The orchestra that was named “Best Tango Orchestra” at the 1st ever Premios Tangos (the tango Academy Awards) last March will appear in Philadelphia for one night only on Wednesday, March 6, as part of their first U.S-Canada tour. Founded in Buenos Aires in 2012, La Juan D’Arienzo is an orquesta típica, meaning that they use the traditional instrumentation from tango’s “Golden Age” (the 1930s through 1950s): four bandoneons, four violins, double bass, piano, and singer.
This constellation of musicians is very rare today, especially outside of Argentina, and this will be the first time a tango orquesta típica has performed in Philadelphia for tango dancers.
La Juan D’Arienzo is led by bandoneonist Facundo Lazzari, who provides a direct link to the Golden Age tango orchestra from which the band derives its name. Facundo’s grandfather Carlos was lead bandoneonist in the original orchestra of Juan D’Arienzo, which performed from 1935 to 1975, and was arguably the most popular and danceable tango orchestra in history. D’Arienzo himself was called “el rey del compás”—the king of rhythm—and was and remains beloved by tango dancers. His recordings are still played daily at milongas (tango dances) worldwide, and are probably heard more often than those of any other tango orchestra.
La Juan D’Arienzo orchestra recreates the rhythm, energy, and playfulness of its namesake orchestra, and benefits from using some of the same musical arrangements, which have been passed down to Lazzari from his grandfather. An accomplished tango singer, Fernando Rodas, will be performing with La Juan D’Arienzo throughout this tour.
Over the past seven years, La Juan D’Arienzo has exploded onto the tango scene, and enjoyed spectacular popularity and success worldwide. Since 2013, they have toured extensively throughout Argentina, including playing at the Buenos Aires Tango Festival.
Since 2014, they have toured yearly in Europe, playing at many major tango festivals. They have also completed two major tours in Asia. The band is preparing for their first U.S.-Canada tour, which will include 18 events in 13 cities between February 23 and March 24, 2019. They have recorded three albums: Cortando Clavos (2015), Siciliano (2016), and Bienvenido a este Sector (2018).
La Juan D’Arienzo will appear at the Lithuanian Music Hall Association (2715 E. Allegheny Ave, Philadelphia, PA 19134) in Philadelphia on Wednesday, March 6. The event host, Meredith Klein, Director of the Philadelphia Argentine Tango School, is also program host of the show “Tango Stories” on USALA Radio. The event will begin at 6:30 pm with the live taping (open to the public) of a Tango Stories show, an interview with the band members, conducted by Meredith Klein and USALA Program Director, Fernando Mendez.
The night continues with a tango musicality workshop at 7:30 pm, open to all levels (including absolute beginners), taught by the orchestra. From 8:30 pm to 1 am, the main event takes place: a milonga (tango social dance) featuring two live music sets of 45 minutes each by La Juan D’Arienzo. In between sets of live music, DJ Mario Giattino (Italy) will keep everyone out on the dance floor. Even though it’s a Wednesday night, tango lovers are coming from New York, Washington, and other cities for this event.
This event is open to dancers and non-dancers alike. There is copious seating in the 5,500 square foot ballroom of the Lithuanian Music Hall Association, and music lovers will find plenty to enjoy during the evening, even if they do not (yet) dance tango. Tangointerested beginners who want to get a head start could consider attending our drop-in beginner classes on Thursdays at 7 pm. The cost is $10 and new students are welcome every week! Details are here: https://www.philadelphiatangoschool.com/beginner.
The Philadelphia Argentine Tango School (PATS), which is sponsoring and organizing this event, recently celebrated its 11-year anniversary. In addition to offering group and private lessons, PATS offers weekly milongas in our own studio in Fishtown, monthly milongas at beautiful off-site locations, performances, talks on tango history, and other special events. PATS has organized or participated in events at almost every major landmark in Philadelphia: the Barnes Foundation, Philadelphia Museum of Art, LOVE Park, the Union League, the Swann Memorial Fountain, City Hall, and the Kimmel Center, among many others. A standout highlight was performing (along with 26 tango students) at Independence Hall during the World Meeting of Families (2015), shortly before Pope Francis took the stage to give his speech on immigration and multiculturalism.
PATS has established itself as one of the most prolific tango music presenters in the United States. It has presented Latin Grammy award winner, the Pedro Giraudo Tango Orchestra, and Latin Grammy nominees like Tanghetto. PATS has also presented: El Cachivache, the Alejandro Ziegler Tango Quartet, Trio de La Plata with vocalist Theresia Thylin (multiple times), Emiliano Messiez Tango Trio and Quartet (more than 10 times!), and three concerts by pianist Mariano Castro.