CT Tango Ensemble News

April 30, 2010

My Blog has moved to www.albertcombrink.com

Dear Musiclover

We are extremely happy that we have so many supporters – I think it is OK to call them fans? – who have contributed to our success. Our performance at the Waterfront was a success and we are planning our trip to Gauteng. I will be playing Tango concerts in addition to classical music concerts in Singapore in June – and naturally promote and sell the albums while I am there. So there is much activity going on!

Our latest CD is selling well, and the launch was an enormous success. We are getting regular radio time, and people are listening to our muisc! It has also generated a new wave of interest in our first CD. This email is to summarise where it is easiest to buy the discs or downloadable tracks, and to give you some recent reviews.

The cheapest way is obvioulsy to buy the discs directly from the group members. (Contact me for details). And we always have discs to sell directly at our many gigs and concerts. But many of our friends and fans live far away and need to buy it through a regular outlet.

I would appreciate it if you would forward this mail to anybody you know who might be interested in Argentine Tango, the music of Astor Piazzolla, or simply beautiful music. People living overseas would also find it easy to shop at the Online Distributer we have set up below. All the sites enable you to Listen Before You Buy. Sounds fair, doesn’t it?

CT Tango Ensemble’s new CD Tango Club will be on sale at branches of Look & Listen throughout South Africa. Our first CD El Tango en Africa  is on sale locally through RhythmMusicStore.
Both our CD’s – Tango Club and El Tango en Africa – are also on sale internationally in album format and as downloadable MP3 tracks from iTunes and CDBaby – just click the links below.

Listen to El Tango en Africa here:

Buy El Tango en Africa here:
in Rands: http://rhythmmusicstore.com/music/58/Cape-Town-Tango-Ensemble/El-Tango-En-Africa
and in Dollars: http://www.cdbaby.com/cd/ctte

Read Reviews of El Tango en Africa here:

Listen to Tango Club here: http://www.albertcombrink.com/2010/04/17/tango-club-demo-tracks/

Buy Tango Club here:

Read Reviews of Tango Club here:

Thanks very much and hope you have a day filled with love and music!

Albert Combrink

My Blog has moved to www.albertcombrink.com

… a special African flavor’ of wildness and mystery.~ Tania Lukic-Marx: Accordions Worldwide

I found them colorful and interesting~ Tania Lukic-Marx: Accordions Worldwide

A sensual and dance-tastic album in an Afri-Tango mood ~ Editor: SA Rock Digest, Issue # 205, 16 June 2003

If you love to tango like Al Pacino, then this is for you. ~ Editor: SA Rock Digest, Issue # 205, 16 June 2003

A full bodied and potent performance ~ Tania Lukic-Marx: Accordions Worldwide

Offers a great variety, which makes it really interesting~ Tania Lukic-Marx: Accordions Worldwide

~ Stanislav does a professional job on the accordion as does the Ensemble as a whole ~ Tania Lukic-Marx: Accordions Worldwide

The pianist in particular, made quite an impression on me ~ Tania Lukic-Marx: Accordions Worldwide

Tania Lukic-Marx, international Accordionist and CD reviewer for music magazines and the leading website in the flied, Accordions Worldwide, awarded the CD 4 stars out of 5 on an international rating.

Album of the Week ~ SA Rock Digest, Issue # 211, 28 July 2003

Das Cape Town Tango Ensemble ist wirklich sehr gut was seine Musik anbelangt ~ Editor: Accordion.com

… die eerste regte, egte Suid-Afrikaanse tango-album ~ Mariana Malan: Die Burger, 8 September 2003, p.6

Die album is uniek in die opsig dat Afrika-klanke deeglik met die tradisionele tango-ritme inskakel.
(Transl: The album is unique in the African sounds blend in thoroughly with the traditional tango rhythm.)~ Mariana Malan: Die Burger, 8 September 2003, p.6

