Hector Del Curto's Eternal Tango
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Hector Del Curto's Eternal Tango


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"NY Times"

“Tango lives or dies by the quality of its accordion-like bandoneon, and Hector Del Curto was a splendid player.” NY Times - NY Times

"PRI's The World Global Hit"

The subject of today's Global Hit was born where the tango was born in Argentina.
Hector del Curto became a master of the bandoneon. That's the button accordion that's essential to traditional Argentine tango.
Del Curto moved to New York a decade ago, when the tango dance craze was spreading across America. Now he wants people to focus less on the dance and more on the music.
Sylvia Maria Gross from KCUR, Kansas City explains.

Hector Del Curto says he first heard tango in the womb.
DEL CURTO: "I was born and raised and I will walk on the streets and hear tango all over the place. I don't know if it's in my blood but it's in my brain for sure."
Tango has been pulsing through the Del Curto family for more than a century. Del Curto's great grandfather played the bandoneon.
DEL CURTO: "But, since in those days being a musician was not something you would not want for your children, my grandfather was not allowed to play bandoneon, but he managed to play anyway. So he would just play for the family and friends, go on picnics, take the bandoneon, disappear for 3 days, and come back."
Del Curto took up the instrument at the age of 11 and quickly rose to the top. By age 17 he'd been invited to join the orchestra of Osvaldo Pugliese, a musician who's called the "Last Giant of Tango."
Del Curto says that around that time, he was one of only a handful of musicians in the world who really knew how to play the bandoneon. And for good reason.
The original instrument was born in Germany 150 years ago and was brought to Argentina by immigrants. Del Curto's bandoneon was made by a German factory in 1930.
DEL CURTO: "They are not made anymore, after 1939 with the war, all the materials went to the war and they couldn't reproduce this instrument."
The buttons are on either square end of the bandoneon, and the bellows stretch out to about 4 feet. It's tricky to play because the buttons are not arranged in a scale. Del Curto demonstrates by playing them in order.
DEL CURTO: "It's a little bit crazy. One note, opening would be this one; the same button when you close would be this one."
And some notes, are just missing.
DEL CURTO: "Many people now in New York are buying bandoneons to study and they go for two months and they call me back. Not to take a class but to find somebody to sell it."
A worldwide tango craze began in the late 90s, when the dance show Forever Tango hit Broadway. It's what brought del Curto to the United States, and also spawned little tango communities around the US. Classical guitarist Beau Bledsoe helped get one scene started in Kansas City.
BLEDSOE: "Every little town has it now and of course that resulted in our group here in Kansas City, Tango Lorca, getting some work and travelling around."
Bledsoe and del Curto met at a tango festival about two years ago, and began collaborating. They're both concerned that the tango phenomena is too focused on dance, and the noisy crowds don't pay attention to the music.
DEL CURTO: "People go to dance because it's a challenge. It's something that they will do after the office and they will go to do as many steps as they can."
So just like his grandfather escaped to picnics with his bandoneon, Del Curto's been coming to Kansas City as a kind of musical retreat.
Del Curto and Bledsoe have assembled a sextet of musicians from New York and Kansas City. Here they play a rarely performed piece by the legendary composer and bandoneon player Astor Piazzolla .
In a concert setting, they have the opportunity to explore Piazzolla, who strayed from traditional tango to compose in classical and jazz formats.
But Del Curto hasn't abandoned dancers entirely. Back in New York City, he teaches musicality workshops for them. And he's revived the traditional 10-piece tango orchestra to create a sound to match the energy of the dancers
DEL CURTO: "Here we go, big orchestra with a lot of bandoneons, violins… Make a big sound. So they will have to listen."
This week in fact, his big orchestra, Eternal Tango, will be performing for dancers in New York outside Lincoln Center at the Midsummer Night Swing Festival.

Link to transcript: http://www.theworld.org/?q=node/11308
Audio link: http://www.theworld.org/wma.php?id=07092007
- The World Global Hit

"Music, dance of tango seduces festivalgoers"

by Judy Harrison
August 23, 2008

Ah, tango.

It is an intricate, delicate dance of seduction that confounds American two-steppers, except for the ones it captivates.

The heat rising from the Railroad Stage at the American Folk Festival early Saturday afternoon was matched only by sun beating down on those enthralled by tango — the music and the dance.

Hector Del Curtoʼs Eternal Tango Quartet and dancers Ivan Terrazas and Sara Grdan served up a sumptuous portion of the Argentine tradition that bears no resemblance to the American version with dancers cheek to cheek.

