Ballads for My Life & Death: Tribute to Piazzolla
'With her big, powerful contralto and a vibrato that she commanded with effortless ease, Cangiano was seemingly born to sing the Piazzolla songbook that she explores on her new CD (...)she delivered a mix of iconic and obscure Piazzolla with dramatic intensity and a feel for the material that bordered on telepathic. But as much heavy lifting as there was going on, Cangiano saved her most dramatic flourishes, including a surprisingly impressive upper register, for those few moments where she had to take a crescendo and then deliver another one on top of that' LUCID CULTURE, NYC, DECEMBER 2008 'Cangiano's approach to singing is that of an actress; she invests each word with meaning, focusing less on the strict musical aspects of the performance. Piazzolla's compositions lend themselves to this treatment, as Cangiano shows on her new self-produced CD 'Ballads for My Life and Death' APRIL 2009, ALL ABOUT JAZZ (SUZANNE LORGE) BALLADS FOR MY LIFE & DEATH: TRIBUTE TO ASTOR PIAZZOLLA is part of vocalist María Cangiano's long term project to reinterpret Astor Piazzolla's song repertory. This collection includes new arrangements by a younger generation of Argentinean composers. Piazzolla's song repertory is revisited, and his less known musical influences, such as Folk, Afro and Pop are explored through a thrilling reinvention of his Jazz, Tango and Classical features. The first installation of this series gathers a compelling mixture of main stream and previously unreleased songs arranged by Argentine composers Fernando Otero, Julio Santillán and Emilio Solla. The CD includes an insert with lyrics written in both English and Spanish, as well as a caricature of María Cangiano designed by world famous Argentine cartoonist, Hermenegildo Sábat. Cangiano's voice and interpretation bring new light to the poetic, surrealistic and dramatic nature of the lyrics. The CD opens with El gordo triste (The Sad Fat Guy) Piazzolla's and Ferrer's homage to Pichuco, Argentina's most famous bandoneon player; closing with a Candombe: a rare amalgamation of Argentine and African music- Yo soy el negro (I am the Black One). Both pieces, arranged and played by Emilio Solla, blend Piazzolla's charming melodic lines, Jazz phrasing, and Candombe rhythms with master percussionist Quintino Cinalli on the Candombe drums. María interprets 'El gordo triste' in the tradition of spoken tango, while her declamation blends with the improvised sound of a saxophone, a nontraditional Tango instrument. For the first time 'Yo soy el negro' is performed by a woman, delightfully mixing a traditional afro format (the opening-closing with drums and the calling) with tango-jazz elements such as the bandoneón and the electric guitar. Both songs were recorded by Martín Balik on the acoustic bass, Mercedes Figueras on saxophone, the famous Uruguayan guitarist-composer Beledo on the electric guitar, and Grammy award winner and master bandoneonist Raúl Jaurena. The third piece arranged by Emilo Solla, 'Vuelvo al sur'-the music of Pino Solanas's movie Sur -follows a more classic jazz style. The unexpected harmony of contrasting elements awakens the mind and the soul with the invocation of drama and nostalgia. The CD also includes two new songs 'La primera palabra' (The First Word) and 'Milonga en Ay menor' arranged by guitarist-composer Julio Santillán, Martín Balik on acoustic bass, Raúl Jaurena on the bandoneon, Laura Arpiainen on violin, Mauro Satalino on the bombo, a typical drum from the North of Argentina, and recorded by Santillán himself in his original Jazz-Folk minimalistic style. Santillán also transforms 'La primera palabra' into a Chacarera- a folk rhythm from Tucumán, the province where he was born, exploring other less known musical influences in Piazzolla's music. María's interpretation is rich and diverse: the 'Milonga' - dedicated to Roberto Arlt, an Argentine writer of the 1920-30s, is the heartfelt cry of a fictitious character about whom Arlt never wrote, while the 'Chacarera' boasts a more traditional declamatory tone, similar to that of a 1960s Latin American protest song. Finally two unavoidable classical pieces of Piazzolla's song repertory: 'Balada para mi muerte' (Ballad for My Death) and 'Balada para un loco' (Ballad for a Crazy One) conclude this masterpiece. Both songs were arranged by Fernando Otero, one of Argentina's most famous young pianist/composer and recorded by maestro Abel Rogantini (piano). Lautaro Guida (acoustic bass) and Horacio (bandoneon), following more Piazzolla's original version. However, Fernando Otero invites the listener to become engulfed with the serenity of his unique minimalistic classical style, while Maria's acting talents shine. Called "Edith Piaf of Tango" MARIA CANGIANO has a unique voice within a new generation of Argentine musicians in New York. Her musical journey mirrors her gypsy life, being a daughter of Italian immigrants from middle eastern roots, raised in Argentina and exposed to Tango and South American folk music, who came to the US and discovered Jazz, Blues and Afro music. Born in Buenos Aires from Neapolitan family, she came to the US to do her PhD in Latin American History and upon completing it, she left the academia for the performing arts. Maria Cangiano has a classical training and performed many mezzo soprano opera roles at Opera Theaters in New York City, such as Regina Opera, Dicapo Opera and Amato Opera. Charles Handelman, an opera reviewer, has said 'MARIA is a major mezzo-contralto voice with bright and clear tones throughout the middle and upper register, and a low register that reminds me of either Jerome Hines or Gottlob Frick (well,actually more like Conchita Supervia combined with Elena Obratsova)." In 2001 she started to interpret and performed tango songs, a repertory little known in the US. She directed and performed her own one-woman show, called Tango in Black and Red with her first band El Cuarteto de Maria ' The Brooklyn Press has said "Tango in Black and Red" ' was an "outstanding, dramatic tango performance. Overall, the depth and power of Cangiano's woeful, soulful voice brought the nostalgic of the music to life." During the last 7 years, Maria has performed old and new tango music in New York major venues, such as Blue Note, Nuyorican Poets Café, Bowery Poetry Club, Cornelia Street Café, Joe's Pub, Tischman Auditorium, Argentine Consulate, DROM, among other. In August, 2009, she will released her new CD at Centro Cultural Torquato Tasso, one of Buenos Aires most popular Tango venues.