The Mapuche Indians marked the Argentinean history till the last quarter of the 19th century, when their military domination of the country’s wide open spaces was crushed by the Argentinean army, finally armed with the most sophisticated weapons available at the time.
Today, the Mapuche culture and people are still alive in Argentina, much to the surprise of the white dominant society, which is just beginning to re-discover the indigenous foundation of their country.
Beatriz Pichi Malen is an heir to this history, dedicating her life to the search and transmission of the ancient Mapuche songs.
Beatriz Pichi Malen was born in Los Toldos, Province of Buenos Aires, and is the great great granddaughter of Coliqueo, the famous 19th-century Mapuche Chief. Since 1984 she has been active in the dissemination of Mapuche culture and history, collaborating with many educational institutions all over Argentina. Workshops and seminars on Mapuche song and dance make up an important part of her activities, especially with important festivals like the Festival de Cosquin, Province of Cordoba.
In 1994 she was awarded first prize in the category “vocal soloist” at the Festival de Cosquin, Argentina. That same year she began a series of presentations on Mapuche culture throughout Argentina, including a performance at the amphitheater of the Argentinean House of Deputies.
In 1995 she was awarded the “Condor de Oro”, followed in 1997 by, the “Argentine Music Award” from Tribuna Musical Argentina in the ethnic music category. Tribuna Musical Argentina also selected one of Beatriz Pichi Malen’s songs for the international CD release of the institute.
In 2000 the artist recorded her first CD of ancient Mapuche songs called Plata. The same year Beatriz Pichi Malen was the invited artist to take part in the Argentine tour of Joe Zawinul and the Zawinul Syndicate.
Bajofondo Tango Club was put together by Rock en español musician and producer Gustavo Santaolalla, winner of two-time Academy Awards and Golden Globe-winning composer of Brokeback Mountain and Babel. It is a collective of artists and musicians creating an array of music based on the fusion of electronica (dub, house, drum&bass) with the traditional sounds of tango.
Bajofondo Tango Club quickly caused a stir in Argentina’s music underground and the world at large. The debut album, Bajofondo Tango Club, certified platinum in Argentina soon after its release in 2003, won the prestigious Premio Gardel for Best Electronica Album and a Latin Grammy as Best Pop Instrumental Album.
After sold-out performances in Chile, Argentina, Brazil and Uruguay, the collective was invited to tour Europe in July 2004 with unforgettable performances at Roskilde Festival (Denmark), across Eastern Europe, Spain, London (UK) and beyond. What began as a music project became an amazing touring group of musicians, DJs and visuals.
The members of Bajofondo Tango Club come from the worlds of tango and electronic music. The original members were: Gustavo Santaolalla (Argentina), Juan Campodonico (Uruguay), Marcelo Castelli (Uruguay), Emilio Kauderer (Argentina), Juan Blas (Argentina), Didi Gutman (Argentina), Luciano Supervielle (Uruguay), Jorge Drexler (Uruguay), Adrian Iaies (Argentina), Pablo Mainetti (Argentina) and Javier Casalla (Argentina).
The band shortened the name to Bajofondo after they felt their musical genre had broadened. As on their earlier recordings, their Mar Dulce album sees Bajofondo’s musicians lead listeners through a sensual soundscape of tango, trip-hop, drum & bass and pop elements that redefine the essence of tango for the 21st century. Mar Dulce features guest performances by Elvis Costello, Nelly Furtado, Julieta Venegas, Gustavo Cerati, Ryota Komatsu, La Mala Rodriguez, Santullo, Juan Subira and the final recorded performance by legendary Uruguayan tango diva Lagrima Rios.
“With Bajofondo,” says Santaolalla, “we don’t like the label ‘electronic tango’ because we try to make a contemporary music of Rio de la Plata (the river that forms part of the border between Argentina and Uruguay) music from Argentina, from Uruguay. Obviously, if you want to do music that comes from there or represents that part of the world tango is going to be part of it – but, in our case, so is rock ‘n’ roll, electronica and hip hop. Hopefully a new language, not pure tango.”
On Mar Dulce, Bajofondo was comprised of Gustavo Santaolalla on guitar, percussion, and vocals; Juan Campodónico on programming, beats, samples and guitar; Luciano Supervielle on piano, keyboards and scratch; Javier Casalla on violin; Martín Ferrés on bandoneon; Gabriel Casacuberta on upright bass and electric bass; Adrián Sosa on drums; and Verónica Loza as VJ and on vocals.
Astor Pantaleón Piazzolla was born in the coastal city of Mar Del Plata, Argentina, in March of 1921. His parents were immigrants from southern Italy. Astor Piazzolla’s father, Vicente “Nonino” Piazzolla, was a storekeeper and craftsman. His mother, Asunta Mainetti, was a hairdresser and seamstress.
When he was three years old, he moved to New York City with his father. He lived there between 1924 and 1937, with a brief return to Mar del Plata in 1930. At age 9, his father gave him a bandoneon, which he had bought at a pawn shop for 19 dollars, as a birthday present. His father missed Argentina and its memorable tangos so he was interested in having his son learn how to play this popular musical style.
