart will have Adrian Ramirez and Hugo Satorre in the Eastside studio to play us something special.

Tángalo plus Duo Ramírez Satorre will be gigging until the end of the month, dates HERE

Their album, Good Enough for Gringos, featuring their earlier work, is available through the Tángalo website.

Group of five white people in evening dress (3 women, 2 men)


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