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Gotan Project

Gotan Project : When Argentine Tango Meets French Electro

By Matthieu Boisseau

Astounding. Though attending Gotan Project's gig at the Troxy in London, I  truly felt like  I was in the middle of a  1940's tango bar in Buenos Aires, and at the same time, frenziedly dancing in trendy modern Parisian club. If, at this point, you think that I am schizophrenic...well, not exactly : This is simply the effect that Gotan's music has.

The Paris-based band played many of the songs from the latest Tango 3.0, which arrives more than a decade after the group was first formed. It refines the bands founding elements – understated beats and reflective moods rooted in the backstreets of Buenos Aires, surrounded by a delicious lounge ambiance. This subtle balance between tango and electro had the audience enthralled for nearly 2 hours. Funnily enough, while in front of the stage some people were tangoing, other were performing a quirkly electro dance. A clash of cultures ? Of course not : I would say it is  a happy marriage.

From their opening hit Santa Maria Del Buen Ayre to the closing  song “Peligo”, the trio, which hit the big time internationally with their debut album La Revancha del Tango in 2001, skilfully mixed the heated passion of tango with the cool insistent beats of dance music. They also managed to combined conventional with more curious instruments : even if accordion-carried themes dominated Gotan Project’s set, it also featured an electronic viola and a band mate on a Wii controller that conducted pre-recorded beats and effects. Amazing !


The three main members, French Philippe Cohen Solal, Argentine Eduardo Makaroff and Swiss Christoph H. Müller, performed with four talented musicians on stage : Lalo Zanelli (piano), Claudia Pannone (vocal), Ananta Roosens (violin) and Facundo Torres (bandoneon). They brillantly added various experimental effects to the gig, with an  exquisitely multi-dimensional end-result. A completely new visual show with sensual videos of tango was the background for this “cinematographic” performance. In addition, the band paid a tribute to “the best city in the world” : Buenos Aires, by decking themselves out in their uniforms of Argentine Fedoras and vests. In other words, Gotan Project's performance was much more than just an ordinary gig. It was a complete show.


Final verdict ? As they brillantly tread a tightrope most bands wouldn’t dare to walk: the line between classic tango and modern electro, Gotan Project showed why they have been reaching the top of French new wave music. As far as I am concerned, I definitely want to learn tango : anyone interested ?


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