Tango Heroes amuses and touches

Tango Heroes: by Carel Kraayenhof with his Sexteto Canyengue a.o.Heard 13-11, Leidse Schouwburg. Tour until 7-12.

He says that he takes us with him to Buenos Aires to discover the real tango.And indeed, bandoneonplayer Carel Kraayenhof (49) brings us, in his concert Tango Heroes, to an old harbour area. He explains that Argentinian tango-musicians gather there in nightclubs, after playing their commercial numbers for busloads of tourists, to render the authentic tango. There they play for their own pleasure. There they sing, dance and drink.Carel Kraayenhof, the tangomusician who touched princess Maxima on her weddingday in 2002, plays tango for over 20 years now. So Tango Heroes is his jubilee-concert. In this concert he honours his favorite composers and bandoneonplayers Alfredo Marcucci(who recently played in the LVC), Juan José Mosalini and the pianist Osvaldo Pugliese, who died in 1995. Sexteto Canyengue assists him, together with the Argentinian singer Omar Mollo and the dance-couple Arjan Sikking and Marianne van Berlo. On the stage of the theatre a nightclub has been built. Wooden tables and chairs, a bar with an old gramophone, glasses and bottles of wine on it. Dancer Arjan is the barkeeper and welcomes Carel Kraayenhof and his musicians: a second bandoneonplayer, two violinists, a pianist and a bass player. The party can begin.This sextet, in this strength since 2005, really plays with each other. They drive the rhythms to a climax but the music remains subtle and straight.Besides the melancholic tango, in which there is, according to Carel Kraayenhof,a lot of suffering they also play cheerful rhythms like the candombe with percussion, the quick milonga and the waltz.Arjan and Marianne, already in the spotlights now for many years in the tango-scene and being the owners of a tangoschool in Amsterdam, dance in a couple of numbers. Omar Mollo takes charge of the songs in a relaxed way.First violinist Emma Breedveld and second bandoneonplayer Ville Hiltula (from Finnland) effortless pull the tango from their instruments. They play with as much passion as their artistic leader.The expressive singing and modest dancing fit in perfectly.All those circumstances together make Tango Heroes a theatre-concert that is amusing as well as touching and never boring. In this imitation café the sound of the tango reaches its full growth. There is no fooling around, here the tangomusic is played and lived through.It was not for nothing that Carel Kraayenhof in 2005 was honouredwith a decoration by the Argentinian government for his efforts as ‘ambassador of the tango’! Not only he has the tango in his fingers, he also has it in his blood.

Sabine van den Berg, Leidsch Dagblad

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