In his booklet note, West Australian luthier and broadcaster Graham Hawkes writes, “A long time ago I realised that many of the songs I loved were in fact tangos.” To enrich the repertoire, Hawkes commissioned new tangos from a number of composers, many of them fine guitarists in their own right. Invitation to TANGO, shows just how adaptable this Argentinean form is.
Of the works for solo guitar, Alan Banks’ bluesy, highly virtuosic Tango Improvisation 1, Krzysztof Piotrowicz’s Tango dia Sergei Rudnev, Mardae Selepak’s Tango para Paco and Owen Thomson’s Midnight Tango stand out, not least for the composers themselves delivering such passionate, idiomatic performances. Banks also gives a riveting account of Rohan Jayasinghe’s substantial Hungarian Tango. Veteran composer Philip Bracˇanin is represented by Se baila como eres I & II, two finely crafted contrasting tangos performed with panache by clarinettist Catherine Cahill and guitarist Stephanie Jones, while mandolin and guitar duo Ruth Roshan and Tanya Costantino revel in Roshan’s playful Low tide and Sunset.
For Hawkes this project has been a labour of love, and if Mark Viggiani’s festive Cabaret Closed brings a sense of finality to proceedings, well, as one of tango’s great exponents Carlos Gardel sang, “You always return to your first love.”