Daar word ‘n ongekende warmte en diepte uit sy [Ricardo Fiorio] note gehaal
(Tranls: A hitherto unkown warmth and depth is brought forth out of the notes of Ricarodo Fiorio.) ~ Mariana Malan: Die Burger, 8 September 2003, p.6

Hierdie album is vir luisteraars en dansers.
(Transl: This album is for listeners and dancers) ~ ~ Mariana Malan: Die Burger, 8 September 2003, p.6

El Tango en Africa features the following artists

Albert Combrink – Piano

Stanislav Angelov – Accordeon

Jacek Domagala – Violin

Basil Heald – Double Bass

and guest artists:

Violina Anguelov – Mezzo Soprano

Dizu Plaatjies – African Percussion (including Djemba and Kayomba)

El Tango en Africa can be bought as an album, or as MP3 tracks, at www.rhythmmusicstore.com

My Blog has moved to www.albertcombrink.com

Released March 2010 on Good Music World - http://www.goodmusic.co.za

Passionate fun ~ Zane Henry, Argus (Tonight) – 23 March 2010, p.3

The rich sounds and fine musicianship are a pleasure to listen to even if you have never done the tango ~ Dominic Wardall, The Big Issue – 9 April 2020, p.37

Fans can expect to hear and see something quite extraordinary ~ Jason Curtis, Cape Times (Arts)- 23 March 2010, p.10

The album artwork is equally compelling. ~ Jason Curtis, Cape Times (Arts) – 23 March 2010, p.10

… nie net ‘n fees vir die oor nie, maar ook vir die oog.
(Transl. Not just a feast for the ear, but also for the eye) ~
Arts Editor, Rapport (My Tyd), 21 March 2010, p.4

The Baxter gets steamy… ~ Zane Henry, Argus (Tonight) – 23 March 2010, p.3

This is definitely not just another Tango CD – it is the second original South African Tango CD. ~ Editor, Thingstodocapetown 19 March 2010

This exciting new offering has a real South African twist that sets their work apart from others and explores the boundary of jazz and other modern Latin genres.Mark Hoeben, Thingstodocapetown – 19 March 2010

My Blog has moved to www.albertcombrink.com

All photos by Angelos Papakonstantino

Charles Lazar

Stanislav Angelov

James Grace

Albert Combrink

Jacek Domagala

Willie van Zyl

Kevin Gibson on Drums

Jenny Altshuler and Calvin Enslin

Stanislav Angelov

My Blog has moved to www.albertcombrink.com

Photos in this post by Angelos Papakonstantino

For more photographs please see the following two blog posts:

~ CT Tango Ensemble CD Launch PHOTOS – “Tango Club” at the Baxer (2)

~ CT Tango Ensemble CD Launch PHOTOS – “Tango Club” at the Baxer (3) (Black & White)

Baxter Concert Hall packed to the brim

Charles Lazar

Albert CombrinkViolinist Jacek DomagalaJames GraceWillie van ZylMark Hoeben, Zdenka Buriankova and Albert Combrink

My Blog has moved to www.albertcombrink.com

My Blog has moved to www.albertcombrink.com

The Cape Town Tango Ensemble launched its new CD Tango Club in March 2010 on the Good Music World Label. (Click here for Press Release) One of the most popular tracks from the new CD has been Adios, composed and arranged by the ensemble’s Bandoneonist and Accordionist Stanislav Angelov. The first time we performed it was at the final milonga (Dance Evening) hosted by TangoCapeTown’s Mark Hoeben, in the beautiful old club, The Valve. This venue sadly had to make way for a parking lot – a particularly unattractive one at that, even for a parking lot. The hall was a grand old dame reflecting the best of Cape Town’s past and had special significance for us: that was where we launched our first CD, El Tango en Africa, and it was also there where we put in many hours as performers, honing our skills in the music of this wonderful dance.

For me, there is a melancholy in this tango that is arresting every time I hear it. The piano has not got that much to do in the sphere of solos and drama, which gives me opportunity to appreciate the tender and intimate atmosphere it conjures up.

