Accordionist Richard Galliano says the father of modern tango was “a second father” to him.

French-born accordion virtuoso Richard Galliano has released albums paying tribute to Edith Piaf – one of the greatest chanteuses his country ever produced – and to film composer  Nino Rota, a nod to his own Italian heritage. But his most personal hommageto date is to his friend and mentor, the late Astor Piazzolla. Now, Galliano is bringing his Piazzolla Forever septet to Melbourne as part of a world tour honouring the Argentine bandoneonist and composer 20 years after his death.

Galliano grew up listening in awe to sensual tangos composed and played by Piazzolla, who became something of a hero to the budding accordionist. He recalls “spending a whole night listening to his discs, and in the early hours of the morning composing my own tango.

“The first time I saw him play was with his quintet at the Théâtre Champs-Élysées and it was a real shock. The music was so powerful, so rich and full of swing that I was nailed to my seat!”

Perhaps inevitably in the squeezebox world, the two musicians eventually crossed paths....