The Moonlight Tango Winter Festival is a cultural event encompassing many arts forms including visual arts. This year, we are honoured to host an exhibition by Argentine periodísta Roberto Espinosa and ilustrator Héctor Palacios who offered their stupendous work for charity. Their set of 19 images on Tango Key Figures will be on sale (limited numbers per image) during the Festival together with tote bags illustrated by the images of Héctor Palacios. All proceeds from the sale will go to Parkinson's QLD.
Roberto and Héctor live in San Miguel de Tucumán in the north of Argentina and work for La Gaceta de Tucumán. During their many years as reporters, they have rubbed shoulders with influential figures in the world of tango and Argentine Folklore (e.g. Academia Nacional del Folklore de la República Argentina). Héctor studied at the Facultad de Artes de la Universidad Nacional de Tucumán where he also thought until the 80s.
Tucumán, en el norte de Argentina donde la música y la cultura autóctona de raíces de la civilización Inca. Vale aclarar que el tango llego y prendió en las ciudades como Tucumán.
We have chosen them not only for the beauty of their work but also to spread Argentine culture during the Festival. We hope you will be purchasing their images and supporting the charity.
More on this work on YouTube
More on these pieces in Spanish at La Gaceta
Astor Piazzolla. Bandoneon sounds. A shark freezes its dreams between the waves. An absence of lightness pierces the bandoneon. A melody dilates the silence. A nocturne of tangos hides in Mar del Plata. The sea lions beat the rhythm of Nonino's, typing the melancholy of a bellows that breathes pain in a corner.
1939. An 18-year-old boy rings the bell. A man comes out the door. With a napkin around his neck showing his spaghetti sauce, lets the boy in and asks him to wait for him. Later. "What did you want to talk to me about? - I heard your music at the Teatro Colón and I fell in love with your way of playing. So I went home and decided to write a piano concerto for you. - Aha, this is the piano part and the Where is the orchestra? - Well, I don't know, I wrote a piano concerto... - But every concert has an orchestra, otherwise it would be a sonata or a suite. Do you like music? - Yes, of course. - Then why don't you study? Arthur Rubinstein's very strong but cordial gaze sheds light on Astor Piazzolla's thoughts. The fueyista later became Alberto Ginastera's first student. No grace "My first music studies began there, I began to write and understand a little more than music. And because of that knowledge, that new culture, I start to make new arrangements, I write for string quartet, for a large orchestra. At that time he was playing in the Troilo orchestra. The arrangements were very advanced for the time and many people who listened were not amused, because unfortunately in 1939 or 1940, like today, in Argentina you can change everything except tango. It was like converting to another religion: going from being a Christian to Buddhism. Tango should not be changed, it had to remain in the 1940 style. I had the happy idea, for myself, of changing it and from 1940 until now, I have had the most tremendous problems in my life for a single cause: wanting to change, to evolve in a popular music".
1953. A sweet look settles on his mustache. Her pensive glasses question him: "he has worked hard with me. He has composed sonatas, chamber music, symphony; everything is very well written, but you are not in those works. What do you do in Argentina?" A New York mob goes through his mind, recreating old episodes from his childhood: the skyscrapers, the ghettos, Nonino's nostalgia - his father - for Gardel's tangos. The brothel night in Buenos Aires raises their flags crossing a two by four in the smoke. Before answering, the young musician takes a look at the Parisian studio. He is not sure whether to tell the truth to his famous teacher. He risks: "I play tangos on the bandoneon." I left at the piano and I played a tango of my own. "Tango is very beautiful music and the bandoneon is a marvellous instrument." Nadia Boulanger pauses and adds: "there you are. Keep doing it, it's going to go well for you". The light illuminates his heart again. Inside the skin "Tango is music that is carried inside the skin. I take advantage of all the musical culture of the years that I studied with Ginastera and Nadia Boulanger, I put all that knowledge at the service of the tango that I feel and that I know very well because I played with the best orchestras in Buenos Aires for more than 20 years, I worked in almost all the cabarets, so I have a huge head of tango and with one very important thing: music plus tango equals evolution, a search, equals everything that tango should be. Unfortunately, 99% of tango composers do not have a musical culture and that is what prevents them from evolving. I moved on and luckily my music is not dead. Music that does not change dies: water that stagnates rots". The violin rhythmically scratches the air, the guitar begins a counterpoint with the bellows. "I think that those who fail the most in this life are the individuals who set out to be different . You are born different, you are not made different. I am not what my music is. This is very melancholic, it can be sad, violent, even religious. And I'm not like that: I'm a very funny person, I really like life, sports. I am a 'bon vivant', I am anti-tango in life; I am anti-night and tango is night. I like the morning, the day, nature, the flowers, the forests. For me, tango is synonymous with cabaret, the thief, the policeman, the gigolo, drugs, it's all that is twisted in life. That was tango, it was born in the brothels, in the underworld of Buenos Aires". Autumn in Buenos Aires is in a coma. July 4, 1992. Double A is undressing its sadness. Astor dreams of one last whiskey. Milva's voice crashes at night: I will die in Buenos Aires, it will be at dawn... Roberto Espinosa
