The London Tango Orchestra is the largest tango group in the country, a real “orquesta tipica” uniting leading UK tango musicians with players from Argentina. Founded in 2009 by Caroline Pearsall, it is the first of its kind in the UK. The orchestra performs music from the rich repertoire of tango, old and new, sharing its love of tango music, and promoting Argentine culture in the UK through concerts, dances (milongas), workshops and cultural exchanges with tango musicians from Europe and Argentina.

The Tanda
We met with Adam Spiers and John Turville for a little chat:

 

Adam Spiers, Cello
How did tango find you?
While growing up with my parents, we often listened to Piazzolla recordings at home, and later when I went to music college I learnt to love playing his music. Years later, seeing the famous tango scene in the great Al Pacino film “Scent of a Woman” planted the roots for a strong fascination with tango dance and music. I joined LTO after collaborating with John Turville on a contemporary jazz/tango fusion project he wrote for his trio, and then decided to start learning to dance too, to deepen my understanding of the music and have some fun at the same time!

 

Who or what inspires you?
In tango, the wonderful musicians I am lucky enough to play with, and my dance teachers. But I’m inspired by all sorts of people from all walks of life!

 

Tango? Vals? Milonga?
Tango because I still can’t dance vals or milonga very well! But I love playing them all equally.

 

If you could only play one last song what would it be?
Milonga del Angel because it’s so heart-wrenchingly beautiful.

 

When you are not playing in the orchestra?
Jazz is another huge musical passion. When not playing music, I’m very active in the world of technology and I sometimes exhibit strange behaviour usually associated with triathletes.

 

If you could give one piece of advice to anyone wanting to learn an instrument?
Do it! The more effort you put in, the more you’ll get out of it. OK, maybe that was two pieces of advice.

 

If you could be any animal in the world, what would you be and why?
Probably a squirrel, because they’re cute, awesomely agile, and generally seem to have a fairly stress-free life (in the London parks, at least).

 

John Turville, Piano
How did tango find you?
From trips to Argentina a few years ago – as well as teaching and dancing tango on the Summer school in Dartington.

 

Who or what inspires you?
A huge range of music, from jazz to contemporary orchestral writing and especially where tango intersects the world of classical music and jazz – especially Diego Schissi and Horacio Salgan – I’m also strongly inspired by the dance and the way it embodies the music.

 

Tango? Vals? Milonga?
All three are beautiful. I think the best tunes are found in Waltzes though, I’ve got a particular soft spot for those. Especially Romance de Barrio!

 

If you could only play one last song what would it be?
Sorry to all the tango purists, but it’d have to be Oblivion – I love Piazzolla.

 

When you are not playing in the orchestra?
I have many other projects, including my own trio, big band, sextet, and countless other projects. I also play tango in trio with Guillermo Rozenthuler and Javier Fioramonte, write music and teach three days a week.

 

If you could give one piece of advice to anyone wanting to learn an instrument?
PRACTICE!

 

If you could be any animal in the world, what would you be and why?
Definitely something with wings for obvious reasons.

Story posted by: Rita Maree Horne

About the author: Social Dancer, Writer from Edinburgh

Published: 24 Feb 2014 @ 16:50

Last modified: 28 Dec 2022 @ 11:56

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