You can follow the link below to YouTube, for a clip from the DVD Paulaner Music Festival 2008 on which this track was first released.

Click here to listen to Adios – composed by Stanislav Angelov.

CT Tango Ensemble performing live during the 2008 October Music Festival at Paulaner Restaurant at the Cape Town V & A Waterfront the song Adios from their new CD Tango Club (Launched at Baxter Concert Hall – Cape Town on 23 March at 20h15)
Stanislav Angelov – Bandoneon, Jacek Domagala – Violin, Albert Combrink – Piano & Dave Ridgway – Double Bass
Music by Stanislav Angelov http://www.goodmusic.co.za
Recorded LIVE  & produced by Marek Pinski from CDXpress (pinski@iafrica.com)

Click on the pictures below for a larger view.

"Tango Romance" - Chris Shields

My Blog has moved to www.albertcombrink.com

This is a compliation of weblinks to the various press releases and related articles about the 2010 launch of Tango Club, the latest CD by the CT Tango Ensemble. It is released on the new Record Label Good Music World.

This page will be updated as new postings appear.

Press Release: CT Tango Ensemble CD Launch – “Tango Club” – Baxter Concert Hall 23/03/2010, 20.15 the original press release contains the Launch Concert Poster, the CD Cover as well as photographs of all artists on the CD.

CT Tango Ensemble on YouTube – ADIOS by Stanislav Angelov (From the lastest CD “Tango Club”) – a brief introduction to the song Adios by Stanislav Angelov, and a YouTube link to our performance of it at the Paulaner Music Festival 2008, at the Victoria & Alfred Waterfront, Cape Town.

Astor Piazzolla: Cobblestone to Dancefloor to Concert Halla discussion of the birth of Piazzolla’s Tango Nuevo style, and the Cape Town Tango Ensemble’s affinity for and history with this wonderful composer.

Cape Town Tango Ensemble MP3 and Video clips a selection of websites that sell MP3’s or carry demos and visual material from shows and concerts we have done in the past, including our two CD releases.

Milonga del Angel: Cape Town Tango Ensemble dancing with Angelsa discussion of this work, central to the work of both Piazzolla and the CT Tango Ensemble. It contains discussion about the individual contribution of our guest artists on the album, such as James Grace.

La Muerte del Angel – CT Tango Ensemble a discussion of Fugal writing, and Angel Symbolism in Piazzola’s works. It also discusses how my arrangement of this work explores the affinity between Piazzolla and other 20th Century classical composers such as Igor Stravinsky.

CT Tango Ensemble blends the old and the new in Julian Plaza’s famous milongaa discussion around the roots of the Tango in Argentina during the early 20th Century. It also explores cultural traditions around the social conventions of the dancefloor, and uses our recording of Plaza’s Payadora as an illustration of the challenge and complexity of blending tradition with innovation.

Bandoneon – King of Tango: CT Tango Ensemble’s Stanislav Angeulov talks about using the Bandoneon on their new CD “Tango Club”a discussion of how Angeulov – originally a solo Accordionist – came to play the Bandoneon in the first place. Through interviews with Angeulov and Rodolfo Mederos, this posting explores the relationship between the Tango and the Bandoneon.

Not all Black and White: Stanislav Angelov compares the Bandoneon to the Accordion – Stanislav Angelov – to use the alternate spelling of his name – performs and records professionally on both the Bandoneon and Accordion. This post explores the qualities each of these instruments brings to the Tango, and to the CT Tango Ensemble. Stanislav is uniquely qualified to chair this discussion, as he is one of the very few – if not the only one – to have recorded both instruments on one Tango CD

CT Tango Ensemble CD Launch Baxter Concert Hall: 23 March 2010, 20.15the poster for the launch event – a live Milonga on stage.

Reviews of “Tango Club” by the CT Tango Ensemble – a collection of press-reviews of the CD and launch concert.

CT Tango Ensemble CD Launch Photos – a post with photos from the highly successful Launch Concert at the sold-out Baxter Concert Hall. The post contains links to two more posts of pictures.

