What and Who is Rogue Tango?
Let’s talk about Rogue Tango. It is a band that performs authentic Argentine tango, not the flamenco form also called tangos, or tangos gitanos. Being a flamenco guitarist myself, I do understand the confusion.
Argentine tango is filled with delicious, heartbreaking melodies. It features engaging rhythms, elegant and graceful. Tango dance is social dance, which, when executed with skill, makes for compelling stage performance, too.
I first fell in love with tango through the music of Astor Piazzolla,in the early 1990s. I’ve had the great fortune of performing in his tango opera—Maria de Buenos Aires—with two separate large-scale productions.
However, I soon discovered that tango is much more than Astor Piazzolla, however brilliant his body of work is. So, I began the journey of learning as much as I could about the genre with its complicated history and colorful characters.
Ten years ago, I decided to create my own tango ensemble: Rogue Tango. Rather than play set arrangements, like a classical orchestra, I wanted to go a different direction. I believe that playing the melody, with clean conviction, and paying close attention to capturing the rhythm (the groove, soniquete in Spanish), provide the twin pillars of musical performance. Study of the articulation and the ornamentation serve to deepen one’s expression and authenticity.
I searched for highly skilled, even virtuosic, players who shared my commitment to keep learning, keep pushing, keep creating spontaneous and fresh interpretations of tango classics, in live performance, night after night. In tango this is called “tocando a la parrilla.” Often improvising, working from charts, lead sheets and sheet music (partitura) we seek to make meaningful, honest tango statements. We combine Jazz sensibility with traditional tango expression.
It is exciting to make music in this way. It is also a rollicking good time! I think we captured these things pretty well on our debut album, “Nostalgias.” It is a joy and an honor to perform with musicians of such integrity and skill.