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Yo! 55:04 $17.98
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1 La Cumparsita 3:28 $2.49 Buy
2 Cuesta abajo 3:49 $2.49 Buy
3 Sonamos el Tango 4:19 $2.49 Buy
4 Tangologie 3:42 $2.49 Buy
5 Discepolin 3:07 $2.49 Buy
6 Mariana, Mariana 3:29 $2.49 Buy
7 La Guitarra 3:49 $2.49 Buy
8 A la Una yo Naci 1:14 $2.49 Buy
9 Milonga for Three 5:50 $2.49 Buy
10 Maquillaje 3:37 $2.49 Buy
11 Te amo 5:50 $2.49 Buy
12 Gorrion de Hoy (Interlude) 0:58 $2.49 Buy
13 Sobre la Tierra (Out into the Fields) 2:47 $2.49 Buy
14 Me Vuelves Loca 2:46 $2.49 Buy
15 Milonga de los Vientos 5:30 $2.49 Buy
16 Gorrion de Hoy (Finale) 0:49 $2.49 Buy

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So Silvana walks on stage and everything else kind of falls away. Yeah, the lighting, the proportions of the stage, the distance between the listener, the observer, and the singer, actress, everything. I’ve seen it, I’ve been there. If she walks into the frame of the movie, everything else becomes a distant, shaded, background: the other actors, the lighting; and, as only in others of the rarest cases of charisma, the framing actually dissipates. Again, I’ve seen it. And fuck those of you who are so deaf to the tango as to have snickered when reading an account of the truth. On stage, the other players are still there, it’s still the context, the bandoneon, the stern faces in their places, but it’s only a context in which Sylvana’s music, through which Silvana, that tango, can be accessed. She could go to the front of the stage (say, if the sound system fell apart, and the musicians stopped...) and kneel on the edge of it, and sing a capella, and an audience of three thousand would push to the front, not just to hear her fantastic voice, but to be closer to the perfume, the scent of that tango. We all know that the tango’s not really a music. It’s the intense, dark glow and romance surrounding a player. Expectations of a history, or of a danger. Maybe of a chance to access a darkness still inside the listener, or whatever. I guess that’s where the danger reference comes in. The macho Tango around Astor Piazzolla, or Goyenche or (still) around Gardel. But the female tango is just as intense. Inverse, but just as strong a scent, just as dark. It’s the female confidence of that tango around Sylvana that makes the surroundings dissipate. For a second. And the voice, of course: it’s not just the perfect intonation or gorgeous tone, it’s the swing behind the anticipation, it’s that sound and swagger of sex made audible. Aw, you knew that already. That’s why you’re listening to this record. Maybe restating the obvious, what made Astor the King of the Tango wasn’t really the formal innovations, the layers of dark and light and counterpoint, and shifting, viscerally breathtaking, chordal changes and complex references in his compositions. It was the fact that he had the guts and vision and defiance and fight to change the music he inherited into something that described the darkness inside himself. What made Malvi, Pablo, Suarez Paz and Console the best tango band of our time wasn’t their awesome command of their instruments (although I dare you to name any other musicians with as deep technical skills), but it was the way they took Astor’s music, and dangers, and arrogantly made it so naturally parts of their own personal swaggers. And what makes Sylvana the Queen of the Tango has, of course, even less to do with compositional or instrumental innovations than in Astor’s case. It has, though just as much to do with the darkness that she arrogantly surrounds herself with, and with that pause, and that sexual anticipation, y’know, that tango. Anyway, all that shit about the tango dying, or being antiquated, or whatever. There’s really nothing in the tango that can be superseded. There’s never going to be a time when we won’t be able to feel the dark glow, and not be able to smell the sex in the danger around Silvana. Yeah, the real tango. ----- The above was written a few years ago, but I still believe every word is true, and it pretty much explains why I agreed to make this record with Silvana. As far as more incidental facts are concerned: I first met Silvana through her husband, the film maker Heinz-Peter Schwerfel, when he interviewed me for an article in 1992. I had actually heard of Silvana through the Piazzolla guys earlier, that there was this stunning Tanguera in Paris who had it in her enough to get me over my dislike of