Acho Estol is one of contemporary tango’s street poets. His lyrics are informed by early tango songwriters such as Pascual Contursi and Celedonio Flores, literary authors such as Roberto Arlt, Leopoldo Marechal and Raúl González Tuñón – with whom Estol shares a tenderness for losers, beggars, idealists and criminals – as well as the songmeisters of 1970s Argentinean rock nacional. But Estol was raised on Anglophone psychedelic and indie rock too, and references The Beatles and Tom Waits along the way, as well as choice influences from the world music library, including flamenco and African and Brazilian rhythms.
With his band La Chicana, Estol has made many fresh, new additions to the tango songbook. Writing words and music for his long-time collaborator and wife Dolores Solá, he mixes River Plate folk rhythms with tango tropes, a Beat sensibility with a romantic nostalgia, and a punky pleasure in patchworks with a Dadaist’s penchant for cutups. His music, by turns catchy and complex, danceable and dirge-like, works with and for the words.
His second solo album, Buenosaurios - an ironic reference to tango’s ambiguous role in modern-day Argentina, where it is a glittering memory of a richer era, an encyclopaedia of national identity, and a cheap retro allusion for electrotangueros - is a new direction. Subtitled ‘Legends of a night lost in tango’, it’s darker, more macho, perhaps more sinister than anything Estol has produced to date, telling the stories of assorted figures trapped in the shadowland that lies between their own myth-fuelled delusions and the ordinariness of their everyday lifes. Idle dreamers, likeable whores, comic criminals, half-hearted knife-fighters, bar-hopping cavemen, rain-soaked gauchos, uncertain astronauts and sunbathing defectors come out of the shadows and up to the mic in a vaudeville fantasy. Buenosaurios is a 21st century séance, to which are also invited the lost souls of old tangos; but Estol doesn’t linger with his guests under the naked lightbulb. Off they go for a café solo laced with cognac and a game of billiards, so that they can swap their stories.
To help him play out this tall tale, Estol is joined by a band of gifted musicians and a stellar cast of friends and collaborators. Tango performers, including veteran Juan Cedrón and showman Brian Chambouleyron as well as a team of new explorers of the genre, are joined by the likes of Argentine rock legend Palo Pandolfo and Ariel Prat, exponent of radical murga street protest music.
‘Knowing that you love tango, you’re free to smash it up into a thousand pieces,’ says Estol. Buenosaurios is an exercise in deconstruction, but always with a beating tango heart at its centre.
London, October 2009
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- 1.Ratones de labertinto (feat. Alfredo Piro)02:57
- 2.Fantasmas africanos (feat. Ariel Prat)04:09
- 3.Mi involucion (feat. Chino Laborde)02:59
- 4.Buenosaurios Parte I01:55
- 5.Cristobal (feat. Rodrigo de la Serna)02:58
- 6.La que se me escaop (feat. Cucuza Castiello)02:57
- 7.Un gaucho bajo la lluvia (feat. Brian Chambuleyron)02:19
- 8.Planeta rojo (feat. Juan Vattuone)02:16
- 9.Los nochernicolas02:44
- 10.El desertor (feat. Manuel Moretti)03:00
- 11.Putas flacas (feat. Palo Pandolfo)03:18
- 12.Tango del diablo (feat. Tata Cedrón)03:49
- 13.Camaleon de variete (feat. Daniel Robles)02:31
- 14.Buenosaurios Parte II01:51
- 15.Boxeador que cae (feat. Antonio Birabent)02:50
- 16.El profeta (feat. Pablo Dacal)03:10