Wednesday 20 March 2024

Norwegian tango: Håkon Skogstad's Astor Piazzolla-inspired album, 8 Concepts of Tango

Now this is rather fun, a disc of music inspired by the Argentine tango nuevo but created by a Norwegian pianist composer. 8 Concepts of Tango is this third of Håkon Skogstad's trilogy of tango-inspired discs, following on from Visions of Tango with the Trondheim Soloists which was awarded a Norwegian Grammy for best classical album 2021.

Skogstad created 8 Concepts of Tango with seven hand-picked musicians, all experts in the intersection of Argentine tango with classical music: Håkon Skogstad – pianist, Andreas Rokseth – bandoneón, Åsbjørg Ryeng - bandoneón, Sveinung Lillebjerka - violin, Anders Larsen - violin, Bergmund Waal Skaslien - viola, Marit Aspaas - cello, Ole Schøyen Sjölin - double bass. The music takes inspiration from Astor Piazzolla’s Octeto Buenos Aires, so we have eight musicians and eight compositions.

The video is of the first track on the disc, Caserón Porteño which is Skogstad says is "dedicated to the hotel in Buenos Aires where we grew as young musicians through musical experiences, practice, lessons and dancing". Rather than simply producing yet another rewrite/rearrangement of Piazzolla classics, Skogstad's music takes the ideas of Piazzolla and runs with them, sometimes down and dirty, sometimes jazz-inspired but always vividly engaging and definitely a unique voice. Norwegian tango, you definitely need to hear it.

The disc is out on the Norwegian label Øra Fonogram, and can be streamed [linktree].

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