So far Carlos Libedinsky´s Narcotango was an outstanding instrumental project with only some rare vocal flavors of the singer Rosana Laudani. While he was one of the early pioneers in the genre called “electro tango”, Narcotango´s songs are definitely different from several others who simply compile some uninspired grooves with weak melodic structures. Most of Narcotango´s songs have wonderful melodies and good groves, while their last album Cuenco (2013) continued what started with Limanueva (2010) and Libedinsky´s new band mates, Fernando del Castillo, Marcelo Toth and Mariano Castro, i.e., more jazzy arrangements and a lot of room for improvisation. For me, with their approach to music Narcotango goes beyond the boundaries of what tango has to be or should be.
Now in 2014, completely different from Narcotango, Carlos Libedinsky performed with the singer (and also his wife) Rosana Laudani classical songs from Anibal Troilo, Lucio Demare, Juan Carlos Cobián, José´Dames and Homero Manzi, but also from modern composers such as Fito Paez and Liliana Felipe, and three of his own songs – all with lyrics, and Libedinsky´s bandoneon as main instrument.
Most of the 10 interpretations and arrangements are very atmospheric rather than straight forward (the only exception is Libedinsky´s grooving composition “Plano seuencia”). In fact, Carlos would confirm the suggestion that this duo project is intended for listening and seeing. “We are very intense on stage”, he stated – and it is easy to believe that these songs unfold a very special and intensive atmosphere.
Rosana explained that - after a career as actress and singer in musicals - meeting in music with Carlos and his bandoneon was a “new and fascinating experience”. Moreover, she says that she is convinced that their instruments vocals and bandoneon “were chosen before we ourselves realize of that `we did´ when we choose a song to share”.
When asked about the background of this new project, Carlos Libedinsky stated, “When I played guitar with Rosana, we didn’t have the connection we needed to experiment. But when I play bandoneon at home, the experience becomes very intense between us, as artists and also as a couple. This was a great challenge for me, because a duo of voice and bandoneon is not very typical, and it encouraged me to experiment with different possibilities of this incredible instrument. This specific sound gave Rosana a new atmosphere to explore her voice.”
Most songs start very intimate, very slow and with only a few melodic lines and harmonies played by the bandoneon. Libedinsky used the bandoneon rather as a flavor than a dominant instrument. Listen to “Un vestido y un amor” by Fito Paez, and you know what I mean. Later on, a bass played by Horacio Mono Hurtado, supports the harmonic and rhythmic structure of this wonderful song, and a string quartet lets it shine. Very moving!
The CD opens with one of Carlos Libedinsky´s most impressing instrumental songs from 2003´s album “Otra luna”, now with lyrics and a new arrangement, i.e., vocals, bandoneon, piano, bass and gentle drums. This song might be seen as a blue print for the underlying concept to present the songs as highly reduced versions, and they succeed to keep the listeners attracted, even the strict duo versions are fascinating. This acclamation can be ascribed also to Rosana Laudani. She is singing without any pathos or dramatic attitude – instead, simple, candid and respectful towards the songs. This natural approach convinces.
It was their Argentinian producer and arranger, Mariano Agustin Fernandez, who took the concept of their way to interpret the songs, and decided which additional flavors would fit best (i.e., piano, guitar, double bass, drums, or strings). They all are convincing in their specific `clothes´ - simple but not mean.
This duo is not begging for applause, they deserve it!
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A shorter version of this review appeared in the German language quarterly Tangodanza (issue 2/2015)