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JAPAN

Taking the tango across the country

by Eriko Arita

A renowned Argentine tango orchestra and dancers from that country and Japan are bringing their passion for the art to audiences across Japan through March.

The tour, titled Dramatic Tango — Golden Rhythm, will be held by the Min-On Concert Association in 33 cities in Japan. The association has been bringing over first-class tango artists from Argentina on an annual basis since 1970.

Coming this year is the Orquesta Color Tango, conducted by bandoneon player Robert Alvarez. The bandoneon is a type of concertina popular in Argentina, and Alvarez was the leading player of the accordianlike instrument in an orchestra lead by Osvaldo Pugliese (1905-1995), one of the greatest tango pianists and composers in Argentina.

During the Japan tour, Alvarez will lead the orchestra, which consists of bandoneons, violins, a contrabass, a keyboard and a piano. They will be accompanied by singer Roberto Decarre and three world-class tango-dancing couples.

One of these pairs consists of Japan’s Chizuko Maruyama and Argentina’s Diego Ortega. They are the champions of the Stage Tango category at the finals of the Eighth Buenos Aires Tango Dance World Championship, which was held in August 2010.

The Orquesta Color Tango plans to play scores composed by Pugliese, among them is the 1946 “La Yumba,” which is known for its strong two-beat rhythm played by bandoneons.

Other scores by Pugliese are set to include “A Evaristo Carriego,” which is a tribute to renowned Argentine poet Evaristo Carriego, and “Recuerdo”(“Memory”).

Dramatic Tango — Golden Rhythm will be held in 33 cities across Japan starting with Kiryu, Gunma Prefecture, on Jan. 26. The tour will hit Hiroshima on Jan. 28, Fukuoka on Feb. 1, Yokohama on March 1 and Tokyo on March 11 and 12. The tour will finish in Joetsu, Niigata Prefecture, on Mar. 16. Admission costs ¥5,800 or more, prices vary according to the venue. For more information on the other venues, call (03) 3226-9999 or visit www.min-on.or.jp.