Albums like this testify that the genre of tango is far from exhausted. Two tracks, La Cumparsita and Milonga Sentimental, are old ladies in new gowns - and they are hard to recognize! The other seven are composed by Vayo Raimondo, the vocalist and the leader of the album. With his group of compatriot Uruguaians, he reminds us that tango is not a private possession of Buenos Aires, but belongs to the entire La Plata region.
Don't look here for Piazzolla's bitter nights. Vayo's tangos come from the sunlit terraces of Carlos Gardel and are as sweet and relaxing as a good siesta. You'll appreciate this music after a good meal with good wine. It is not for ballroom dancing - too slow and lazy, with occasional rubato.
The tunes are beautiful and memorable. My favorite is Daniela, track 4. Yes, the songs sound alike. But when you see a beautiful bouquet of roses, will you complain that the roses look the same? Probably not, because the bouquet is beautiful, and that's what you want. Here too, my first thought was: What, a whole disc of this? Yes, and it is a beautiful bouquet.
If you like his singing.
Vayo's voice is low. In contemporary popular music, the number of basses is lamentably small. Can you name a lot besides Leonard Cohen and Tom Waits? Even if you do, I bet you can name twenty times as many higher voices. Which is a pity, because the right low male voice can have great sensuality, it can resonate with the listener's soul on a subconscious level. Vayo's voice is not as smooth and powerful as that of an operatic bass. It can actually be quite unstable and wobbly sometimes, and yet seems to match the style of the songs perfectly. On the whole, I would say, the pros outweigh the cons, but if you can, listen before you buy - for example, to Ámame, track 6, where the voice is especially unsteady.
Interestingly, on an earlier recording "Tango Legends" (Pantaleon Pan-1001, 2006), which was nominated for a “Best Tango Album” Latin Grammy in 2007, Vayo's manner of singing is very different. His approach there is direct and dry, as if going back to the way they sang in the early years of tango. The voice is harder, with less vibrato, and somewhat bare. Vayo has issued a dozen albums already, being quite a famous tango vocalist. Unfortunately, I have not heard his other recordings, thus I cannot say whether this softening is only characteristic of his latest releases - but it's good that it came. Now his singing is relaxed. He takes time, bathes in long notes, and obviously enjoys the process. One could say it's quite a different voice from that on "Tango Legends":
deep, honey-hued, sensuous.
The accompaniment is mostly done by guitars and bandoneóns, which do a good job. But I was especially impressed by the double-bass of Miguel Pose, masterful and many-faced, gentle and profound. In a duet with Vayo's voice, it helps to form the foundation, over which the guitars and bandoneóns
fill the higher registers. The arrangement was apparently not
a trivial issue, in order to keep the balance and not let the
higher instruments eclipse the voice. In two of his compositions,
Vayo added the full drum-set to the arrangement. I am not sure
this decision was justified, since little else changed in the
style. So it's like adding a third leg to something that walked
quite well on two. It sounds weird. Still, the more experiments,
The recording is clear and well balanced, with good stereo surround sound. The voice is closer than the instruments, but not too much, allowing a hearty mingle. The guitars are recorded admirably. Texts of songs are not included.