Martin Alvarado, something of a force of nature in the world of Tango, is considered one of Argentina's finest new generation Tango singers, and he has long taken much of northern Europe by storm. Now on his 20th European tour and his first full tour of the UK, it was a great pleasure to be able to catch up with him again and his Asi Es Mi Tango programme last night at The Light Temple in Shoreditch, London.
On this occasion, Alvarado was accompanied, in addition to his own guitar, by distinguished tango, jazz, and jazz tango (among others) pianist and co-founder of renowned tango ensemble Tango Siempre, Jonathan Taylor.
The performance started almost an hour late, on 'Argentinean time,' you might say, in good part due to a good proportion of the audience arriving late. Yep, definitely on 'Argentinean time.' (If you have never been to Latin America, or much of the Caribbean for that matter, be advised that anything scheduled for, say, 7 o'clock, will almost certainly not get started until 8, if not later. With the exception of cricket matches, especially international tests, in the Caribbean. Almost guaranteed to start on 'standard' time!)
Finally, a quite respectable audience had assembled and the performance got under way. Argentinean time.
Of course, no true music lover, and especially no true tango lover, would have minded the delay in the slightest. The performance by Alvarado that followed was more than worth the wait.
The first set, just shy of an hour, was followed by a prolongued interval filled with tango lessons and a milonga, or dance, before the rather shorter second set followed.
The performance included both classic and modern tangos, including the tango nuevo of Astor Piazzolla, as well as original songs by Alvarado. All of the songs are available on one or another of his albums. The programme furthermore included a breath-taking virtuoso keyboard solo by the formidable Taylor.
Alvarado is a singer with not only a rather operatic tenor voice, but also an impressive, dramatic operatic stage presence. At the same time, he is able to connect with his audience with great charm and charisma.
Saturday night proved no exception. Alvarado gave a simply stunning performance that just has to be experienced. Interpreting the songs with emotion and passion as well as authority, and engaging his audience with witty, charming banter in between, he completely mesmerised. Every minute of Alvarado's performance was so much more than just a performance, it was an experience. An experience not to be missed.
Moreover, the setting of a real tango club, The Light Temple in London, seemed to enhance the atmosphere and authenticity. In short, an evening of sheer tango magic!
Fortunately, another UK tour is already being prepared for next year, so if you had to miss the extraordinary Martin Alvarado this year you will have more opportunities to experience this veritable phenomenon coming along. And the sooner the better!
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