Tag Archives: tango

Captivating Amalgam of Tango and Jazz

Lalo Zanelli & Ombu – Immigrantes (Buda Musique, 2016)

Inmigrantes (the Spanish word for immigrants) is the new album by Argentine pianist and composer Lalo Zanelli. He’s currently based in Paris, where he put together a band called Ombu featuring other Argentine musicians as well as French artists. The music on Inmigrantes is a dazzling mix of jazz, Argentine tango and folk music, and rock.

The lineup includes Lalo Zanelli on piano; Bruno Bongarçon on guitar; Pablo Gignoli on bandoneon; Lysandre Donoso on bandoneon; Fabrizio Fenoglietto on bass; and Javier Estrella on drums and bombo. Guests: Minino Garay on drums; Leandro Guffanti on saxophone; Catia Wernec on vocals; Eddy Tomassi on percussion; and Julie Gros on cello.

Ombu is a gifted band that impresses with its captivating amalgam of tango and progressive jazz.

Buy the digital version of Inmigrantes

Buy the Immigrantes CD


EXIB 2016 Conferences and Trade Show

The Iberoamerican Music Expo 2016 turned out to be a great opportunity to catch up with Portuguese music and some of the album releases from neighboring Spain and Latin America.

The EXIB trade show area was smaller than WOMEX, but there was a pretty good representation of booking agencies, festivals, institutions and record labels/producers.


EXIB Música 2016 trade show - Photo courtesy of EXIB Música
EXIB Música 2016 trade show – Photo courtesy of EXIB Música


One of the most fascinating exhibitors was Tradisom Producoes Culturais. This record company puts together fabulous boxed sets, books with CD, hard cover CDs, and regular CDs focusing on traditional and contemporary Portuguese folk music. Some of the goodies exhibited included a mammoth hard cover 552-page book accompanied by 4 CDs titled A Origem fo Fado (the origin of fado).


A Origem fo Fado (the origin of fado).
A Origem fo Fado (the origin of fado).


Tradisom also had a boxed set with the entre discography by one of the greatest Portuguese folk bands in the late 20th century, Brigada Victor Jara. There were also fado boxed sets, a Julio Pereira (cavaquinho master) hard cover book+CD and much more. This label is a goldmine for Portuguese music.

Several of the exhibitors represented some of the artists that showcased throughout EXIB 2016. I managed to get a pretty decent amount of CDs and memory sticks with press kits so we will be reviewing some of this material in the next weeks.


Covers of La Tundra magazine
Covers of La Tundra magazine


In this era of digital everything, it was great to see a new print magazine made in London. La Tundra is a free Spanish language culture and arts magazine published and designed by Silvia Demetilla. The magazine features CD and book reviews, the theater scene, urban radar (reviews of recommended places in London neighborhoods), urban spaces, travel articles, interviews and environmental consciousness reports.

Iberoamerica Musical is the umbrella organization that supports EXIB. The organization runs several other initiatives such as the upcoming Revista Digital Pura Mestiza, a quarterly magazine targeting Ibero-American music industry professionals.


Three influential music journalists, Gabriel Plaza (Argentina), Enrique Blanc (Mexico), and Humphrey Inzillo (Argentina) gave a presentation about the network of Ibero-American music journalists.

left to right Humphrey Inzillo, Gabriel Plaza and Enrique Blanc at EXIB 2016
left to right: Humphrey Inzillo, Gabriel Plaza and Enrique Blanc at EXIB 2016 – Photo by Angel Romero


Inzillo, Plaza and Blanc also introduced some of the most interesting sounds coming from Latin America, like various forms of cumbia, including electronic cumbia produced by companies like tropical futurism label ZZK Records; the new tango scene in Argentina, featuring new tango orchestras and bands with a new attitude such as Orquesta Típica Fernández Fierro, El Arranque, Buenos Aires Negro, Melingo and La Chicana.



Enrique Blanc explained that Mexico has four main music production areas: Mexico City, Tijuana, Monterrey and Guadalajara. Mexico City is a huge city that produces all music genres; Tijuana has an interesting electronic scene and is heavily influenced by its northern neighbor, the USA; Monterrey (near Laredo and Brownsville in Texas) focuses on conjunto and norteño sounds.