Like his grandfather and great-grandfather before him, Del Curto plays the bandoneon. The bandoneon first appeared in December 1850 in a German music shop owned by Henreich Band, according to information on web sites about the history of tango. A cross between a concertina and an accordion, the instrument quickly became the soul of tango when it reached Buenos Aires at the end of the 19th century.

Del Curto formed the group, based in New York City, in 2003 to keep a family tradition alive. His wife, cellist Jisoo Ok, pianist Gustavo Casenave and violinist Nick Danielson joined him at the festival along with Argentine native Terrazas and Croatian Grdan. All are classically trained but somewhere along the line were enchanted by tango.

The site (sic) lines at the Railroad Stage and the limited area allocated to the dancers made it nearly impossible for more than a quarter of the audience to observe them. It was one of the few times a big screen projection of the stage would have been an asset.

The musicians, however, played perfectly. Their music wrapped festival goers in a blanket of the somehow soothing, yet alluring, sound of seduction.

Ah, tango. - Bangor Daily News


Hector Del Curto's Eternal Tango, featuring Eternal Tango Orchestra, with special guest Pablo Ziegler



Praised by the New York Times as a "splendid player", Argentinean bandoneónist, Héctor Del Curto has captivated the audiences around the world as a soloist and chamber musician, sharing the stage with the world–renowned tango legends Astor Piazzolla and Osvaldo Pugliese, pianist Pablo Ziegler, clarinetist Paquito D´Rivera, ballet dancer Julio Bocca, National Symphony Orchestra (Washington D.C.), Buenos Aires Symphony Orchestra and Teatro Colón Ballet among many others. After a Carnegie Hall concert in April 1999 with the Orpheus Chamber Orchestra and outstanding artists such as Gary Burton, Joe Lovano, Pablo Ziegler, famous tango singers José Angel Trelles and Maria Graña, the New York Times highlighted Mr. Del Curto´s artistry, making special mention of his "wistful, piercing solos on the bandoneón."

This was no new discovery. In Argentina, Mr. Del Curto had won the title of "Best Bandoneón Player under 25" when he was only 17 years of age. This award led, Osvaldo Pugliese to invite him to play in his legendary orchestra, which made him the youngest bandoneonist in the history of Pugliese's Orchestra.

In 1999, Héctor Del Curto received the Golden Note Award from the Italian–American Network in recognition of his artistic achievements. As conductor, he directed the spectacular show "Forever Tango" on Broadway and founded the "Eternal Tango Orchestra" a ten piece ensemble. Since 2003, Eternal Tango Trio, Quintet and Orchestra has performed at Lincoln Center Summer Festival, Hudson River Park Trust Moon Dance Series, Stowe Tangofest in Vermont, NY Tango Festival, Levitt Pavilion for the Performing Arts, Resonance–World Music Festival in Cleveland, Embajada Argentina in Washington D.C., Festival Iberoamericano de las Artes in Puerto Rico and Le Carrefour Mondial de l’accordion in Quebec among other festivals and venues.

Mr. Del Curto has produced a critically acclaimed CD, Eternal Tango and the album was successfully released at Jazz Standard in New York City in June, 2007. Besides his own projects, Héctor Del Curto is an active member of Pablo Ziegler Trio and Quintet for the New Tango, Fernando Otero´s X–Tango and Paquito D´Rivera´s Panamericana Ensemble.

Héctor Del Curto´s recordings include performances with Osvaldo Pugliese and his orchestra and Astor Piazzolla and the New Tango Sextet on "Finally Together" (Lucho Records), Pablo Ziegler on the albums "Asphalt" and "Quintet for the New Tango" (BMG), "Tango Magic" (Sony Music–USA) on video and DVD and "Tango and All That Jazz" (Kind of Blue Records), Fernando Otero X– Tango on the album "Plan" and Luis Borda Cuarteto on "Linea de Tango" (Jazz and Fusion Records). Mr. Del Curto was a guest artist in numerous recordings such as Latin music legend, Tito Puente and Eddie Palmieri´s Grammy Award–winning collaboration "Masterpiece" (RMM), renowned mezzo-soprano, Denyce Graves´ "The Lost Days" (BMG), Paquito D´Rivera´s "Funk Tango", Manhattan Transfer´s "Vibrate" (Telarc), Roy Nathanson´s "Fire at the Keaton´s Bar and Grill" (featuring Elvis Costello, Cyrus Chestnut and Deborah Harry, on the label Six Degrees), Ricardo Arjona´s "Santo Pecado" (Sony International), and Shakira´s "Laundry Services" (BMG)

Hector Del Curto's Eternal Tango is represented by Eye for Talent. He has toured extensively and maintains his own touring budget.