All artwork in this post by Chris Shields  – http://www.illustratedwildlife.com/

Tango Feet - Chris Shields

The CT Tango Ensemble have been performing for a decade. We are a South African based group that includes a Polish Violinist and  Bulgarian Accordionist and Bandoneonist. When we first started playing Tango, Stanislav Angelov (variously publicised as Anguelov, Angeulov or Angheolov, and sometimes – in desperation – simply as Stanislav!) performed on the Accordion, the instrument he had studied since his childhood.

Stanislav performing on Accordion

In a companion posting Bandoneon – King of Tango, I described some of Stanislav’s reasons for wanting to study the Bandoneon and his fascinating journey with the Cape Town Tango Ensemble. Stanislav is the only musician I know who performs on both the Accordion and the Bandoneon at this level. On the CT Tango Ensemble’s latest CD Tango Club, Stanislav has recorded on both instruments. This makes him uniquely qualified to talk about the different aspects of performing on these related instruments. Stanislav was brave to attempt to record Tango on the Accordion on our first CD El Tango En Africa and he was praised, by both Accordeon and Bandoneon players, for a deep understanding of the music. (Accordions Worldwide awarded the CD 4 stars) Tango aficionados were sceptical about the Accordion being used in the ensemble instead of the traditional Argentine Bandoneon. But when they heard the product, people were won over.

Stanislav Anguelov playing his beloved "Victoria" Bandoneon

Yet, since we loved the recordings of the great Tango masters – such as Piazzolla, Mederos, Troilo – we had to explore different sounds. When budget allows, we add singers, saxophone, guitar or occasionally a drum kit. Once or twice we have even had 2 violins added to our quartet. These instruments come and go, but the constant is the Accordion and the Bandoneon, and Stanislav performs on both in one concert, depending on the repertoire. 

To non-musicians this might seem a small issue, but in the passionate “Tangoland”, opinions are absolute, arguments are heated, friends and lovers are made and lost, over aspects of truth and authenticity. Astor Piazzolla got into such trouble for his innovations in Tango music, that his life was threatened. A dancer actually heard his Tango Nuevo  on the radio and went to the radio station to shoot this man who was supposedly killing the dance!

"Close Embrace" - Photo J Altschuler

Listening to Dancers or Dance teachers speak about the tango can be confusing. Argentine “Close Embrace” dancing is intense and intimate, while Ballroom Tango (one of the incarnations of Tango after its export to the salons of Paris) is more flashy and exhibitionist.

Ballroom Tango Competition

Our ensemble has performed with world-class and world-renowned Tango dancers such as Eric Jorissen, for whom the intimacy of “Close Embrace” is the primary objective of the dance. And yet, I have been told by a Ballroom aficionado that they find this style of dancing boring and “inauthentic”. At the same time, many Argentine Tango dancers consider Ballroom dancing  – and even any for of choreography – to be shallow and superficial. “Strictly Come Dancing” or “Come Dancing Strictly”?

The truth is – of course – that both are valid. Both are responses to the music, and both are genuine attempts of people trying to express the music, and express themselves through the movement. The same goes for if one should use the Accordion or the Bandoneon. 

Naked Bandoneon

Stanislav is a master disguiser.  The difference in the sound of the Accordion and the Bandoneon is very difficult to distinguish if the Accordion player tries to match the sound of the Bandoneon. However the opposite is impossible. The Bandoneon has two main categories of sound: Right hand notes are bright and powerful and the left hand notes are mellow and softer. The left hand therefore provides accompaniment to the melodies of the right hand. The Bandoneon also does not play chords with one button like the Accordion. Ech note that makes up a chord, must be pressed down individually. This allows much more freedom in the voicing of chords, but also makes the Bandoneon a terribly complicated instrument to learn to play. The left hand buttons are arranged according to the Circle of Fifths – the most basic mathematical principal in musical harmony.

