Sunday, July 11, 2010

What a 9 de Julio party!

Last Friday, we went to a really great Independence Day event organized by local teachers Roxana and Fabian Belmonte.

Now, we don't normally like to go to the big events - invariably, it's too crowded, there's poor organization, too many speeches and not enough opportunities to dance. We were lucky we went this time because Roxana and Fabian's event was superb.

There was live music all night, courtesy of Tango de Oro's tango quartet, directed by maestro Miguel Arrabal on the bandoneon. He grounded the music with his masterful and emotional playing. Roxana and Fabian also arranged for a singer to be flown in from Argentina - Ricardo "Chiqui" Pereyra, who the local argentines (many of them - there were more of them than the people from the tango community!) all recognized from the show "Grande Valores de Tango". Ricardo's deep voice and the tough-guy, macho delivery in his singing spoke of love, hope and despair in the "arrabal" in numbers like "Muneca Brava" and "Uno".

What we really enjoyed was that the quartet's music was music for dancing. No strange compas variations or symphonic arrangements of obscure themes. It was music we could all dance to and enjoy. It was like going back to the Golden Age where orchestras played nightly for dancers at the milongas of Buenos Aires.

And if you want to see a show - Roxana and Fabian put on a terrific show as the principal dancers, accompanied by their quartet. After the intermission, there was an electrifying demonstration of folklore - chacarera, drums and malambo - by the guest folklore dancers Claudio and Daniel of "Los Latigos Santiaguenos".

This was the first time we had attended an independence day event in Toronto and we were really glad we made it this time. There was so much music, so much dancing, and such great atmosphere* as every one in the room got into the spirit of the celebration, that one word comes to mind - generosity. Roxana and Fabian and their guests put their hearts and souls into this special event.

The 9 de Julio event is the opening event of Roxana and Fabian's "Tango Summit" Master Tango Week which continues with workshops by Miguel Angel Zotto (Can you believe it! Miguel Angel Zotto in Toronto!) and a Gala Milonga this week. For more information, please check out Roxana and Fabian's website.

* Not to mention - complimentary wine! Four bottles of delicious Argentinian wines at each table. You can bet that Man Yung especially enjoyed that!

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