Giving London an tango identity
London is a most fascinating and cosmopolitan city. It is culturally vibrant and can accommodate many styles and genres within the arts. For many years now love for one particular dance form - the Argentine tango has been growing very rapidly in the city as well as nationally. It has also morphed into what is called "the tango" in Ballroom dancing which is danced differently to the Argentine tango it derives from. Generally the tango in Europe has evolved differently to its Argentine parent and some countries have their own well-developed national versions of the tango like luscious Finnish tango. Other European countries have evolved similar traits but have perhaps fallen short of claiming it for themselves as the Finns have done. Given the popularity of the "Milongas" (tango dances held in dance halls) in London and up and down the country we thought it would be fun to cross-pollinate this wonderful Argentine music with a few influences from the UK and primarily from its bustling capital London.
We hope you will be enthused as much as we are by the idea of "London Tango" as a concept and we would like to take the first step towards perhaps something bigger, like a choreographed film of the title track. The first step however is to record the music onto a CD. Once that is done, your help permitting, then we will do the rest. We have premiered a few of these pieces in some of our recent concerts and they have been very well received I'm happy to report.
Enthused by the successful crowdfunding campaigns of some of my colleague musicians we thought we would give crowdfunding a go ourselves. The ensemble is so lucky to have assembled. We are very lucky to have some fabulous musicians in the ensemble. Two wonderful singers from the West End stage in Joanna Strand and Jacqui Tate, a fabulous violinist in the form of Barbara Dziewiecka-Data, the incomparable John Bailey on Piano, the wizard of the fret-board, Jonathan Preiss on guitar, the extraordinary Nick Pini on double bass and yours truly, Romano Viazzani on accordion.
A little about me and tango...
Tango and I go back a long way. The Romano Viazzani Ensemble does not usually play for dancing. That is not to say that tango dancers cannot dance to our music. We tend to do concerts which attract a listening audience. I did however play for dancing for many years with L'Orchestra Rara and with The High Society Dance Orchestra.
I first fell in love with tango when seeing the wonderful stage show Tango Argentino in London's West End in the 1980s and around the same time hearing the three inspirational albums by Astor Piazzolla, Zero Hour, The Rough Dancer and the Cyclical Night (Tango Apasionado) and Camorra.
Prior to that I had always loved to listen to European tango by European and British accordionists like Barimar, Gigi Stok and Delmondi in ensembles where the accordion took on the role of the bandoneon in Argentine ensembles. In each variant, the sound of the 'free reed' is indispensable to the tango sound. Anything without it just doesn't cut the mustard.
In the 1990s I decided to apply my classical piano training to the classical accordion and that's when I met Owen Murray, Professor of accordion at the Royal Academy of Music who helped me achieve this and in 2000 I wrote my accordion concerto "Valceno" which inevitably had some influence from the world of tango. Then in 2002 I was asked to join Gilad Atzmon and the Orient House Ensemble which, throughout our five years together and across two albums, tango was a constant influence. At the same time I recorded three solo albums, one was a classical album and featured Astor Piazzolla's Angel Suite, and the other two, Viazzani takes Stok, and Encore also included tangos.
In the many theatre shows I have been involved with the tango has also always cropped up and probably most beautifully in a 2010 show called Songs from a hotel bedroom where Kurt Weill's Youkali was sensuously danced to by Amir Giles and Tara Pilbrow choreographed by the great Kate Flatt.
It was time then, to give something back to the form that had given me so much over the years. Not a carbon copy of Argentine Tango, as, who can do it it better than the Argentinians? Instead to bring together the tango form and its sound and exert the influence of this tremendous city of my birth and the one where i choose to live - London.
Risks and challenges
Releasing an album is a risky business but I am confident that with your support everything will come together exactly how I have envisaged. The sum we're trying to raise is set at a level we believe we can realistically raise. We have to reach our £4000 target otherwise we don't get any of it. Those are the rules. We hope to get more than that but if we just make it we will contribute to it ourselves to make the project viable.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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