Live reviews

The Gotan Project - De Montfort Hall, Leicester

The world has, justifiably, seen an explosion of world music. A now not so new phrase to describe music with a twist not so familiar to our tailored ears, world music instigates a reaction ranging from a hearty yawn to tears of affection.

I probably sit somewhere in the middle of these extremes and went to see The Gotan Project, aware of their ever growing reputation, at Leicester’s De Montfort Hall on a still April Tuesday evening. With an open mind, I thought to myself.

The atmosphere from when you walk into the Hall was distinctly Argentinean. Merchandise bristles with colour and style, with the more discerning, ‘Later with Jools’ addict milling around everywhere to be seen. One really knew what to expect just from hanging out in the reception area, soaking in the vibe.

However the band, or moreover, ‘project’ itself, do more to advance world music right now than anyone I can think of. The Gotan Project merge together acoustic instrumentation and voices with dub style programmed beats. The sound is earthy, mechanical, smooth, steamy, sensual, stylish and very bohemian all at the same time. Quite compelling.

Prisca Lobjoy provides the video images on constant show throughout the performance. Inevitably they add more Buenos Airies culture and colour to an already South Americana-Parisian experience. Hisorical images, Bohemia – all present and really add to the show. It should be clear by now this is not just a case of a band banging out its repertoire one by one. The gig is a real show – like an Art Gallery to music, or vice versa.

Featured instruments include guitar, accordion, violin and piano, although all probably have an exotic South American title. The vocals of Cristina Vilallonga are certainly very exotic; an Argentinean singer giving focus over the landscape provided by the music held together by the cool rhythms provided by programmers Phillipe Cohen Solal and Christopher H Muller, the former being a founder member along with Edourardo Makarof (in 1999) of the project.

The Gotan Project features a host of Argentinean musicians based in Paris. Interesting in itself – fellow countrymen and women away from their homeland. They are currently on a tour promoting their latest album ‘La Revancha Del Tango’. The show draws from other releases – from debut 10 inch (‘Ya Basta!), through ‘Last Tango in Paris’ to this latest offering.

At the end of the performance I was so glad to have taken in a slice of World Music. The phrase means even more now – like all genres, you just have to take a look, see what you like and then make it yours. That’s what I will do with Gotan Project.

Matty P

But on this occasion Atomicduster was able to get a second opinion, so take a look...

Well what an interesting evening! Enjoyed by a more than respectably sized crowd, many of whom had stayed on from the evenings earlier tango/soul dance experience.

The evenings main event the Gotan Project was a real treat, a superb mix of an Argentinian tango five-piece band, accordian, violin, guitar, piano, backed by dance beats provided by two DJs.

Visually stunning, for the first five numbers the band played from behind a screen covering the entire stage, upon which were projected various images synchronised to the tango beat, excellent!

Though the beats untimately tended to merge one interesting idea into another, modern dance swamping the classical tango infulence, it still created a pleasing sound to the ears even for the latin enthusiast.

Raj Turbo


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