[Lee In-hyun] We Dance ? To the tango tunes of Piazzolla

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A few days ago I watched a travel documentary. I like to travel because I can experience new cultures, meet different people and feel a new atmosphere. In addition, traveling is for me the way to relieve stress and refresh myself. From the moment I make travel plans, I am excited.

However, due to COVID-19, I couldn’t go anywhere.

If I want to feel the holiday vibe, the only thing I can do is watch YouTube for the places I want to go. Unfortunately, this is the only way to satisfy my hunger. During this time I saw a video about a music festival in South America. Their dance, their passion and their atmosphere were enough to excite me. The tango festival that started in Buenos Aires for 18 days was particularly astonishing for me. Tango was a popular dance that began among the common people, but it became an art form with the soul of Argentina.

There was only one person who widened the dance genre to the art genre, and that was Astor Piazzolla.

Piazzolla was born into an ordinary Argentinian family and his family moved to New York City to live a better life.

He wanted to be a boxer, but his hope was greater than his ability. His father, who was sad to see his son give up on his dream, gave him a traditional Argentinian musical instrument called the bandoneon – a kind of concertina – as a gift.

Because Argentinian blood flowed through his body, he gradually fell into the bandoneon. He showed his musical talent in a short time and was confident. He wanted to tango with his own character through the bandoneon, but people wanted to listen to tango in a familiar style, not in a new style. They started to criticize him rather than praise him.

After learning music through the bandoneon, Piazzolla was frustrated with criticism and people’s contempt, but he couldn’t give up music. His passion for music was beating in his heart. He therefore abandoned the bandoneon and decided to learn classical music. However, by the time he played the bandoneon, he shone the most.

The feeling he could best express came from the bandoneon. Piazzolla’s closest moment, and the truest moment of his life, was when he was playing the bandoneon. After the death of his father, who was his spiritual support, and through many trials and errors, he grew stronger. He went his own way no matter what anyone said.

“You can say that my music is not tango, but I cannot say that it is not Argentinian,” he said. He eventually began to be recognized in Brazil, not in his own country, and his tango began to be in the spotlight from Latin America to Europe, the United States and Asia.

Thanks to his effort, the harmonies of jazz and tango and classical music and tango were naturally accepted. It also brought tango to recognition as a piece of music, not just a genre of dance. Previously, the new tango he created was ignored and rejected, but this tango is now recognized as Argentine tango. Through his passion and continued efforts for music, I am grateful to be able to appreciate tango as he constructed it.

I particularly like “Liber Tango”. Every time I listen to it, my heart and body move in rhythm.

The sound and atmosphere emanating from this room makes me feel like I’m in Argentina. However, her most popular piece with Koreans is “El Tango de Roxanne”, thanks to figure skater Kim Yuna and her performance.

Whether it’s “Liber Tango” or “El Tango de Roxanne”, it doesn’t matter. Close your eyes and listen to the music with a cold beer. It will make you feel like you are in South America, away from the difficult life of COVID-19, for a while.

PS This year marks the 100th anniversary of Piazzolla’s birth.

Lee in hyun
Lee In-hyun is a classical pianist and author of the award-winning book “The Classic Class”, published in January. She works both in Korea and the United States. She currently resides in Los Angeles. ([email protected]) – Ed.

By Korea Herald ([email protected])


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