Tango singers (Goyenche excepted). In fact, I was reluctant to listen to her sing once I met her socially. I mean, I hate that bombastic tango voice projection (no room for acoustic intimacy or subtlety?), and what if her music was really no better... And we'd grown to care about her so much personally... So it was an awkward couple of years before I saw one of Heinz' film with Silvana, within which, as on stage, her relaxed, but intense charisma made everything else in frame fall to the background - the other actors, the rooms, the light. Wow. Finally listening to her sing on a straighter tango record confirmed that, within phrasing and projection located in Tango tradition, she nurtured a sense of intimacy and subtlety. Working with her on a song for the Paul Haines' record "Darn it!", and later on the first "A Thousand Nights and a Night" record confirmed that she could sing any complex, emotional style, and while carrying the Tango with her, in her voice, still make it sound "modern", and always like her, like Silvana. As we all know: the sign of a great singer. Yeah. Silvana, as she says in her liner notes, knew that I could not, or would not, make a straight Tango record. I'd choke as the living air left the room - yeah, of course there was a reason Astor chose me as his producer / protege. But she'd made a number of straight tango records already, and felt it was time for a project that would engage the full woman, living in 20th/ 21st century Paris / Buenos Aires, still carrying the Tango within her, within her voice's phrasing instincts, but not restricted by the form's expectations and limitations. We all know by now that no racist idea that a people, or musicians from a certain nationality, should be restricted to, or expected to perform only music we deemed as authentic, frozen in time, really has the right to condemn those musicians' creativity and breathing. Silvana, of course, listens to John Coltrane, or John Barry, for that matter, as much as we do. I'm actually motivated to include that last bit in response to a small audience in Japan, where the record was released earlier, who still complained that "Yo!" wasn't really Tango, and therefore not real. Hey, I thought we passed that limited thinking years ago! Well.... But it doesn't really matter (does it?), as her personality, and her art, are so strong on this record that all those questions fall away. No? So, with Silvana's voice as the center of gravity, and her choice of songs, both Tango songs, and non Tango songs, both new (some written for this record), and some old, and a band made up of non Tango musicians informed by Tango, and Tango musicians informed by the musics outside tango, we formed this record. When we finished the arrangement for La Cumparista (the liner notes explain a little about why it was important for me to suggest this song...), Swallow, uncharacteristically high-fived me, and exclaimed "yeah, we did it!" The project, set up by the Diva, was to form a record around her inclinations, and understanding of possibilities, that would allow a new music to naturally emerge, informed by Tango, steeped in it, but not limited by it. A new music, but felt as a natural and sincere development, a personal liberation. And, of course, all Silvana. And I think, yeah, Swallow, and Renaud, and the other players, and Silvana, are right. We did it. But, of course, it's all really Silvana. Everything else falls to the background, in place. about some of the songs (supplemental to the liner notes): “Decepolin”: I had to suggest this song, as it's a reference to older tango within an older tango. But the funny thing is that the composer, Troilo, was a protege of the subject, who's themes are quoted - but what the hell did Decepolin do to him to inspire him to write such a comically unflattering tribute? I guess it's tender, kind of, but still... Maybe Fernando knows... “Cuesta Abajo”: hey, we can't even play with, or play against, let alone transcend Tango singing without a play against, as well as with, the master and his own songs. It's a way of defining yourself. “Me Vuelvas Loca”: The first song suggested by Silvana for the project, the cornerstone, if there is one.... It was the non Tango / South American pop song that after hearing it on a Elis Regina record, Silvana heard as the entry to a deeper, less restrictive music for her. It's also the closest this producer's ever come, or will go again, to straight pop song form, with bridges, hooks,etc. “Mariana, Mariana”; and “Te Amo”: I'm a deep, passionate fan of both Edu Lobo and Chico Buarque, and Silvana was up to moving these songs into her Tango inflected orbit. The Edu song seemed, almost, to be a milonga, it was so comfortable, while the gorgeous Chico song was so comfortable for Silvana's real personality and voice. We had spoken to Chico earlier about getting the words he had written in collaboration with Astor, but he declined, as Astor had been furious at him for being late in delivering them, and rejected them. Yeah, a spontaneous decision that'd be no surprise to those of us who knew him, but still a shame. Maybe some day, Chico will change his mind. Although with Astor no longer here to call Chico with a change of mind, I understand. But, maybe.. “A la Una Yo Naci”: a comfortable autobiographical aside, a reference to Silvana's family background. There's so much magic in those songs. “Tangologie”: OK, Piazzolla's compositions aside, a sweet suggestion by Malvi in the early '50s as to what both Jazz and Tango had in deep common. I first heard it, and loved it, on Astor's Octet record (brilliant, even if Astor partially disowned it...) from 1956. Malvi, after all, was the star bebop guitarist in Buenos Aires in the late forties and early fifties when he and Astor formed that lifetime friendship and musical partnership. I'm almost convinced that since Astor never really liked the guitar, he included the instrument in his compositions and bands solely because of Malvi. Silvana agreed that the inclusion of this instrumental aside said a lot about precedence in music that took the tango into other musics, or other musics through the tango... “Sobre de Tierra”: Jack Bruce has been such a integral part of american clave over the last twenty years (work that Silvana's been a vocal fan of), it made all the sense in the world to have something of his as part of this new music. Out Into The Fields felt like it has such a natural Argentine Country 6 feel, the words, and their images, seemed to translate so smoothly into Spanish, and the idea of a woman singing it with strength... yeah. Swallow's striking clear, kinetic arrangement locked it as one of the strongest pieces, I think. “Milonga en el Viento” and the “Gorrion de Hoy” pieces are Pablo's take on what a new Argentine, tango influenced pop could sound like. And as I mentioned in the liner notes, “La Cumparsita” and “Milonga for Three” are two different Astor promises addressed, and I'd swear that every word in “Sonamos de Tango” is true. about some of the players: Steve Swallow has so many fans (the word "admirers seems to reserved, it doesn't apply) among musicians, that any honest, heart felt description of his music, by almost anyone who's known and worked with him, starts off sounding like platitudes. But, hell, they're on the money, overused words just won't cover. As a bass player, he's worked with Jimmy Gufrey, Paul Bley, Gary Burton, Gary McFarland, Carla Bley, John Scofield, and too many other names to mention here. As a band leader / composer, Steve's record "Home" enters my book as one of the best records of the 1970s. But it's as a composer / arranger, along with his bass playing, that Swallow's contributed the most to american clave. The success of the record "Desire Develops an Edge", which helped put american clave on the map in 1984, owes a hell of a lot to Steve's innate ability to immediately understand, and appreciate, the most creative, but rough and partially formed, and sometimes innefable musical ideas coming from all sources, from the most musically trained to the most insistently intuitive, and translate them, and collaborate with them, and help transform them into the most approachable, and coherent music. And Steve is able to do all this without adding any unnecessary polish. Does all that make sense? His further contributions to amclav, on the Conjure records as well as many of my own solo records, adds just so much MUSIC. The fact that Astor was (and as Malvi and Pablo are) vocal fans of Swallow, as well as the fact that he has a long time knowledge of Piazzolla's work, and a amused affection for some old tangos, made him the obvious choice for the main non Tango co-conceptualist / arranger. Does THAT make sense? Pablo Ziegler was the piano player for Astor Piazzolla's classic quintet in the 1980s, and has recently maintained a band in Buenos Aires, and a band of Argentine expatriates in New York in a continuation of the Piazzolla outlook of encouraging the Tango