Guadalajara, meanwhile, is considered the cultural capital of Mexico. Enrique introduced Guadalajara acts like indie rock band Porter, showcasing their video Huitzil; and Hoppo! a new band featuring Chilean and Mexican artists, including Café Tacvba vocalist Rubén Albarrán.




Festival programmers met for the 2nd Encounter of Ibero-American Music Festivals. The first session was a networking and strategizing section open to festivals only. The second part was open to artist managers and agents as well as musicians.

Brazilian wind instrument virtuoso Carlos Malta gave a masterclass and conference at Evora University, and then there were numerous micro-conferences presenting books, events, new media platforms, music guides and more within the EXIB trade show space. Lastly, the expo featured an Ibero-American music documentary series.

My impression this year is that EXIB has grown. Naturally, this year the Portuguese presence was much larger, which made the event very attractive for those unfamiliar with the Portuguese music scene. I also saw some media colleagues from beyond Ibero America: musician and writer Andrew Cronshaw (UK), Simon Broughton of Songlines magazine (UK) and Drago Vovk from Radio Sraka in Slovenia.

Plans for EXIB 2017 have not been finalized yet, but it looks like Cordoba in Spain might be the next location for this unique music expo.

Related articles:

The Passionate Music of Alentejo, the Focus of EXIB 2016 Opening Concert

Three Continents Represented at EXIB 2016 Day 1 Showcases

The Diverse Sounds of Iberia, Mexico and Cuba at EXIB 2016 Day 2 Showcases

Cuatro Mastery and Hip Shaking Cumbia at EXIB 2016 Day 3 Showcases

Related links:

EXIB Música


Artist Profiles: Adriana Varela

Adriana Varela
Adriana Varela

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.


Tangos (1991)
Maquillaje (1993)
Corazones perversos (1994)
Tangos del lengue (1995)
Cuando el río suena (1999)
Más tango (2001)
Encaje (2006)
Vivo (Acqua Records, 2007)
Docke (2009)
Adriana Varela y piano (2014)



Artist Profiles: Acho Estol

Acho Estol
Acho Estol

Argentine musician Acho Estol started playing the guitar at eight and the electric guitar at ten, then he took up various instruments during the teenage years – he also plays flute, charango, bass, piano and percussion – but never losing focus on his main one.

He combines his work in film (assistant director and director of shorts, clips and CD-ROMs) with music and has been part of many rock and pop bands being a prolific composer in these styles, with always a touch of tango in his lyrics and melodies. He is one of the founders of tango group La Chicana.

Acho has traveled extensively around the world (United States of America, Canada, Brazil, Chile, England, France, Spain, South Africa, Senegal) playing his music and searching for different styles. In 1996 he studied tango arrangements with Ismael Spitalnik.

Acho has produced his own independent recordings, as well as music for TV, short films, choreography and commercials. He has also produced La Chicana’s releases: Ayer Hoy Era Mañana, Un Giro Extraño and Tango agazapado.



Ayer Hoy Era Mañana, with La Chicana
Ayer Hoy Era Mañana, with La Chicana


Un Giro Extraño, with La Chicana
Un Giro Extraño, with La Chicana


Tango agazapado, with La Chicana
Tango agazapado, with La Chicana


Acho Estol - Mi Pelicula (2007)
Acho Estol – Mi Pelicula (2007)


Acho Estol - Buenosaurios (Galileo Music GMC034, 2010)
Acho Estol – Buenosaurios (Galileo Music GMC034, 2010)


Lejos, with La Chicana
Lejos, with La Chicana


Canción llorada (2008)
Canción llorada (2008)


 Revolución o picnic (2011), double album with La Chicana
Revolución o picnic (2011), double album with La Chicana


Antihéroes y tumbas (2015), with La Chicana
Antihéroes y tumbas (2015), with La Chicana

The Rough Guide To Tango Nuevo, Innovation and Revolution

The Rough Guide To Tango Nuevo
The Rough Guide To Tango Nuevo
San Francisco, California, USA – The Rough Guide To Tango Nuevo (RGNET1140CD) is one of the latest installments in the rough guide series. It showcases the diverse fragmentation of styles that tango has been experiencing since the death of Astor Piazzolla, the greatest innovator.

