Music Interviews
12:30 pm
Sun February 10, 2013

New Tango Favorites From 'Global Village'

Originally published on Sun February 10, 2013 7:58 pm

World music DJ Betto Arcos returns to weekends on All Things Considered to share the music he's been playing on Global Village, the show he hosts on KPFK in Los Angeles. This week, Arcos brings his favorite new tracks from Argentinean and Uruguayan artists.

From the spirit of the old style rooted in the bordellos of Buenos Aires to the Andean style known as huayno to an approach that weaves in orchestral and electronic elements, Arcos' picks showcase the diverse landscape of tango.

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Transcript

JACKI LYDEN, HOST:

It's WEEKENDS on ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR News. I'm Jacki Lyden. And it's time now for music.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "A LA SALIDA DEL CABARET")

LUCIO ARCE: (Singing in foreign language)

LYDEN: And today, global music deejay Betto Arcos is back to play us some of his favorite new music from Argentina and Uruguay. Hey, Betto.

BETTO ARCOS: Hey, great to be with you.

LYDEN: So who are we listening to here?

ARCOS: This is an Argentinean singer. His name is Lucio Arce. He was born in New York, but his parents were from Argentina, moved back to Buenos Aires when he was about a year or so old. Now, this record called "A la Salida del Cabaret" or "Just Outside the Cabaret" is really all about the spirit of tango as it first started back in the late 1800s, early 1900s in Buenos Aires, in the brothels of Buenos Aires.

And it's something that could've been written by, you know, another great tanghero, another superstar of tango, perhaps the father of tango, Carlos Gardel.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "A LA SALIDA DEL CABARET")

ARCE: (Singing in foreign language)

LYDEN: So that's the tango singer Lucio Arce. And this next song that you brought us is from another Argentinean singer named Sofia Rei.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "RISA")

SOFIA REI: (Singing in foreign language)

ARCOS: Sofia Rei is a singer from Buenos Aires who lives in New York. And even though she has the influences of specifically jazz and American music, in this tune, she's very much kind of bringing together a couple of South American flavors, and one in particular is a style of music called huayno, huayno.

It's a style of music played on the charango, which is a small guitar-like instrument. It's music that's shared in the Andean region in Bolivia, Chile, Peru, Ecuador and, of course, Argentina where she's from. Let's listen to a little bit of it.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG "RISA")

REI: (Singing in foreign language)

LYDEN: And so that's singer Sofia Rei singing her original song "Risa." Betto, the next artist he brought is singing a style that I believe is related to tango.

ARCOS: That's right, Jacki. The singer is - oh, man, her name is Malena Muyala. She's from Uruguay, and she's perhaps the biggest name in tango in Uruguay. She has six records. She's a fantastic singer in singular in the sense that she likes to connect tango with other musical styles, in particular, this song which is a tune called "Pasos."

It's a milonga-candombe. Milonga and candombe are both musical styles that are the foundation of tango. Milonga is, like, kind of like a troubadour-style of music, and candombe is an Afro-Uruguayan music that was brought by slaves to Uruguay. But this is music that's shared by both Argentina and Uruguay.

LYDEN: Wow. This music is really lush.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "PASOS")

MALENA MUYALA: (Singing in a foreign language)

ARCOS: Now, Malena Muyala is not well-known here in the U.S., but she will be soon enough. She's going to be performing at the South by Southwest this March, along with a slew of Uruguayan artists. This is the first time she's going to be performing in the U.S., but I think it's the beginning of her career here.

LYDEN: Ah. I really, really like it.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "PASOS")

MUYALA: (Singing in foreign language)

LYDEN: That's the Uruguayan singer Malena Muyala. My guest is Betto Arcos, and he's the host of KPFK's "Global Village" in Los Angeles, and we're listening to some of his favorite new finds from Argentina and Uruguay.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "PIDE PISO")

LYDEN: Betto, we've got time for just one more artist. I have to say this sounds more like club music than tango.

(LAUGHTER)

ARCOS: That's right, Jacki. I like to call it something like orchestral electro-tango or symphonic electro-tango. This is the band Bajofondo. It's their third album as Bajofondo, but this record is not even out yet. This is kind of an exclusive thing for us.

LYDEN: Wow.

ARCOS: It's coming out next month. Gustavo Santaolalla, he's one of the founders of the band. He's from Argentina and kind of a legend in the music business. One of the other leaders of the band is Juan Campodonico. And we talked about him before in this show. He's an exceptional musician and producer from Uruguay.

LYDEN: Didn't Uruguay used to be a part of Argentina?

ARCOS: Yes, it was. It used to be kind of a province of Argentina. And then in the 1800s, it became independent. Now, for people who may not know what the relationship is here, let's talk about Rio de la Plata. The Rio de la Plata is the body of water that both divides and unites Montevideo and Buenos Aires, the two capitals of Argentina and Uruguay.

It's important to mention that Bajofondo is all about the sound of the Rio de la Plata. It's just fantastic stuff.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "PIDE PISO")

ARCOS: This is really a fantastic tune because it's all instrumental. And it's going to be all about violins, violas, cellos and upright basses. There are no vocalists, unlike the previous projects, but this is just a beautiful, fatter, richer, just a lush recording of Bajofondo. I'm really looking forward to it. And this is a tune called "Pide Piso," the first single of the album.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "PIDE PISO")

LYDEN: That's the band Bajofondo. It's just one of the many artists that you'll hear on Betto's show "Global Village" on KPFK in Los Angeles. Betto, that was just the rejuvenation we all needed. Thank you so much for sharing this music with us.

ARCOS: Always a pleasure, Jacki.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "PIDE PISO") Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.