National Tour/Nightclub Review: MARÍA VOLONTÉ (Blue Tango National Tour)

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by Tony Frankel on February 25, 2012

in Theater-San Francisco / Bay Area,Tours

THE DARK STREETS OF PASSION

The voluptuous Argentine singer María Volonté glided elegantly onto the stage at The Rrazz Room, caressed her guitar as with a lover, and had me at, “Are you ready to be dragged into the world of passion?” Music historians may debate the origins of tango music, but no one will argue that Senora Volonté has transformed this musical aphrodisiac into a wholly original blend of folk, blues and the traditional music of her homeland. Luckily, her authoritative, revitalizing interpretation of tango is currently touring North America under the banner of Blue Tango.

She may be a porteña (someone from Buenos Aires), but Volonté, as with the music she composes, is adventurous, traversing the planet year-round, spreading an infectious joie de vivre  with her self-titled “World Tango Fusion” music. Unplugged, immodest and brimming with sensuality, this composer not only conforms well to an elegant nightclub, but would fit in at a coffeehouse, concert hall or county fair.

Volonté is joined by Oakland-based harmonica player and co-singer Kevin Carrell Footer, whose expressiveness made the blues-infused compositions all the more soulful. Other great musicians join Volonté here and there, but we were treated to a sophisticated mature couple dancing on stage during “Tango Califia.”

Her songs are soothing yet invigorating and the entire set is sung in Spanish. In between, however, English is spoken with poetic ardor for her homeland and worlds beyond. Some singers prattle incoherently between songs, others overstate their agenda in a self-congratulatory manner and even more simply stand mute. Volonté creates a context for her set with playful, seductive and charming philosophies, such as, “When you are surrounded by nature, everything becomes more intense.”

Originally longing for some songs in English, I found myself quickly settling in with the beautiful lyricism of the Spanish language, craving more as the set moved along. Take the lyrics to “El Beso Azul”:

Por más que cierro los ojos
Oigo tu voz que me llama
Se cuela por la ventana
Se burla de los cerrojos
Va por la casa a su antojo
Desordenando el olvido
Como un viento enfurecido
que cambia todo a su paso
Haciendo sangrar el tajo
De tu recuerdo dormido

These lyrics have a musical language of their own and certainly sound better than the translation:

“As much as I close my eyes,I hear your voice calling me
Straining at the window,
mocking the locks around the house at will
Disordering oblivion like a raging wind that changes everything in its path
Making the cut bleed from your sleeping memory”

Volonté alternates between sostenuto and a quavering vibrato in her haunting “El Camino es mi Casa” (co-composed with Mr. Footer). “Blues de Rio Lento” had a bluesy jocularity while another was about Cuban brothels (there was no song list for the event), but all of the songs had a calming spirituality to them.

Near the end of the set, the humble María stated that “It’s more important to do it, than do it perfectly.” Considering she impeccably comprehends the earthy and mournful connection between tango and the blues, I’d say she does both.

María Volonté: Blue Tango Tour
Rrazz Room in San Francisco (San Francisco Theater-Tours)

played February 6

National Tour
scheduled to end on May 17
for tour dates and tickets, visit http://www.mariavolonte.com

 

{ 1 comment }

Brian February 26, 2012 at 8:10 am

Maria Volonte is muy fantastico!

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