Monthly Archives: April 2012

Tango a la Loca


Continuing with the series of tangos, this piece features Juan D’Arienzo and his Orchestra playing “Loca” from a 1970’s Argentinian TV program. Together with superb dancing and great photography by Graciela Pierre (see credits) this production came together smoothly. The challenge was to synchronize the music (re-sampled) with the video portions and the dance. After a few failures and out of sync renderings, it all came together. I’ve tried to construct this piece in the same style of the band beat leading the dancers and using the power of the 2-4 beat to accentuate and cut the scenes.
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Juan D’Arienzo is known as “El Rey del Compás” (King of the Beat). Departing from other orchestras of the golden age, D’Arienzo returned to the 2-4 feel that characterized music of the old guard, but he used more modern arrangements and instrumentation. His popular group produced hundreds of recordings.

In 1949 D’Arienzo said: “From my point of view, tango is, above all, rhythm, nerve, strength and character. Early tango, that of the old stream (guardia vieja), had all that, and we must try not to ever lose it. Because we forgot that, Argentine tango entered into a crisis some years ago. Putting aside modesty, I did all was possible to make it reappear. Furthermore, I tried to rescue for tango music its masculine strength, which it had been losing through successive circumstances. In that way in my interpretations I stamped the rhythm, the nerve, the strength and the character which distinguished it in the music world and which it had been losing for the above reasons. Luckily, that crisis was temporary, and today tango has been re-established, our tango, with the vitality of its best times. My major pride is to have contributed to that renaissance of our popular music.”

D’Arienzo, at the end of his career, dug-in his own style; of course, without knowing it and without even thinking of it. People saw him making faces in front of the musicians and the singers; they saw him with fondness, there was something of nostalgia and something of mockery. Of course, the orchestra beat was leading the dancers’ feet. And the dancers’ feet still follow the beat when D’Arienzo´s records are played back and his figure keeps on raising a great fondness.
(Some excerpts from TodoTango.com; Wikipedia.com)

I hope you enjoy my interpretation of the “King of the Beat” and his band playing “Loca”.
Leo

New York Faces 1940 – ’50s


Fascinated by the candid photographs taken by Vivian Maier during the ’50s that were discovered in Chicago lately, I decided to make a go on a new (oldie) NYC video. As with other of my New York City oldies, I used public domain footage from Archive.org featuring the Third Avenue Elevated, torn down in the mid 50’s.

The initial concept was to make it be a ride through the city from Lower East Side to the end of the elevated railway in the Bronx, while showing people and their ethnic backgrounds as we moved on. A concept is great, but in reality it was hard to pull it off, since I lacked certain type of photographs to “paint” the story. Regardless, I thought that in the end, it represented accurately the time and space of those neighborhoods and their people. (Your comments are welcome)

Because jazz in my opinion is the music that best suits NYC in the 50’s I used “Hey Now” performed by Red Garland released on “Red Garland Revisited!” (Prestige Records, 1957).
Red Garland – Piano; Paul Chambers – Bass; Art Taylor – Drums; Kenny Burrell – Guitar.

Mixing small format film with all format stills and some digital paintings of mine was a real challenge in the making of this production. After many missteps and redoes, I finally found the combination to make it work best. (Note to myself – Do not try this type of mix and match formats too often, it takes gobs of time to assemble, render properly and sync) 😦

Enjoy the railway ride as we travel through the neighborhoods of NYC,

Leo


Ah, the colors! The intensity, the food, the people…

Jane Lurie Photography

Here is a bit of color to brighten your day. La Boca is a vibrant neighborhood in Buenos Aires filled with colorful houses and restaurants. Tango dancers entertained and cafe owners beckoned as we strolled the streets taking in the whirl of colors and sights.

The bold architecture with its mix of striking colors and lines was the focus of my camera that day. Oh, and of course the gorgeous tango dancers!

 

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