Carlos Gardel: Sing life, because you are. Colombia. 1935. Burst, screams, smoke. The fire brushes his eyelids. A tachycardia of flashes surrounds the pupils of memory. Life hits him in the temples. The smells of the Abasto poison the mishiadura. Frogs and yoruguas echoes intermingle with it. Rumors of disappointment perch on the Reina del Plata. Criticism hurts. Friends fall apart. Debts. Ingratitude. She doesn't lose her sanity. She sometimes has a hard time. She makes an effort and appears. Also in her eyes. “Flor de tango” and “Mi noche triste” inaugurate citizen music from a recording in 1917. The images of an autumnal garden walk through the tables that May 9, 1919. In the Esmeralda Hall, by Muñecas 284, the emotion of Tucumán he wakes up for four nights with that handful of Creole songs that the duo that he makes up with José Razzano gives away. The screening of two films precedes each performance. Echoes of seconds. She lights up again. 1931, French Riviera. Party. Two Carlitos. One, in love with May Reeves, does not let up with the bottle of cognac. The other launches a tango. He touches the soul of the duende of "El pibe". “He started singing and I was deeply impressed. He had a gift beyond his voice and his figure, and an enormous personal sympathy with which she immediately won everyone's affection, ”says Chaplin. The voice of Federico, a poet from Granada, flutters in his ears: "He's my brother from the day I heard him sing a jota and a tango." She is generous. Her arms always open to joy. To the life. She crosses borders. Spain. France. Colombia. Venezuela. Puerto Rico… she Arrives in New York. She stamps her soul in “Cuesta abajo”, “Tango en Broadway”, “El día que me quieras”, “Tango bar”, films that will take her away from her. She will embrace multitudes. Medellin airport, June 24. The clock is on his heels at 15. Premonition. Goodbye rattles. She clings to a feeling. “Wandering back in the shadows, my distant land, under your sky, this solitude of swallows whistles a suburban melody. My dear Buenos Aires, the kiss on her lips... was her love for a day, I'm going downhill with my bitterness. I want the kiss of her painted little mouths, fragile dolls of oblivion and pleasure... When you are not here my hope dies, everything is pain... the fountain sings, life laughs because you are there. I shriek in my sadness... in my poor pariah life... he came back one night with a sad look and without light... there were so many winters on my forehead, that I take and force... I know that a man should not cry... his kissing mouth erases sadness... She left in silence, without a reproach... I wanted to shelter her and death could do more... a promise and a sigh erased a tear of sorrow from that song... I am afraid of the encounter... I am afraid of the nights... new hopes rock in their cradles... silence at night, silence in the souls…”, sings Carlos Gardel's smile in a low voice. Roberto Espinosa
Osvaldo Pugliese. The dates of Villa Crespo. A milonga meanders through the thick lenses, awakening thrushes in the trees of Villa Crespo. “La yumba” escapes through the buttonholes of the soul, looking for a past of nightclubs and orchestras, of cells and bellows, a social feeling. It is December 2, 1905, when Osvaldo Pugliese dawns on the world. “My neighbourhood was one of the shores of Buenos Aires; It grew around a shoe factory. My father was a leather cutter, as well as an amateur musician. But Villa Crespo was the emporium of popular music. One would leave his house, go to the café and surely he would find a trio, a quartet or a tango singer there. No one needed to cross borders because in that small country, the neighbourhood, one had everything. I remember that when one moved to the centre we would say goodbye to him as if he were going to Japan. We all thought we wouldn't see him anymore." The eighth notes sprout on the violin when he approaches the age of 12. “When I finished fourth grade, I told my dad that I didn't want to go to school anymore. He put me to work in a printing press. I scratched the violin. One day I came home and found a piano. "You have to study," my old man told me. And I studied with Vicente Scaramuzza and with Antonio d'Agostino”. His mother walks around the room and stops. Osvaldo is playing the first melodies. “To Colón, to Colón!”, he tells him and kisses him on the forehead. “I know that more than an aspiration it was a dream, which over time came true. That's why the night I played at the Colón, I apologized to the audience and dedicated the performance to my mother." The bandoneon player Domingo Faillac summoned him. He is 14 years old. The debut is at Café de La Chancha. “Tango has two very well defined facets: the melodic and the harmonic or milonguera. When I had the opportunity to put together my orchestra, I said: which line should I choose? And it was the milonguera; I always remained true to that trend. Whether I did right or wrong is something else, but in my feelings and conscience I was always faithful to her. 1936. Social sensitivity brings him closer to the communist party where he militates until the end of his days. “I had my truth and the fight proved me right. When one chooses to be a member of a party, he exposes himself to all the satisfactions and disappointments of the thing. His ideology and militancy made me change the concept of life”. For his ideas, Juan Perón sent him to jail, an attitude that was later repeated by the Liberating Revolution. But he hardly ever talks about those mishaps. “It is not an invested capital that has to give income, that's why I don't like to boast of the times that I was banned or infatuated. I don't think being in prison is a virtue to go around proclaiming it and make people admire you for it. They are simply vicissitudes of militant life." Triumphs do not cloud him; his orchestra is still a cooperative where everything is shared equally. Troilo, Cobián and Francisco de Caro are his admirers. “I respect the professionals and singers who are dedicated to rock, but I do not share the character of national music that they try to give it. I do not agree there. Youth have to set foot on their own land because there are deep roots there that they still don't know and underestimate due to age. Tango is a tree that will always bear fruit because it is living in a fertile land, which is the popular soul”. Roberto Espinosa