At the very beginning of this acoustic journey through the tango world of the Argentinian capital we don't hear the bandoneon - but still an early classic of the genre: "El Irresistible" from 1907, played by one of the precursors of the musicbox popular at that time in many bars of the city. But then it starts to wheeze and pant, the bellow of the bandoneon that makes tango breath. With melancholy but percussive as well Osvaldo Montes plays "Silbando", composed in 1906 by the pianist, journalist and boxer Cátulo Castillo. The melodies from the first decades of our century still are omnipresent at the great tango shows visited by tourists as well as in places where the people of the city meet to hear tango music.
In the big shows the classical songs - although often played authentically by good musicians - are in many cases only an ingredient for spectacles with dance scenes that would be more appropriate for Hollywood. But in the outer barrios (districts) of Buenos Aires where tango was born at the end of the 19th century, the songs are still alive. Here you don't find the classical concert situation: artists on stage - and people who are just listening. Everybody in the audience knows the melodies, so people don't only encourage the musicians shouting and clapping, often they get up, start to sing and dance. "Tango nuevo" is not often played in these places although its influence shines up occasionally. But whereas after one of the concerts of Astor Piazzola in Europe the culturally hip used to discuss about avantgarde-aspects, here it's all about something completely different: people of the barrio, their emotions – and songs who have always been their songs.
The AudioFilm "Noches de Buenos Aires" takes listeners on a trip into the heart of this scene: into the intense atmosphere of places like the "El Chino", the "El Samovar de Rasputin" or the "Casa del Tango". Hardly any tourists mingle with the crowd of regular guests: Even if they knew of the places they would still hesitate to go to the barrios where tango has always been at home. The musical variety of "Tango Vivo" includes "Tres equinas" with fierce guitar accompaniment far from perfectionistic ideals as well as the elaborate but still folkloristic instrumental music of the quintet Tangata Rea or the highly sentimental singing of Carlos Gari accompanied by a quartet from one of the tango shows. Luis Cardei, often compared with the legendary singer Carlos Gardel, has become famous with his bandoneon player Antonio Pisano in the Eighties. Among the people renewing the tango with much respect for the classical songs are singer Patricia Barone and her musical director, guitarist Javier González.
Many of the great composers are represented in the repertoire: from Roberto Firpo, founder of the orquestra tipica, to Eduardo Arolas who has become famous as "El tigre del bandoneón" and "tangopapa" Angel Villoldo, whose popular song "El choclo" can be heard on the CD in different versions. That these songs some of which are nearly 100 years old are still sung so often is not a matter of nostalgia. They are part of everyday life, because they still express an attitude that people identify with. As an AudioFilm "Noches de Buenos Aires" transports the fascination of the city and its music. Sounds, voices and music make you feel as if you would have been in La Boca close to the harbour or at the Bar "El Chino" when the musicians of Tangata Rea turned up there unexpected for a serenade at El Chinos birthday. They usually don't play gigs there. It was a matter of having fun for them: just playing music -