The young Astor Piazzolla learned how to play the bandoneon by himself, while he was living in the Bronx, in New York City. At the time, he played harmonica and his favorite musical genre was jazz. One of his neighbors, Hungarian pianist Bela Wilda (a disciple of Rachmaninov), introduced him to the music of Bach. Piazzolla liked that music so much that he tried to play with the bandoneon. Since he did not know how to read music, Wilda taught him to how to read and compose music. During the next four years, the only music Piazzolla played was classical music.
He was only thirteen years old when Carlos Gardel, the great Argentine tango singer and composer, heard him in New York and asked him to play in several recordings for his movie “El Día Que Me Quieras.” Gardel was so impressed with Piazzolla’s performance that he offered him the opportunity of touring with him throughout South America. Piazzolla rejected the offer and in 1937 he returned to Buenos Aires.
At 18, Piazzolla started playing the accordion and worked as an arranger for Anibal Troilo’s orchestra. In 1940 he composed a piece for Arthur Rubinstein, who was in Buenos Aires on tour. Rubinstein recognized Piazzolla’s talent and encouraged him to study composition with Alberto Ginastera, a famous Argentine classical music composer. Piazzolla studied eight years with Alberto Ginastera.
It was in 1946 when Piazzolla formed his own group to express his radical musical ideas, while at the same time he composed for the Buenos Aires Philharmonic Orchestra. Astor Piazzolla started an important revolution in the world of tango between 1946 and 1948, by taking it from the dance floors to the concert halls.
In 1950 Piazzolla left the orchestra to dedicate himself exclusively to composing. He started to win numerous composition awards in Argentina, the United States and France, where he was granted a scholarship to study with Nadia Boulanger. It was Boulanger who advised Piazzolla not to abandon his folk music roots. After returning from France, Piazzolla formed the famous Octeto (Octect) that revolutionized the music scene in Buenos Aires.
In 1956 he started performing tango concerts, developing a new perspective based in traditional tango. His concept was that tango is music to be listened to, not just music for dancing. This “Tango Nuevo” (New Tango) is a unique mix of traditional tango and the classical tradition. Astor Piazzolla took a folk music genre and created a complex interaction with classical music and jazz, creating forms such as contrapunto (counterpoint), fuga (fugue), and improvisation.
Astor Piazzolla composed soundtracks for movies, operas, and music for television. He recorded over 40 albums and traveled throughout the globe, playing at some of the most important performing arts centers in the world.
Astor Piazzolla suffered a brain hemorrhage in Paris in 1990. He never recovered and died in Buenos Aires on July 4th of 1992.
In 2000 Oxford University Press published Astor Piazzolla, his Life and Music. The book was translated to Spanish and published in 2002 by El Ateneo de Buenos Aires. In 2003 Amadeus Press published A Memoir by journalist Natalio Gorin, who was Astor Piazzola’s friend for nearly two decades.
Argentine pianist Adrian Iaies’ unique style can best be described as a fusion of traditional tango and contemporary jazz. In 2000 he was nominated for a Latin Grammy in the jazz category for his album Las Tardecitas de Minton’s (Acqua Records). Throughout his extensive career he has toured extensively on both sides of the Atlantic having shared the stage with artists such as Ron Carter, Lee Konitz, Michael Brecker, Dave Holland, John Patitucci, Chucho Valdes, and Dino Saluzzi.
In November 2000, Iaies recorded a new solo record in Barcelona called Tango Reflections which was released worldwide in April, 2001. He has toured extensively in promotion of this release including dates in the Spanish Jazz Festival, La Semana de Jazz Latino de Madrid, the Miami Film Festival, and the Festival Internacional de los 7 Lagos in Argentina.
Adriana Varela – Y piano (Sony Music Argentina, 2014)
An intimate album featuring exclusive vocals and piano album by acclaimed Argentine tango singer Adriana Varela. Here, she sings a set of tango classics with her distinctive deep and low pitched voice accompanied by Marcelo Macri on piano.
Beatriz Adriana Lichinchi is better known as Adriana Varela or her nickname La Gata (the cat). Currently, she is one of the leading Argentine tango singers.
Adriana Varela Y piano includes songs recorded live at three different concerts in Punta del Este, Uruguay.
Adriana Varela Y piano showcases the talent and passionate delivery of one of today’s greatest tango singers.
Tango singer Adriana Varela was born May 9, 1952 in Piñeiro, Buenos Aires, Argentina. Since her artistic career began, Adriana Varela has taken the music of Argentina to the most important international tango festivals.
She has shared the stage with Paul Anka, Liza Minelli, Celia Cruz, Tito Puento, Arturo Sandoval, Daniela Mercury, Rita Marley, and Kenny G.
Adriana has participated as a guest in Joaquin Sabina’s recordings and is one of the main characters in the movie Tango by Carlos Saura.
Adriana Varela is possibly the most representative female tango artists worldwide.