Sydney gets a new tango band
Tangolo is the name of the Tango Quintet that debuted last night at the Concord RSL milonga hosted by TangoSynergy, Sydney's tango club. As well as being top calibre musicians most of this tango quintet also dances, which gives them an insider's understanding of how dancers feel their music. These musicians all have diverse backgrounds ranging from classical, folk, jazz and opera and I was told all came from Sydney's Conservatorium where it is possible they belonged to TangoOz, a tango orchestra established by Sydney bandoneonista, Maggie Ferguson.
The quintet consists of Emily-Rose Sarkova on accordion/voice, Susie Bishop on violin/voice, Owen Salome on guitar/flute/voice, with Amy Putt on grand piano and David Groves on double bass.Tangolo describes itself as being "on a mission to create a fresh and danceable energy in performances of both popular and lesser known tangos from the golden era to more contemporary nuevo."
They opened with a stunner - I wish I had taken my notebook (not something an old journalist should admit to) because I can't remember the name of the piece. Susie Bishop began with a beautiful violin melody, then used her other instrument, her voice, to maximum effect. The surprise and delight in the room was palpable. Here was an excellent tango voice, beautifully clear, singing tango as it was meant to be sung! Emily-Rose played her accordion like it was a bandoneon - not an easy task, she wrung a sound from her accordion that was almost as haunting as that from a bandoneon. Their first set was mixed, but mostly very danceable including the cortinas which had a few of the die-hards stay on the floor.
Hosanna, who is one of Sydney's best tangueras (see post below) was the DJ for the night and her selection based on Golden Age music complemented the band and was mostly non-stop danceable. Had we left before the next set by Tangolo we may have had no misgivings.
However the band's second performance began with a 'nuevo' piece, which got some of those whose tango is more like a cheerleaders dance onto the floor! Then a beautiful piece of Piazzolla, which those I was sitting with agreed was not for dancing but was beautiful listening. We departed at the end of this piece so I can't report on the rest of the set.
Tangolo is a breath of fresh air in the Sydney tango scene - we need tango bands, enough to choose from. We need these bands to compete with each other for dance events - and we need them to draw more people into the tango scene so that we can make supporting these musicians on a regular basis, a real possibility.
I will look forward to the next event with Tangolo with the hope that they will save the Piazzolla for venues where dancing is not the principle activity of the night - I would love to listen to them playing orchestral tango in a nightclub or small venue - and that they will breath new life into Sydney's tango music scene.