Author: Patricia Escalon
Thursday, 15 February 2007
In 2007, they are one of the headline acts for music festivals around Europe such as the Nice Jazz Festival, or the Miles Davis Jazz Festival in Montreux. In 2003, they blew the crowds away with their more human sound in Homelands. The BBC crowned Gotan Project as the best World Music music act in 2003. Their inaugural 2007 Australian tour takes in the Perth International Festival of the Arts, the Sydney Opera House, Womadelaide and the Victoria Arts Centre.
Gotan Project has three core members: French DJ Philippe Cohen-Solal, Argentinian bandoneon player Eduardo Makaroff and Swiss muzzo Christoph H Mueller. They travel with a string quartet, tango dancers, a visual artist and a tango arranger.
Cohen-Solal followed up their hit album with his interpretation of jazz/house fusion album Inspiracion-Espiracion. Their latest album, Lunático, turns to the tango cancion (tango songs), an older variant which saw Carlos Gardel take it to its zenith in the early twentieth century.
A sneak peek at their website reveals samples of their new album, which heralds a deeper incursion into the intensity of tango lyrics and harmonies.
Two weeks before herding together their tango orchestra and visuals co-ordinators for their trip Down Under, Philippe Cohen-Solal spoke to TranZfusion about the upcoming tour, Gotan Project's musical influences and their new album.
What should we expect from your Sydney Opera house gig-
You can expect a concert, maybe more than a concert, like a show. We're ten musicians, maybe the best ten tango musicians in the world. It's like a video installation, or a dialogue between electronic and acoustic. We're working a ping-pong between electronic and acoustic. We work with cineastes, which are coming from the arts world. We try to touch the people from the heart, because tango is for the heart, but also for the ears and the bodies.
What about WOMADelaide-
I don't know because I don't know if we have the same amount of time to play. Sometimes we add one track, or we change the track listing. It's written music, its' not like jazz you know, where you can change everything. But also we have a string quartet. Improvisation is very strong. Each musician improvises, no concert looks like any other.
Who is part of your string quartet-
Lin Cruz is the first violin, she featured in 'La Revancha del Tango' and 'Lunático'; Andre Pujado is the second violin, he is from Santiago; two girls on viola and cello are coming from Paris. The band is a mix of Argentinian and European musicians. It's how it started.
Is this your first tour of Australia-
[First time] with Gotan Project. I came once to DJ in Sydney and Melbourne. This is the first time the whole band is coming. We are ten people on stage. Seventeen people on the road. France is quite far from Australia. I think and I've seen and I've heard that people are really waiting for us. I'm really happy, because for us it's really important to come to Australia and New Zealand. We're hoping they [the audience] will dance, even in the Opera House, because people always dance at our concerts.
What inspired you to mix tango with electronic music-
I was a big fan of tango. When I met Eduardo we thought about it. It was not really a concert, nothing that avant-garde. It was really an idea to collaborate, to mix two different things. I wanted to show people that tango is really about people's feelings. The people in 1989 they had a prejudice against tango. They thought it was Tags