Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Gotan Project

If this gig was the night before it was, then I wouldn't be writing this post. The Friday night prior to the gig saw this girl hit the deck with chronic flu which left me bed ridden for all of Saturday and most of Sunday. With the aid of lamb shank soup and much paracetamol, I managed to glue myself together and get to the gig. I was picked up at 6.45pm so we could get in early to watch David and Dianne do tango demonstrations to Gotan's music out the front before the show, also giving us the opportunity to hand out flyers to advertise Sidewalk Tango (cheeky monkeys aren't we?). Armed with a bottle of water and a wad of Kleenex, I took my seat with my compañeros and waited for the show to begin. And begin it did. The walked onto the stage all dressed in either white suits or white gowns. The 3 female violin players positioned at the back behind pianist, Gustavo Beytelmann, the bandoneon player Nini Flores front and centre, to his left, the Barcelona based Cristina Vilallonga and Gotan founder, Eduardo Makaroff. The other 2 Gotan Projecters, Phillippe Cohen Solal and Christoph Mueller were behind them on the decks. A mirror image of a beautiful girl fanning herself with a red fan appeared behind them and also on the front screen of the decks as the band opened with the track Diferente. This is an amazingly song as the tango is powerful in this track. The girl with the red fan was mesmerizing. The film then cuts to Buenos Aire's famous Confitería Ideal where a couple are dancing a tango (not much else happens there-duh MM) but just off to the right in the background, you see the girl with the red fan. Ever have goosebumps rush over you in seconds? Whoever thought of that image with that music is a genius. Well, it worked for me and cynics be damned. They followed that up with the opening track from Lunático 'Amor Porteño' in which they collaborated with the Arizona group, Calexico. They had images of the band behind them which also gave good effect. The title track of the album, Lunático, was Carlos Gardel's race horse in the 1930's, before he met his untimely and premature death in a plane accident in 1935. For those unfamiliar with Carlos Gardel, he is often described as 'the Elvis of tango'. During the performance of this song, they showed images of a horse race in the 30's. The track Celos (Jealousy) has the sounds of a busy cafe in the background of the song, and the visuals show punters drinking coffee in Buenos Aires famous Cafe Tortoni. Surprisingly, it is half way through the show, not at the end, in which they choose to perform their most famous hit Santa Maria. I applaud them for not doing the clichèd finish! They followed this up with Mi Confesión- which begins with the strains of a tango playing on an old 78 record and then breaks into modern beats. They collaborate with 2 rappers- one from Buenos Aires and one from Spain who rap in Spanish. I'll get my hands on the program and fill you in on their names when I can as their names escape me. Again, they use the technology to bring the 2 rappers to the stage- again, a good touch. They follow with a nice moment for those of us that love pure tango- the bandeneon,guitarist,cellist,pianist and one of the violinist remain on stage to perform a tango that made me forget I was feeling so crook for a moment. Perfection. The band then do their first encore and perform their version of Astor Piazzola's Vuelvo El Sur ( I return south) from their debut, La Revancha Del Tango (The Revenge of the Tango) and another track from the same album, Una Música Brutal. Their second encore had them performing a lengthy version of their tune Triptico and it was indeed, a journey. Everyone was on their feet and in the aisles. Each musician took turns stepping forward and performed a solo that had me soaring. When it ended, the whole house had gone berserk. Dianne and I looked at each other and exclaimed 'what a way to go out!' The only disappointment was they then brought out 2 local hip hop performers doing all that 'Melbourne represent!' bullshit and performed 'Mi Confesion' in English which I felt was unnecessary. This was a tango, not a hip hop crowd. I wish I had a pair of scissors to cut that bit off the night! Despite this, Gotan Project put on a hell of a show and one that I'm glad I left my sick bed for. Music-on this night-soothed this ravaged beast...

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