Topless Accordion

The Accordion on the other hand, has a piano-style keyboard, played by one hand, and pre-set chord buttons on the other.The Bandoneon represents one of the early stages of the evolution of the Accordion, and therefore it is technically less complex and costly to build. And it is true that the level of complexity of the musical material that the Accordion handles, can be higher – given the keyboard layout.  This makes some of the more virtuosic – pianistic, if you like – passages, a bit simpler on the Accordion. The Accordeon therefore can play double notes as melodies, while providing ready made chordal accompaniments. In an Argentinian Orquestra Tipica, there is usually more than one Bandoneon playing, precisely to make the harmonies, and play passages in more than one voice. The virtuosity is visible and audible as these “worms” chase each other around the fast passages. The thrill is tremendous.

Ironically, the older design of the Bandoneon makes it a louder instrument than the Accordion – even if it is smaller in size. The reeds of the Bandoneon are made from a heavier mixture of metals. The inside of the Bandoneon also has more metal, creating a reflective soundbox to amplify the vibrations. Also, despite the size, the Bandoneon physically has more space inside the bellows, which allows the sound more “space” to travel.  I refer you to this excellent page by Stanislav’s Bandoneon guru Prof. Ricardo Fiorio, giving a more technical description on the capabilities of the Bandoneon as well as MP3 audio files:

Bandoneon Notation – By Ricardo Fiorio

Available on the record label Good Music World

Stanislav Angelov – Bandoneon & Accordion

Albert Combrink – Piano & Keyboard

Jacek Domagala – Violin

Charles Lazar – Double Bass

& Guests

Kevin Gibson  – Drums

Willie van Zyl – Saxophone

Adriana Edwards – Vocals

James Grace – Guitar

Photo Alexander Zabara - http://www.tangoimage.com

My Blog has moved to www.albertcombrink.com

“Were Bach to be born again, he would be a Bandoneon player.” (Rodolfo Mederos)

Stanislav Anguelov playing his beloved "Victoria" Bandoneon

The CT Tango Ensemble’s new CD Tango Club, (released in 2010 on the Good Music record label – www.goodmusic.com) features Bandoneonist Stanislav Anguelov who also plays the Accordion on the recording. Stanislav studied the classical Accordeon in Bulgaria, but his involvement with Tango music created the desire to learn the instrument most associated with the Tango – the Bandoneon. After our first Cape Town Tango Ensemble CD El Tango en Africa, Stanislav wanted to explore this instrument – as authentically Argentine and Tango as one can get, despite the German heritage of the instrument. We have a drive to be as authentic to the spirit of Tango as we can, while having something new to say. We are an African group including Bulgarian and Polish Musicians playing Argentine music after all!

At the Grahamstown National Arts Festival in 2001 our Ensemble had the great fortune to meet Argentine Tango Master, Composer and Bandoneon Mastro Prof. Riccardo Fiorio. He was extremely complimentary of the ensemble’s idiomatic playing, learnt through recordings, rehearsals and many milongas where we could get feedback from dancers. In particular, Fiorio priased Stanislav for using the Accordeon to imitate the playing style of the Bandoneon. This chance meeting led to a long friendship, and he even gave us permission to use his composition A Borges on our first CD. Stanislav bought himself a secondhand Bandoneon, and with charcteristic determination, started practising. Feeling competent enough to benefit from world-class musicians, Stanislav packed his Bandoneon and in 2005 took the journey to the Land of Tango.

It was an eye (and ear-) opening experience. He heard the finest tango orchestras:  Sexteto Mayor, Hernandez Fierro Orqustra Tipica, Color Tango, El Aranque and many more. He had an intensive period of study with Riccardo Fiorio. He met the famous touring group Quatro Tango and also had lessons with the Bandoneonista Hugo Satore. When this group brought their show Tango Fire to Cape Town in 2006, another period of study followed. By then Stanislav was performing regularly on the Bandoneon in addition to the Accordion. The time had come to upgrade to a professional quality instrument.

