Solidaridad Tango – Distancia (ENG review)

Street Date November 17th 2023
Jazz moderne, Latin Jazz
Solidaridad Tango – Distancia (ENG review)

Poems and tango are on the menu of this album. “L’Arrivée de l’hiver” is the first poem, and 28 seconds later, we find ourselves in a kind of classy tango. However, while the first track strictly adheres to the musical rules of Argentine tango, the rest of the album ventures into charming conjectures that, while delightful, do not quite live up to the project’s potential.
Ultimately, the most interesting aspects of this album are the poems and the quality of the artists. If you are familiar with the works of Astor Piazzola or Roberto Goyeneche, you’ll notice that this is a watered-down version of tango. It likely aspires to be or resemble tango icons, but it falls far short. It lacks the piercing violins, the rhythms as sharp as waves crashing on rocks… Yes, tango is a matter of culture, something that cannot be imitated.
Once we acknowledge these observations, we must look at this album from a different perspective, or rather, listen to it. Solidaridad was founded at the beginning of 2021 by Aparna Halpé to create a new space for female tango musicians. We are the first and only all-female tango ensemble in North America, promoting diversity. And here, we start to listen to this album as the soundtrack of a film, punctuated by poems and ending with a beautiful poem, “The Dance.” Here, tango is a pretext, a watermark; it should not be seen as anything else. It’s in the arrangements that one can feel the musical poetry juxtaposed with the spoken poetry, then blending together. “The Corner” takes us into a musical theater universe, and it doesn’t matter whether the rules are strictly adhered to. You sit back and thoroughly enjoy the worlds offered by Solidad. We, who can be musical elitists and sometimes even a bit radical, should see this as a different form of radicality. It pushes artists to their limits, resulting in decidedly strange works that are somewhat like a patchwork, as is this lovely project.
Moreover, “If not today” quickly arrives, and I think to myself that I would love to direct the staging of a musical primarily composed of music, poems, songs, and dance, like this one. The vision of these diverse women aligns perfectly with my inner artistic universe. If you can only appreciate a purist vision of tango, you probably won’t appreciate this album. But for others who believe that art is a place where sometimes whimsical propositions can be made, you will likely agree with the reviews from Bayou Blue Radio and Paris-Move, which categorize this album as “ESSENTIAL.” What you’ll discover throughout the tracks is primarily the charm of mixed cultures, their poetry, and a unique elegance.

Thierry De Clemensat
USA correspondent – Paris-Move
Editor in chief Bayou Blue Radio, Bayou Blue News

PARIS-MOVE, November 6th 2023

::::::::::::::::::::::::::

An album that has exceptional, extraordinary emotional musical power. Poems that touch your heart and soul, music that gives you borderless, universal pleasure. An album that even ranks above the “essential” category, an album that is without hesitation placed in the short list of the best albums of the decade.

Frankie Pfeiffer
Editor-in-chief – PARIS-MOVE

PARIS-MOVE, November 6th 2023

::::::::::::::::::::::::::

To buy this album

Website

Tracklisting:
1. Winter’s Coming (poem) 00:27
2. Deriva 03:33
3. Pompeya 02:40
4. Variación 04:50
5. And I Have Been Looking (poem) 02:08
6. The Corner 02:40
7. Fuimos 04:52
8. If Not Today 03:25
9. YYZ 05:58
10. El Adiós 04:06
11. Charrúa 02:26
12. The Dance (poem) 02:38

Poems:

1. Winter’s Coming (poem) 00:27

I stand at the window,
myself, the music
and the snow
caught up in whirling eddies
round
and round.

I lean forward, warm skin against cold glass,
and listen to the ice crack
in the back of my head.

5. And I Have Been Looking (poem) 02:08

“I have been looking for Tina.
Have you seen her?” I want to ask
But the words
just won’t
come out

I think,
she went to that city with ashes on her lips
a firebrand scar of memory;
her father, beaten to death.
And I return again to the image of a girl
with her head half-shaved like mine.
Tina
dancing in the red dresses
on the trees at Bloor and Brunswick.

And they tell me it happened again.
Did you know, they say,
that the defense said
it was normal to throw things
at Indigenous people?

Normal to throw a trailer hitch
at a woman
walking?

“I have been thinking of Barbara
Did you know her?” I want to ask
But the words
just don’t
come out.

And yesterday, the student
who writes with casual hate
that the reserve is just like a zoo for people.
For Indians, he said, who don’t pay taxes.

And I want to teach about reading pain in ways
that have not yet been colonized by their textbooks.
And I wonder,
if some poet in Saint-Charles Borromee
had sung some nurses into witnessing Truth,
if Joyce Echaquan would still rise
from that sun-drenched rock
to embrace her children’s children.

And I have been looking
for Tina Fontaine, and Barbara Kentner,
and Joyce Echaquan.
And for the words
that will come
out.

Warriors, with the stars in your night-sky hair
You walk in the blood
of my song.

12. The Dance (poem) 02:38

As dusk turns
in the assurance
of arrowing geese
heading north over the water,
I have arrived intact,
ready to move forward
a stumbling step
in this dance.

As these rowdy sentinels
of winter havoc homewards
to warmth, and nests
of ancestral memory,
I stand before the evening
scathed and ready,
the prayer of a single heartbeat
on my lips.

In this place that has called me home
let me remember
the drop of hope that slid
from the dish with one spoon
into my waiting heart.
Let me resonate in hollow roundness
to hold the promise of this day
as it has been set before me.

Let me remember the mothers of
the Wendat, let me listen for their lullaby,
let me call back the true name
of my street from the Anishnaabe,
let me gaze in awe at the stars
of the Haudenosaunee
and remember the open hand
of the Mississaugas of the Credit
whose grace
was dishonoured by the lie
upon lie, upon
lie
of the colonizer.

And in the ringing laughter
of our daughters,
let me remember to seek justice
for every lost sister,
for every lost child.

As winters slips
before us
I hold steady
in human remaining,
just a traveller now
on this solitary shore

one step in the dance,
a breath,
and ripples leave the water’s edge.