23 February 2023

Latin who's who

Everyone loves latin music but it's hugely varied even if some core concepts can look pretty straightforward.   Straighforward, perhaps, or deceptively simple, like the forward and reverse claves on bass and the dotted rhythms and those hugely infectious montunos.  So what are these variations in this rich tapestry of musics?  Sam Row played latin musics at Wesley on piano and I was particularly interested in the first number, a history of tango in four short movements, labelled Bordello 1900, Cafe 1930, Nightclub 1960 and Concert d'aujourhui.  For the record, aujoudhui was 1985.  The bordello was the tango I think of, playful, lively, described in the notes as "Spanish women teasing the men visiting the bordello".    The cafe era was more a listening music, romantic, slower, meloncholy, sometimes sung.  The Nightclub was  era was more international, with new tango and bossa nova sharing slower tempos.  The aujourdhui had influences of Bartok and Stravinski and high art musics.  Fascinating.  Meanwhile, Sam is playing all this with intrigue and connection and from memory.  He then played Granados Allegro de concierto C#min, a piece that won competitions and fame in Spain before WW1 and indirectly led to his death on a torpedoed ship in the English Channel in 1916.  This was all rolling handfulls of notes and sweet melodies and a clear connection in my ears to film musics and popular song.  Then something contemporary, Chris Norton Latin Prelude with two passages as Rhumba and Salsa.  So two more latin musics from this fascinating and inviting scene.  Much enjoyed.

Sam Row (piano) performed Piazzolla, Granados and Norton at Wesley.

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