We all know, or think we know, what tango is, and TANGOLANDÓ, just out as a digital release, has some of the best tango singing by one of the best New York based Argentinian artists, Sofía Tosello. Fewer of us know what landó is: it is a driving Afro-Peruvian rhythm that is instantly recognizable once you have heard it. Pairing the two was the idea of guitarist/arranger Yuri Juárez.

The landó doesn’t overwhelm the tango on this album (the singing is in the time signature of tango, and could easily be danced to), but enriches the aural background and opens up surprising possibilities. The instrumentation is mixed, including both cajón and bandoneón. I can imagine more than one of the numbers being popular in alternative milongas, but at the same time, the richness of the traditional tango is never lost in these renditions.

I have heard Tangolandó live on multiple occasions, including a pre-digital release concert last week and a preview of the songs at Taller Latino in 2011. The fullness and affective depth of Tosello’s interpretations remind me more forcefully with every hearing, as she voices the imagined truth of the lyrics, that singing and acting are in some way sister arts, that less leads to more in each, and that tango is the drama and the tragedy of a life lived between nostalgia and hope.

I was lucky to have had a copy of the CD that was released last year in Perú. This is an innovative and bracing piece of work from an intelligent guitarist, an exemplary band, a vividly charismatic singer.

Click here for more on Tangolandó.

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