It has been some time since we have heard from Maria Cangiano. But the sultry-voiced Argentinean contralto has returned with a new recording of tangos. In fact it is another look at Astor Piazzolla’s music and, happily, this time it is from the perspective of a vocalist. But this is not the only cause for unfettered joy. The lithe, sinuous arrangements feature Miss Cangiano together with a pianist, violinist, flutist, bassist, saxophonist and the drum-playing grandson of Mr Piazzolla himself – “Pipi” Piazzolla make this a complete departure from how Mr Piazzolla’s nuevo tango which almost always – despite the promise of “re-imagining” seems to rely upon the traditional sound of Argentinean tango with the inclusion of the bandoneon.
Miss Cangiano, on the other hand has taken a big leap of faith by dispensing with the instrument – iconic to everything “Piazzolla”. And she has relied on her voice to convey all of the emotion and the wheezing drama of the tango. There is a kind of “double-whammy” here as well as Miss Cangiano is not anyone’s kind of “everyday” contemporary vocal artist. Hers is a path untrodden by most – if not all vocalists these days. Miss Cangiano brings a rare hybrid of the operatic and the folkloric to her unusual vocalastics. Often she seems to “recite” rather than “sing” the lyric even when the latter is either recommended or – certainly – the safe bet. Just listen to her classic rendition of “Preludio para el año 3001” to hear this bold move. Her artistic choices often represent risks that put her in a position where she may be seen as a complete outsider – in the same way that many enormously-gifted “punk” vocalists were viewed in the heyday of that musical style. The great Grace Jones comes immediately to mind.
Meanwhile in societies – such as the particular one in Argentina – where risk-taking can mean artistic death Miss Cangiano seems to have succeeded in making probably the best recording of Piazzolla yet. It is certainly the most daring and the spectacular version of “Llanto Negro” is proof of this. Just one proof… there is evidence of an uncommonly gifted vocalist all over this record, and more than anything else, there is evidence of a bold, uncompromising artist. What seems to stand out just as much as anything else in terms of “Piazzolla-reinvention” on this incredible recording is how magically Miss Cangiano has transformed traditional Argentinean dance forms with such natural eloquence and grace. “Milonga de la Anunciación” and “Aire de la Zamba Niña”. And “Libertango” is the proverbial cherry on the cake of this unforgettable album.
Track list – 1: Llueve sobre Broadway; 2: Milonga de la Anunciación; 3: Piqueña Canción para Matilde; 4: Fugitiva; 5: Llanto Negro; 6: Aire de la Zamba Niña; 7: Preludio para el año 3001; 8: Graciela Oscura; 9: Los Amores de Noviembre; 10: Vamos Nina; 11: Greenwich; 12: Libertango
Personnel – Maria Cangiano: voice, artistic director and producer; Miguel Pereiro: piano and musical director; Special Guests – Quique Sinesi: guitar; Daniel “Pipi” Piazzolla: drums;Julián Vat: flute; Quintino Cinali: percussion; Fabián Bertero: violin; Bernardo Monk: saxophone; Roberto Amerise: contrabass; Nicolás Zacarías: contrabass
Released – 2018
Label – EPSA Music
Runtime – 48:24