Bandoneon buttons

The bandoneon is a rectangular and square bellows instrument, using air pumped through a set of metal reeds, which creates the sound. It is a relative of the accordion and is popular in the Rio de la Plata, an estuary of the Atlantic Ocean in South America formed by the confluence of the rivers Parana and Uruguay, which serves as a border around the Argentine Republic and the Eastern Republic of Uruguay (300 km in length). The bandoneon is strongly linked to the tango. The name of the instrument derives from the German Bandoneon and is an acronym for the name Heinrich Band (1821-1860), who was awarded the patent for the invention.

Between the two World Wars, the German Alfred Arnold created a large body of instruments of such quality  that he is called the Stradivarious of the Bandoneon. Popular opninion in Argentina holds that nobody does (or will ever) match Arnold’s instruments and owning a Doble A (Double A) is still considered the first requirement to being a Tango musician. The only problem is that some of Arnold’s instruments are by now a century old, and no amount of reconditioning and refurbishing can make them sound young again. The original parts just do not exist any more. These instruments are portable reed instruments – which means ironically they have more in common with the Oboe or Clarinet than the piano. They are delicate and the art of working on them is highly specialised. This means that a lot of the Arnold instruments played in Argentina are old and in bad shape. Stanislav decided to have his instrument hand-made at the workshop in Castelfidardo in Italy which they call Victoria – established already in 1919.

Rodolfo Mederos, one of the world’s most renowned Tango musicians had the following to say about his instrument, the Bandoneon:

Two Bandoneon masters: Rodolfo Mederos with Astor Piazzolla

“It seems to me that upon arrival from Germany, the bandoneon was told, “You shall be king of tango for centuries to come. “We might think that the instrument was born and made history in an immigrant settlement afflicted with melancholy, the element in tango. No other instrument has ever been able to express that language, that feeling. I would say that the bandoneon has the ability to affect human existence with melancholy. One thing is to put sorrow into words; another is to feel the sorrow…
Like the cutting edge of a knife, the bandoneon hurts first. However paradoxical it may seem, the bandoneon also constitutes the very heart of tango music. It is subtly bonded to the other instruments, forming a sort of nervous system which interconnects them and gives them life.

Piazzolla stretched the expressive capabilities of the Bandoneon to the maximum

The bandoneon breathes… systolic and diastolic forces make it almost human. Fortunately, it is unplugged by nature; therefore, one can feel it as an extension of one’s body. It requires opening and closing, that is, the vital mechanism… People open and close their mouths to eat. Sphincters open and close… People make love by opening and closing… People die: they close. People are born: they open. Opening and closing… the most perfect and inherently human mechanism.
The two keyboards, interconnected by means of a bellow, a lung, can produce a virtually imperceptible, an almost inaudible pianissimo as well as a shrieking sound which can smash crystal into smithereens.
The bandoneon has shown me the way to channel moods and direct tears. The bandoneon leverages one’s talent, it gives us a sense of completeness. And it becomes our secret confidant

Photo by Alexander Zabara (www.tangoimage.com)

It is a shelter, like a home, like a woman… It has particular odours, temperatures, corners. It has public areas and private parts; sober spaces and desired places–the ever-present woman; warm and cold zones; reliable sites… and phantoms. The home, the woman, the bandoneon… The ability to communicate with human beings… to convey one’s view of the world… to be listened to from the inside. If all this is embodied in this artefact, then the bandoneon becomes a sort of religion. Were Bach to be born again, he would be a Bandoneon player.”

Hear the Bandoneon sing in the hands of virtuoso Stanislav Anguelov on the new CD Tango Club (released March 2010) by the  CT TANGO ENSEMBLE:

Stanislav Anguelov – Bandoneon and Accordion

Albert Combrink – Piano and Keyboard

Jacek Domagala – Violin

Charles Lazar – Double Bass

with guest artsists:

Adriana Edwards – Vocals

Willie van Zyl – Saxophone

Kevin Gibson – Drums

James Grace – Guitar