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Redwood Tango Ensemble in Modesto


Redwood Tango Ensemble in Modesto By Mary Menz By The Redwood Tango Ensemble, an energetic San Francisco tango quintet, comes to Modesto on Saturday, Oct. 11, to perform for a milonga (tango party) sponsored by Modesto Tango, a non-profit group of tango aficionados. It will be Modesto Tango’s first use of live musicians for a dance. The ensemble specializes in traditional tango music from the “golden era” orchestras of the ‘30s, ‘40s and 50’s. Their signature is a growing repertoire of original compositions in the style of the classic orchestras – entirely danceable, but singular and alive. Featured orchestra for Chicago Tango Week 2013, they have played for milongas in San Francisco, Los Angeles, Portland, Chicago, Montreal, London, New York, and dozens of cities in between. Front man Charles Gorczynski’s parents regularly hosted milongas in suburban Milwaukee, complete with traditional tango records of the greatest golden era (1940s) orchestras like Troilo, Di Sarli and D’Arienzo. He listened to the music when his parents practiced at home and fell in love with the rhythms and elegance. Only as an adult he picked up the bandoneón (in the concertina family, a key component of a tango ensemble ) after committing many years to the saxophone. “I arrogantly thought I’d be able to handle it [bandoneón] quickly,” he says. “It took over my life.” Gorczynski pieced together an education from varied sources, including old videos of bandoneón masters Astor Piazzolla and Anibal Troilo found on YouTube. By the time he landed in San Francisco he was committed to the bandoneón. The Redwood Tango Ensemble came together quickly. The ensemble keeps an active presence in the bay area tango scene and offers three incarnations of itself: The full quintet, double bass, bandoneón, two violins and a piano; the trio with violin, piano and bandoneón; and, for intimate venues, the guitar-bandoneón duo. Meanwhile, the group made its full-length debut, Joaquin, a nostalgic collection of classic tangos, and its 2013 follow-up, Cayetano, a selection of classics, original arrangements and a few new compositions. Gorczynski is eager to get the third album out in September. The LP will also introduce a new Gorczynski style he says hovers between traditional and nuevo tango. “Also, it’s completely danceable,” he says. Charles Gorczynski Bandoneón / Compositions Holly Mead Piano Kendra Vernon Violin Celia Harris Violin Daniel Fabricant Double Bass “Truly one of the most exciting tango ensembles active in the US today.” – Morgan Luker. Reed College “Passionate and talented musicians…” – San Francisco Bay Guardian, 2012

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