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C 9640 CHARCOS: TANGOS & MILONGAS [11,99 Euro]

Qobuz – C 9640 Charcos: Tangos & Milongas Francisco “Quito” Gato is one of the most peculiar, well-known and versatile figures in the world of early music and historical performance […]
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Qobuz - C 9640 Charcos: Tangos & Milongas

Francisco "Quito" Gato is one of the most peculiar, well-known and versatile figures in the world of early music and historical performance practices. In his formative years he drew as much from the folk and popular music of his native Argentina as he did from the purely academic training of classical music.

Like so many great Argentinian figures of early music who have developed almost all their careers in Europe, Quito soon stood out for his technical ability and sensitivity and began to play with the most prestigious ensembles as a performer of vihuela, baroque lute, baroque guitar, etc. He was also the arranger of several important recordings of groups such as Christina Pluhar's L'Arpeggiata and Leonardo García Alarcón's Cappella Mediterranea.

Quito has never forgotten the music of his childhood and his homeland. I have followed his exciting career for many years, and it is curious that now fate has brought us together in Cantus. He, an Argentinian and passionate cultivator of early European music, and I, a European and also a passionate cultivator of Argentinian popular music and folklore. This CD, Charcos, is the first fruit of this happy meeting of early music and popular music, and it will not be the last.

We both want to share our common love for European early music and Latin American folklore, to contribute our experience of so many years devoted to musical performance and record production alongside the world's greatest early music stars, and to open new ways for music lovers all over the planet to fall in love, as we do, with wonderful music such as this that we present to you here, with all our love and respect.

In the early times of the tango, and when this genre was not fully established in the Río de la Plata, the guitar was the link between the different forms that crossed, such as the habanera, the candombe, the Andalusian tango, the zarzuela and the typical rondallas (plucked-stringed instruments groups), which combined a large number of guitars and bandurrias (a kind of mandolas). The great world icon of tango, Carlos Gardel, has his image most present through the criollo heritage with his gaucho attire and a guitar in his hands.

The first tango instrumental ensembles were trios consisting of flute, violin and harp, and sometimes an accordion or mandolin was added. The guitar begins in tango ensembles replacing the harp, and fulfilling a rhythmic base function. This instrumental structure, flute, violin and guitar, lasted until the bandoneón was introduced in the early 1900s. After different variables and combinations, the guitar ceased to be present in the ensembles when the piano began to be used, in the same way that the bandoneón displaced the flute. This new formation, piano, violin and bandoneón, was the precursor of the typical orchestra, with a formation of two bandoneones, two violins, piano and double bass. In any case, there were still ensembles in which the guitar always fulfilled its function as a rhythmic base.

Many singers had their own guitar groups, such as Carlos Gardel, Ignacio Corsini, Oscar Ferrari, Tito Reyes, Nelly Omar, or Edmundo Rivero, among others. From this time on, there were also guitar ensembles, in the manner of an orchestra, where each guitarist had a specific role, either with different melodies or accompaniment. The soloist role of the guitar in tango has been enriched by an infinite number of musicians, from its beginnings to the present day, creating a language of its own, of hierarchy and multiple possibilities.

When we approached this recording, we immediately realised that the velvety, veiled and melancholic sonority of the romantic guitar gave these pieces a remarkable dimension, something like the recovery of the nostalgic essence of the first tangos, an extraordinarily attractive carnal and spiritual truth, with truly marvellous colours. We have no doubt that many of the first tangos were composed and performed with voice and guitar, and so the first instrumental versions also emerged, many of which would still use the romantic guitar, the one that the masters had known throughout almost the entire 19th century, and that conviction has led us to propose these unusually rich and nuanced sonorities in our versions.

Many of the best-known pieces on this recording are texted tangos. Indeed, with a memorable text, poems of overwhelming beauty, but tangos have always been offered in purely instrumental versions as well, sometimes to be danced to and sometimes, at a slower tempo, to be listened to and savoured in another way. Quito Gato explores this possibility here in a masterly way, without robbing these timeless works of nostalgia, emotion and sensitivity. With these liner notes I hope to be able to accompany you when listening to them.

José Carlos Cabello


  • Quito Gato, romantic guitar built by María Clusellas & Osvaldo Bragán after Louis Panormo (London), ca. 1840

    Guests: Adrián Ramírez: guitar

    Gustavo Gargiulo: cornetto

    Martha Cosattini: baroque violin

    Martín d'Elía: baroque cello

    Fernando Lerman: soprano & alto saxo

    Facundo Guevara: percussion

    Alfredo Casero: reader

    Besides, Quito Gato plays bass guitar in different tracks.

Additional information

  • Total time 53:45

    Booklet36 full-colour pages with extended liner notes by Quito Gato & José Carlos Cabello

    Recording Estudio .ar (Buenos Aires, Argentina) in 2008 & 2019

    Engineering and digital edition Ariel Gato

    Producers Quito Gato & Ariel Gato

    Executive production Quito Gato & José Carlos Cabello

    Design and booklet coordination José Carlos Cabello

    Cover Quito Gato in Paris, by Charles Plumey
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Qobuz - C 9640 Charcos: Tangos & Milongas