Silvana Deluigi

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Of all the unlikely musical developments that could have taken place in the closing years of the 20th century, the avant-tango movement is probably the second least likely (right after Christian death metal). What was predictable was that Kip Hanrahan would find some way get his hands on it, and sure enough, here he is producing and arranging a strange and lovely album by Argentine singer Silvana Deluigi, a woman who seems to have a powerfully ambivalent relationship to the tango tradition. What gives tango music its tremendous power is the sense of hot passion being kept, just barely, under tight control, and that feeling is what binds most of these songs together, even when they depart quite dramatically from the typical rhythmic and harmonic patterns that typify tango. "La Cumparsita" is the song that hews most closely to the party line -- it's slow, dark, and bittersweet, like good chocolate, and features some wonderful string writing. "Cuesta Abajo" is more emotionally fraught, and the strings are more classical in tone, as if to balance out the raw passion of the singing. On "Tangologie" a strange sort of Broadway-esque exuberance creeps in, and the result feels awkward, but the spy-movie ambience of "Maquillaje" fuses with the tango flavor quite nicely. Throughout the album, Deluigi's voice is a thing of dark and rich beauty, and her delivery is powerful but elegant. Highly recommended.

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