Tango and Company

24 10 2006

This past two weeks has been busy-busy-busy. The school had  its midterm visit from the accrediting organization, so everyone was up to their lashes in paperwork. And then this week is the school’s Foundation Day celebrations, so the students are neck-deep in hall decorating and dancing while I am neck-deep in some more paperwork Ahh, the life of a teacher…accept no substitutes.

As a matter of fact, I woke-up last Sunday and almost forgot it was my birthday. You would to if you had to be up at 4:30 AM so that you could perform an Irish Reel in front of more than a thousand people (my biggest audience to date. Woohoo!). Nevertheless, thank you to all who greeted, and to those who didn’t, and to those who did simply because somebody near them did first.

I got to spend some time with a few students on my birthday – the guitar teacher contracted them to play with us, and it was their first “real” performance onstage. Needless to say, they were terrified…until they played, and then they were just mortified. Ah well…that’s showbiz. To Melody, Hannah, Hansel, and Jessica – since I can’t convince you that it was perfectly alright, how about this: few people in the audience knew you, and fewer still will ever see you again. I bet when you think about it now, you laugh  😉

Speaking of music, I’ve just “discovered” the Tango. When Yoyo Ma came out with his Soul of the Tango album, he described Astor Piazzola’s music as “catching him – like a fever”. Listening to the album (especially the track Libertango),  I can somewhat feel the fever catching.

The first time I played a tango was during an informal jam session with a bunch of musicians during the school play some two years ago. The Music Director pumped out this tango from the movie True Lies, and I got to play cello on it. I remember being overcome by the deep emotions of the music on the spot, which imbued even the simplest line with inexorable, irrevocable passion. It was exhausting, but rarely have I encountered music that plays like a whirlwind from the opening chords all the way to the end before setting you down, dazed and bewildered but wanting to do the whole thing all over again.

How could I have ever thought of such music as lame?! It was incredible! I have no idea why I never pursued the music further, but I intend to make up for lost time.
I did some reading on the Tango, and this particular article convinced me that if I ever seriously, voluntarily dance a dance with a girl in my lifetime, it’s going to be the tango. And I mean the real Argentinian tango – not the watered-down, “funky-fusion” Western substitute. Read the article, and take note of the contrast made between American (i.e Western) men and Argentinian men, and how it all plays out on the dance floor.

Cue the bandoneon. It’s time to dance.

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