Review Carel Kraayenhof Puro Musica Argentina

Carel Kraayenhof & Juan Pablo Dobal: „Puro. Música Argentina“
Bando Dreams
An appealingly designed cover is a good `opener´ to approach new music. With their new CD Puro, the Dutch bandoneonist Carel Kraayenhof and the Argentine pianist Juan Pablo Dobal managed exactly this, including a well-featured booklet with several nostalgic photos to indicate what the listeners may expect. Namely, a musical journey through different regions of Argentina highlighting their own different music styles (i.e., zamba, chacarera, cueca, guarania, tango, milonga etc.). The duo selected 14 songs of Argentine composers from the first half of the 20th century, i.e., from Giménez (*1904), Yupanqui (*1908), Troilo (*1914), Barbieri (*1914), Salgán (*1916), Piazzolla (*1921), Falú (*1923), Toro (*1941) and Nieva (*1932), but also from Kraayenhof (*1958) and Dobal (*1964) themselves. The fact that all songs were recorded in one day surely preserved the rich dynamic of their interpretations. With Puro, Kraayenhof and Dobal – who started to play together in 1989 with the quartet Viento del Sur and are performing as a duo since 2010 – picked up the melancholic impression of the photos from the booklet (i.e., Piazzolla´s lovely „Solitude“, Falú´s touching „Zamba De La Candelaria“, or Dobal´s melancholy „Remanso“). Yet they don´t stick with this nostalgic feeling in all songs, and that way Dobal´s „Cuando Despierto Mañana“ surprises with a lively polyrhythmic, or Salgán´s dynamic „A Fuego Lento“. Over and over the delicate sensitivity of both musicians appears – they succeed to they give `space´ for the melodies to unfold, and for their duo partnership, too.
When the „good old times“ are long gone, the spirit still lives on, invites to dream, to laugh, to weep – and maybe to dance. But actually nothing is really gone when someone remembers – and this is what this excellent duo manages to do.
Even if one may have wished that some of their selected songs would have been presented with a quartet to grasp their full depth, piano and bandoneon are tonally so rich and both musicians so sensitive in their interpretations that one starts smiling after several rounds of listening – actually nothing is missing. Beautiful the way it is.
Do these songs invite to dance? Not really (even when one could dance to all of them, of course): I was fascinated as a relished listener. But stop, there is this strange feeling in my toes: „El Antigal“… („This is not a true tango!“, „Indeed, it is a zamba.“)

Arndt Büssing

Press release – Liberación album release

Bandoneón player/composer Carel Kraayenhof has invested most of the past two years on his new album:
Carel Kraayenhof is a traveling musician. His inspiration comes from the richness from local music, which he encounters during his tours. Music from people who leave everything behind hoping to find a better future somewhere else. Music from slaves who are forced to move to a new continent. Music that brings comfort to a new and strange place. Music without borders, where a call for freedom shines through; may this music be called a tango, tumba or klezmer.
Once again our world lives through a turbulent period; so many people fleeing, running away from hunger, poverty and war. And once again the entire world is watching. How have we become so indifferent, as Pope Francis says, to others? Are musicians able to bring this indifference to the surface, and maybe even soften it?

Musicians are similar to sailors: when they are home, they dream of the sea, of concerts in far away countries; but when they are travelling, they wish they were home, their hearts warm from thoughts about their loved ones. In this process of dreaming and hoping, but also from the pain of saying goodbye and being away, new music comes to life; straight from the heart. Carel Kraayenhof lets himself be inspired by all he feels, hears and experiences. In this way he wrote ‘Lampedusa’ and ‘Aleppo’ and made a new arrangement for Astor Piazzolla’s “freedom tango” ‘Libertango’. But Carel is also inspired by his direct environment, one of the results is ‘Ida y Vuelta’: a song in honor of the first violin player Bert Vos’ mother, the Jewish writer Ida Vos. Who, as a young girl, was forced to go into hiding during the Second World War. Even though the theme is at times dramatic, the new album Liberación brings particularly hope and joy, freedom is broadly celebrated! Carel does this together with the musicians of the Carel Kraayenhof Ensemble. In addition to Carel’s new compositions, in this album you will find some of his special tangos, such as ‘El Corte’, ‘Un Tornillo’ and the milonga ‘El Fuego del Fueye’.

Biography Carel Kraayenhof:
Carel Kraayenhof (1958) started his musical career as a piano player and started to play the bandoneón when he was 26 years old. After playing folk music for several years together with his brother Jaap, he discovered the Argentine tango. Soon enough he became a master of the traditional tango as well as the tango nuevo. Carel often collaborates with nationally and internationally renowned orchestras. He has worked together with world wide famous artists such as Sting, Joshua Bell, Yo-Yo Ma and Ennio Morricone; in the Netherlands his talent was shared with musicians such as Bløf, Andre Hazes, Trijntje Oosthuis, Paul de Leeuw and Janine Jansen
Release: 31 October 2014 – Label: Bando Dreams – Distribution cd: Pias/Rough Trade

Theater tour Liberación premiers: 13 January 2015 Stadsschouwburg Utrecht, The Netherlands
Contact information : Thirza Lourens-
T. 0299.690821 M. 06.51400899