to change from within, and to integrate newer ideas, formal techniques, and emotional dimensions suggested mostly from jazz, in Pablo's case. He's also contributed a record of Piazzolla's music transcribed for two pianos, and recorded with Emmanual Ax, as well as continuing to play Piazzolla's music as a soloist in symphonic contexts. Horacio Malvicino, as mentioned above, was considered the best bebop guitarist in Buenos Aires in the late forties / early fifties when he and Astor Piazzolla formed a lifetime partnership and friendship. And, as also mentioned above, I'm convinced Astor wrote the guitar parts, in fact included the instrument, mainly with Malvi in mind. I'd like to say he's one of the smartest and wittiest musicians I've ever met, but then I remember he left Med School in the forties to become a musician, and have to reconsider. He continues to work on projects that interest him, often with Piazzolla's other '50s bandoneon player, Fredrico, but only when they want to, as they're the directors of Argentina's version of ASCAP, and so don't hurt.... Well, maybe that Med School aside wasn't on the money... Fernando Suarez Paz - the third member of Piazzolla's classic quintet to work on this project, his beautiful tone is inseparable from that band's tone. As a fiddler that awesomely good, he's had no trouble working in classical, jingle and tango contexts for the 15 years since the quintet's disbanding. He's also released (in Argentina) a beautiful record of Piazzolla arranged for strings (Strings for Piazzolla), as well as two records with the Assad brothers of Piazzolla compositions arranged for violin and guitar. That tone, that fucking beautiful tone.... Again, as I mentioned in the liner notes, working with Malvi, Suarez Paz and Pablo again, for the first time since Astor moved to a sextet in 1989, was such a real, sweet thrill. Yeah, Astor's ghost still makes an appearance, but the music and feel amongst them! Wow. Renaud Garcia Fons - hey, I've never met, or heard, another bass player who's BOWING is so much in tune, but that's only one tiny part of just how great a bassist he is. The real location of his greatness, as I'm sure you know, is in his feel, in his swing. The technical stuff, which with Renaud is stop-in-your-tracks brilliant, is just a way of getting instrumental limitations out of the way. His work on one song included on my record "All Roads Are Made of the Flesh" might give you some idea, if you haven't already heard in other contexts. Robby Ameen has been the main trap drummer for american clave since Ruben Blades introduced him to us while we were both preparing for a Carnegie Hall concert in 1985. His powerful swing and understanding of complex time, structures, and the range of "Latin" rhythms, supplemented by his ability to read music, even complex percussion parts, as easily as breathing, has locked the "structure / form" trap drum seat (of the usually two trap drum section) for american clave. He holds the main drum position for Conjure, Deep Rumba, and A Thousand Nights and a Night as well as just about all of my solo projects, in the studio and on stage. Robby's also worked with Dizzy Gillespie, Paul Simon, Christie McCall, Eddie Palmieri and Gato Barbieri as well as maintaining a long time collaboration with Ruben Blades and Dave Valentine, and now Jack Bruce. He's also currently co leading a band with the other american clave trap drummer, El Negro Horacio Hernandez - check out the other new release in this package. Alfredo Triff arrived in New York from Cuba during the Mariel boat lift in 1980 from Cuba, where he was at least partially groomed by the government as the "premiere violinist in Cuba." Kip Hanrahan is a producer / composer who was dragged into the heart of the creative restlessness of modern tango by his collaborations, musical and business partnerships, and deep friendship with Astor Piazzolla. Although he's still uncomfortable with traditional tango, he loves Silvana's music, and had a ball helping fabricate a record and new music around Silvana's instincts in transcending tango, her first music, and it's limitations. If you have any question at all, or if you'd like to get in touch with Silvana, please don't hesitate to reach me at (703) 476-2872 or at american_clave@hotmail.com. If you have any quick questions about any of the records or players who's work forms american clave, www.americanclave.com has quite a bit of information, including a full players' index. -Kip Hanrahan