Mandragora Tango Orchestra
Boston, Saturday May 5, 2007

Mandragora Tango Orchestra, Minneapolis


Mandragora Tango will be performing at TANGO PARADISO on Saturday May 5, 2007. For tickets and event details visit www.tangoparadiso.org

BIOGRAPHIE

Mandragora Tango is a collective of Tango musicians based in Minneapolis dedicated to preserving the nearly-lost musical forms of Tango and translating them for the listeners and dancers of today. Mandragora Tango was founded by Bob Barnes in 2001 as a chamber music ensemble to play the music of Argentine composer and bandoneonist Astor Piazzolla. When he founded Mandragora, Bob had no idea that people still danced to tango. Mandragora soon fell into the Minneapolis tango dance scene and started playing for milongas (tango dance parties). In 2002 they started playing a weekly Sunday night Milonga at the Loring Pasta Bar, a long-term gig that continues to this day. In 2003, Bob started to add a piano and a string quartet to the mix and created the "Mandragora Tango Orchestra", a larger group dedicated to more symphonic tango styles. In 2005, Bob started to play the bandoneon, a squared-off accordion that is used for tango.

Tango can be described as classical music that can be danced to. A 3 minute love affair. A horizontal expression of a vertical desire. It is played on acoustic instruments and follows classical conventions, but has a strong beat, jazz harmonies and a nostalgic melancholy that is seldom encountered in the concert hall. Tango straddles the lines between classical, jazz, and Latin music. Mandragora dances over those lines and creates a music that is fresh, engaging, danceable and nostalgic.

Mandragora has appeared on Minnesota Public Radio, on Twin Cities Public Television, at Orchestra Hall in Minneapolis, with the Vocalessence choir, with the Tony-winning Theatre de la Jeune Lune and at many other concert and dance venues in and around the Twin Cities. Mandragora and Theatre de le Jeune Lune's co-presentation of Astor Piazzolla's tango-operita "Maria de Buenos Aires" was named "Best Overall Theater Work" for 2005 by City Pages of Minneapolis.

"Let's Have Dinner and Go Dancing With Mandragora Tango" is a collection of tangos, vals (waltzes) and milongas (2-steps) recoded over the past few years. The tracks range from rollicking guardia vieja (old style) tangos to lush epocha d'ora (golden age) ones, as well as some of Bob Barnes's originals and a curious tango version of Nirvana's Smells Like Teen Spirit. Mandragora has also recorded a "neo-tango" version of the world's most famous tango, "La Cumparsita", mashed up with the "40-lashes" bass riff from "Jesus Christ Superstar". They refer to this version as "Tango electronica played on acoustic instruments".


Bob's Bio

Bob Barnes was born in Frankfurt, Germany and was raised in Gaithersburg, Maryland. Bob attended the Oberlin Conservatory of Music where he earned degrees in music composition and computer science. He moved to Minneapolis in 1994 to study computer science and biology at the University of Minnesota and dropped out a few years later to devote himself to music and menial computer jobs. Bob started playing tango in 1987 after hearing a recording of the Argentine composer and bandoneonist Astor Piazzolla. Bob nursed his tango addiction in private until 2001, when he sought out fellow tangophiles and founded Mandragora Tango as a quartet of accordion, violin, bass and guitar. When he founded Mandragora, Bob had no idea that people still danced to tango. He soon fell into the tango dance scene and started playing for milongas (tango dance parties). In 2002, Mandragora started playing a weekly Sunday night Milonga at the Loring Pasta Bar, a long-term gig that continues to this day. In 2003, Bob started to add a piano and a string quartet to the mix and created the "Mandragora Tango Orchestra", a larger group dedicated to more symphonic tango styles. In 2006, Bob started to play the Bandoneon, a squared-off accordion that is used for tango.

Bob's Photo


Christian's Bio

Christian Zamora was born in San Jose, Costa Rica to a mixed heritage of North and Central American blood. At a very young age, he moved to the United States where he was raised in Kansas City, Kansas. Christian began his violin studies at the age of nine in the public schools. At 13, he began studying with Paul Hatton, who would become his step-father two years later. At the age of 18, he moved to Madison, Wisconsin to study with one of Paul's former teachers, the renowned violinist and pedagogue Vartan Manoogian. Since leaving school in 2001, Christian has made numerous appearances throughout the country as soloist, chamber and orchestral musician. He has held concertmaster positions for the Bismarck/Mandan Symphony, the Kansas City Puccini Festival Orchestra, the Kansas City Civic Opera, and currently the Mississippi Valley Orchestra. He was a founding member of the Yurodivy String Quartet and served as a faculty member for the Kansas City String Quartet Seminar for a year. Even though Christian's musical roots lie in the canon of western Classical Music, he continues another tireless devotion to the music of living composers, the study of improvisation, and the music of Argentina and Cuba. ." He is also a founding member of Charanga Tropical, one of the only ensembles in the United States that is devoted to the performance of Cuba's Classical Music.

Christian's Photo


Scott's Bio

Scott Mateo Davies began studying guitar at age nine. Upon completing high school, he traveled extensively for four years, performing as a folk singer in diverse venues in London, Casablanca, Stockholm and New Delhi. After returning to Minneapolis, Davies founded the pop group "The Rogues", touring the Midwest for the next eleven years. While on the road, he began playing classical guitar. In 1982, Davies moved to Madrid where he began intensively studying flamenco guitar. Davies returns to Spain each year to perform and continue his studies. From 1986 to 1998 Davies was the featured guitarist and 'ud player for Voices of Sepharad, a musical group dedicated to performing the music and dance of Spanish Jewish culture. Scott became obsessed with tango after hearing a recording of Argentine composer and bandoneonist Astor Piazzolla. He recorded several Piazzolla compositions before joining Mandragora in 2004.

Scott's Photo


Rahn's Bio

Born and raised in central California, Rahn became a bass-playing musician at age 11, got his first music job in the local philharmonic at 16, and hasn't stopped ever since. He played in most of the symphony orchestras throughout central California, eventually becoming Principal Bass and Personnel Manager of the Fresno Philharmonic, as well as teaching bass at Fresno State University. He also spent several years playing with the National Chamber Orchestra and the National Symphony Orchestra of Mexico. Moving to Minnesota several years ago allowed Rahn to expand his musical horizons, where he joined several different kinds of groups, including a jazz big band, a rock band, and most recently, Mandragora Tango.

Rahn's Photo


Mandragora Tango will be performing at TANGO PARADISO on Saturday May 5, 2007. Taking place at Springstep, five minutes drive from Boston Downtown, with ample parking. For tickets and event details visit www.tangoparadiso.org



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