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Monday, 5 April 2010

The singer - just another instrument in D’Arienzo’s orchestra?

Juan D’Arienzo, the King of Rhythm apparently once said that the human voice should be no more than an instrument in the tango orchestra. He blamed the declining popularity of tango in the late forties on the starring role of the singers. However, thanks to D’Arienzo’s high energy tangos, valses and milongas, dancers continued to be drawn irresistibly to the dance-floor.

He recorded with a large number of singers, yet I find myself returning to just two of them: Alberto Echagüe and Hector Mauré. Despite his views on the singer’s role, these fellows certainly left their very distinctive imprints on their recordings with D’Arienzo, perhaps despite him! The hard voice of Echagüe reminds us that the stories of these pieces – in this case Pensalo bien - are usually set in uncompromising, working-class neighbourhoods. Here's a treat - a historic video clip of Alberto Echagüe singing Paciencia with D'Arienzo's orchestra.

Contrast that with Hector Mauré singing Amarras whose more refined voice lends everything a more romantic feel. Which is better? Just depends on the mood. I love dancing to them both.

Finally, Geraldine and Javier perform to Humillación sung by Mauré

Do you prefer to dance just to instrumentals, or do you like the singers, too?


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