Offered in collaboration with the Consulate General of the Argentine Republic.
Get an inside view of tango! Explore the many faces of this rich and complex cultural phenomenon of Argentina, both in its place of origin as well as in the international arena.
Trace its historical and stylistic musical trajectories and discuss its multiple dimensions in-depth (music, dance and poetry). You will revisit major works throughout its history, up to the works of living composers. Particular emphasis will be given to the artistic contribution of composers, dancers, and writers that played a defining role in the growth and development of the tango’s stylistic innovations.
Just as the tango emerged off the coast of Rio de la Plata’s cultural melting pot and quickly expanded throughout the world, this course will also present and discuss the influence and reception of the tango as a nomadic art form in remote cultures such as Finland, Japan, and Canada. You will also explore specific examples of the tango’s influences in other arts - film and literature, as well as science, economics and gender studies - giving you a broader spectrum of this musical style.
Activities will consist of discussions, readings, and listening sessions, as well as live performances and demonstrations to enhance the audience experience.
Live performances, demonstrations, guest speakers and media (video/audio examples and slides) have been designed to create a dynamic and interactive flow of information throughout the course. Each module includes a Q&A session.
Session 1: “The Tango entails infinite possibilities”
- Intro: What is Tango? Its meaning and function as a local/world cultural phenomenon.
- Social and historical background.
- La orquesta típica; music from the Guardia Vieja to the Golden Age of Tango.
Session 2: “La Milonga,” an introduction to Tango Dance
- History and evolution of the dance.
- Dancing styles and techniques; Canyengue, Orillero and Tango de Salón.
- Contemporary practices in tango dancing; queer tango dance.
- The Tango Therapy, using dance to improve physical and mental health disorders.
- Hernan Lazart and Marina Mauri, professional tango dancers.
- Patricia McKinley, associate professor McGill University, School of Physical and Occupational therapy (to be confirmed).
Session 3: “The bandoneón and Tango’s Poetry,” introduction to the instrument, Lunfardo and Jorge Luis Borges’s writings on Tango
- Introduction to the bandoneón; history, technique and performance styles.
- Short performance of original works for bandoneón and cello.
- Lunfardo, the tango’s own dialect; its meaning, origin and application.
- Literature and music, the relation between writer Jorge Luis Borges and the tango, presented by Fernanda Macchi.
- Jonathan Goldman, bandoneon player and musicologist
- Fernanda Macchi, associate professor at McGill University, Department of Languages, Literature, and Cultures.
Session 4: “Nuevo Tango and Beyond” on composer Astor Piazzolla and the Tango in the XXI century
- El mal entendido, the musical innovations of composer Astor Piazzolla.
- Analysis and performance of “Cinco piezas” by Piazzolla for solo guitar, presented by Steve Cowan.
- Nuevo Tango Nuevo; expanding the technical and expressive possibilities in tango composition and performance practice.
- The Nomadic Tango, a reflection of a musical style with no borders.
- Short performance of works for guitar and cello.
- Guest: Steve Cowan, guitar, first prize-winner at the Montreal International Guitar Festival and Competition 2015
Guests are subject to change.
Instructor: Juan Sebastian Delgado, Cellist
His passion for the New Tango led him to perform with celebrated musicians in Argentina, Japan, Europe and North America. As a McGill University doctoral student he worked with his advisor, Prof. Matt Haimovitz, a central figure in the performance and dissemination of contemporary music. One of his projects was recently chosen among more than 100 applications from major universities across Canada to be featured in the CBC Radio Canada program Ideas from the Trenches in an hour-long radio podcast.