Tango fusion confusion

May 5, 2007

There's many who claim to have incorporated the 'passionate Tango' in their music, but often this is no more than an attempt to appeal to potential buyers of the album.


Or could it be, that the musicians haven't heard or experiencend any passionate Tango yet and they have no idea what they talk about? So, there's a lot of rubbish on the 'Tango' market.


But also, there's some good stuff to get, so it's not just all a waste of time. The editor went through a pile of these albums and sifted out a few to comment upon.

NarcoTango, May 5 in Paradiso, Amsterdam.
Concert +milonga.
Start milonga: 19.30 hrs

Narcotango in Amsterdam, photos by Paul Verbruggen
See photos

"At the hour when there are only a few couples left on the dance floor, magic sneaks (or 'creeps'?) into the milonga, and I watch people dancing and experimenting with a new kind of tango dance. When my body was exhausted from dancing for hours and I didn't want the night to end, at that hour NARCOTANGO was born. It was then that I could imagine the music that I wanted to dance to, and to see others dance to."

Carlos Libedinsky
founder of NarcoTango

Let's go straight to the audio page of the NarcoTango website.
Listen to samples in MP3, Real Media or Window Media
Audiopage Album 2
Audiopage Album 1

NarcoTango in Kassel, Kulturfabrik-Salzman, 2005
Video impression

NarcoTango in concert
Video vi_luz_y_subi.mpg

Dancing at NarcoTango music:

Group of young dancers doing a great job mixing different styles of dancing
Video en el Dorrego

Pablo Tegli y Veronica Vieyra, in Paris
Video (Windows Media)

Tango Campeonato in Buenos Aires
Energetic dance couple mixes salsa and Rock & Roll, and other styles, in their Tango performance
Video El Motivo

Young people dance 'Murga' style (very jumpy)in a group choreography

'3 is a crowd'

Chicho & Eugenia

Martin Gutierrez & Carolina Pizzo

Mariana & Murat
Video 2005

Marisa Galindo y Daniel Rodriguez
dancing at Vi Luz y Subi

Marisa y Pat
Video from Toronto 06

Tango Lorca
Album 'Mujer Sola', 2003 733792470620

Claim: "Merge old world tango aesthetics with a sinuous texture of jazz, flamenco and classical music and you have the immediately distinctive sound of Tango Lorca. Tango Lorca plays their music with a deep understanding of tradition as well as an obsessive desire to evolve the art form to new plateaus".

The 4 samples at te web however contain no traces of flamenco or jazz, but they're great tangos.

Go to
and listen to

1. Nuestra Hora Favorita
10. Paloma Negra
12. Canaro en París
16. Vuelvo al Sur

Zona Tango
'Brazil Tango',
Pedro Menéndez

Claim: "Electro bossa & tango. This CD introduces to the world the first innovative mixture between electro tango & bossa nova "

However, part from the melodie and text, there's nothing tango-like in this music. It is and stays typical brazilian music

Go to cdbaby.com/cd/zonatango
and check it for yourself.

Tango No. 9
'Radio Valencia'

© 2006 Spillhouse

Claim: "The songs are steeped in tradition and yet speak of the timeless emotions of passion, nostalgia, and struggle (...). Taking Piazzolla's driving, complex compositions, Tango Number 9 created their own sound by arranging and adding improvisation."

Texts like these appearently tell you nothing about the quality of the music. Emotion, struggle or passion, I didn't hear it. Though, speaking of emotion, the tangos do sound funny...The musicians are definatly having fun, and they're most likely able to radiate this to the audience.
Its a mixture of Tuba Tango, the sound of the very old tango orchestras and some Malando and so there's nothing close to the drive of Piazzolla's music. The sound of the tuba starts to irritate me after a few songs.

Listen to the samples at

La Balteuband
© 2006
Emilio Teubal 616892877424

La Balteuband is a NYC based instrumental ensemble lead by Emilio Teubal. His compositions are a blend of jazz and elements of Argentine music, such as rhythms like chacarera and zamba along with the lyricism of tango melodies (...). The compositional influences of Emilio Teubal include Astor Piazolla, Hermeto Pascual, Egberto Gismonti, and great masters of the jazz tradition such as Duke Ellington, Gil Evans, and Charles Mingus."


9 samples, but only the first one may be interesting for the neotango milongas

Track 1. 'A Caballo'
this one may become a favorite of the neotango lovers.

Suzanne Teng

'Katyia's Dance'

Claim: "This song has evolved from being a solo dance performance piece in our Mystic Journey shows into a passionate tango...for two. So grab someone you love and enjoy the dance!"


track 2. 'Katyia's Dance'

Sorry, but where's the passionate Tango...?


The editors favorite one:

Pablo Aslan
ZOHO Music L.L.C. 880956040226

"Buenos Aires-born bassist and composer Pablo Aslan is the leading exponent of the vibrant New York tango jazz scene. His sextet "Avantango" features the top Argentinian native tango and jazz musicians residing in New York."

Modern jazzy tango
The Tango style I believe is the real tango of these days. Not 'fusion', not 'neotango', but very 'tango' tango.

Go to
and listen to

1. Derviche
2. Deus Xango
10. El Enchanter
12. La Calle 92

Francis Covan

Covan is playing all instruments himself, one by one...

Neotango lovers, if you like the music of the movie Amelie, you'll like this music too.

11 Samples at the website
Listen to these:

7. Latine.
8. Sortilège (tango)
10. La valse de la couturière.
11. Mama.

Bindlestiff Family Cirkus
'From the Gutter to the Glitter'
© 2005
Cirkestra Music 837101022989

funny european style tango, in between gipsy and Malando like interpretations . 'Philomena' makes me think of KatzenTango from Sweden. played on accordion.

Enjoy some of this crazy stuff at cdbaby.com/cd/bindlestiff

6. Orificular Tango

3. Philomena.

4. Mr. Pennygaff
(just a piano solo)

Mandragora Tango Orchestra
"Mandragora Plays Tangos and Sad Waltzes"
© 2002 Bob Barnes

Claim: "Mandragora Plays Tangos and Sad Waltzes"

Only the first tune would be appreciated in a milonga. The album contains the european interpretation of tangos, the bandoneon part played on accordion.

Go to cdbaby.com/cd/mandragora2
and see what you think of

1. Pelimannin Jaahyvaiset

Joe Powers
'Amor de Tango'

Claim: "The album features 14 sizzling tracks of DANCEABLE Tango music"

Yes, it is danceable. And it is well played. But after a few songs dancers may cry for something else. The harmonica is on the foreground the whole time and that makes the ears tired a bit faster, than when it would blend in with the other instruments. I'd compare it with the effect the tuba of Tuba Tango has on me. Too much of the same instrument.

But check it out yourself, please. All 14 tracks have 2 minute samples at the website of CD baby!

Joe Powers (USA) will play with Mark Wyman (USA) in the milonga of TangoDiep in Amsterdam, next tuesday, May 8.