New artists are revolutionizing tango from within, forging an urban folk style for their own times and lives. ‘Nuevo’ (or ‘New’) tango moves through dark-hued dub tango, tango electronica, tango with a sassy salsa twist, and even grungy tango for the rock generation.

Today, contemporary tango, though still firmly rooted in the mordant, melancholy soul of the urban Argentinean, adds newly imported sounds and ideas into the mix, and the results are as stirring as they were a century ago. A member of the Tango Nuevo generation of the 1960s and 1970s, today Dino
Saluzzi remains at the cutting edge of classical tango. Influenced by Andean rhythms and Bela Bartók in equal measure, he has consistently kept faithful to the guiding ethos of constant exploration and innovation. Recognized as a master storyteller, ‘Reprise: Los Hijos De Fierro’ alludes to the spiritual children of fictional gaucho hero Martín Fierro.

Born in 1936, Juan Carlos Cáceres heard scratchy old orchestras as a child and grew up wanting to revamp tango. Years spent outside Argentina left him with a passion for a pan-Latin sound, and his
brilliant, beat-driven tangos tap into Afro-Uruguayan candombé, murga street drumming and the milonga side of the tango tradition.

The moment when emerging legend Adriana Varela met the superstar Roberto Polaco Goyeneche was a crucial moment for New Tango. Varela and Goyeneche couple up here on a pained, passionate recording of one of the most notorious tango songs ever written – ‘Balada Para Un Loco’ – in which Varela introduces her unique, quasi-macho style of singing.

Sandra Luna has been singing live since her pre-teens and years spent in the company of tango giants like Nelly Omar and Hector Varely nurtured her authentic tanguera soul. ‘Lejana Tierra Mia’, taken from her widely acclaimed debut album Tango Varon, is a beautiful string-based adaptation
of a song by Carlos Gardel and Alfredo Le Pera.

Many Tango Nuevo artists feel the need to inject some of tango’s original grit and sass back into the genre. Daniel Melingo brings back the hoodlum attitudes of the early compadritos to songs about morphine, knife fights, betrayal and bad living on Buenos Aires’ backstreets. His gravel-filled voice
draws in mixed audiences of young tango fans, skins, Goths and passing tramps. Although ‘Sin Luna’ is a sweet ballad, it is deeply tango in spirit.

In their search for a streetwise tango attuned to the rock generation, La Chicana based their repertoire around ironic, witty, irreverent songs from the pre-1920s. ‘La Marylin’ is essentially a sassy tango-ized waltz and La Chicana’s recent albums show their mould-breaking pursuit of Africanized beats, Americana and vernacular folk styles. Patricia Andrade also argues that the only way to do New Tango is to make it urban and edgy. She performs waltzes, milongas and tango numbers, exploiting the rhythms and cacophonies of the modern city.

In Buenos Aires, a division between rock, folk and tango never really existed, and ever since the 1960s artists have been incorporating these influences into tango. Omar Mollo spent thirty years as a leading artist in Argentina’s hectic rock nacional scene, which gives his tangos a rough and
raucous edge. His choice of lyrics celebrates the hard-drinking, brothel-creeping, night-stalking side of the tango lifestyle and turns a cynical gaze on society. Artists like Adrián Iaies have been mixing tango with jazz for over fifty years, and his work has won him a Latin Grammy nomination.

Juanjo Domínguez is arguably Argentina’s most important guitarist. He moves with ease between native Argentinean/Creole folk styles and tango, and effortlessly segues from frantic finger-picking to more subtle considered solos.

Giving intense, uncompromising and utterly enthralling performances, Julio Pane is one of a handful of bandoneón players who can fill a stage with no backing at all. ‘Responso’, written by Aníbal Troilo, is taken from Pane’s acclaimed album A Las Orquestas.

The Rough Guide To Tango Nuevo also features the talented tanguera’s Lidia Borda and Sonia Possetti, the big multi-instrumental sounds of Orquesta El Arranque, and music from Trío Gorosito Cataldi De La Vega, Carlos Libedinsky and Quinteto La Camorra. This album presents an excellent overview of Tango Nuevo, a genre that is utterly Argentine in both its roots and its ethos, and also one of the twentieth century’s truly international forms.

Buy The Rough Guide To Tango Nuevo