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By Inger Gretasdatter published 19.10.2018 for Rana Blad

ENGLISH VERSION

RANA: Karl Espegard has worked with both KammeRana and NordlandTeater. Now he is performing at Smeltedigelen with the band El Muro Tango.

El Muro Tango is a Norwegian-Argentine tango band and has been touring the world since 2016.

Random choice
Karl Espegard, the violinist of the band, received his musical training from the Norwegian Academy of Music in Oslo. Six months after graduation, Espegard traveled to Rana to fulfil a one-year contract as a county musician in Rana municipality.
– This was completely by chance, since I have no connection to Northern Norway other than the fact that my mother lived in Finnsnes as a child, says Espegard.
He says that the year in Mo i Rana was a very positive experience, and he worked partly as a performing musician and partly as a music teacher at Rana Kulturskole.
– I worked a great deal with KammeRana and had a nice collaboration with Nordland Theater, and not least, I got to see the northern lights for the first time, he says.
– I had a lot of freedom to work creatively with different projects, and it was nice to travel around the county with KammeRana, says Espegard.
Since the age of 12-13 he has been a good friend of Alexander Rybak. They studied together at Barratt Due Institute of Music.
– I had a visit from Alexander when I lived at Mo, back then he was still quite unknown although he had won the Kjempesjansen competition at NRK (Norwegian Broadcasting Corporation) a year earlier. A few months after his visit to Mo, everything exploded and his career took off with a lightning speed, says Espegard.

To Smeltedigelen
He does not only play tango these days. Espegard is currently also playing in the musical Book of Mormon, and works with other artists such as Herborg Kråkevik and Ylvis.
– In November, El Muro Tango launches its first album, which we recorded for a German label last year, he says.
Now the band will embark on their first tour in Norway, and they will also appear in this year’s edition of Smeltedigelen Music Festival.
– El Muro Tango is a full-blooded tango band with both Norwegian and Argentine musicians, and neither of us lives in the same city. It becomes a bit project-based, but we have activity all year round, he says.
To Smeltedigelen, Espegard and the rest of the band are joined by Cyrena Drusine & Steinar Refsdal, with whom they performed in the finale of Norway’s Got Talent 2018.

Caption:
EL MURO TANGO: (FLTR) Juan Pablo de Lucca, Åsbjørg Ryeng,
Karl Espegard, Benjamin Groisman and Juan Villarreal will be serving
full-blooded tango at Smeltedigelen Musikkfestival. Photo: David Dollmann.

SPANISH VERSION

Volviendo a Rana con Tango.

RANA: Karl Espegard ha estado trabajando con KammeRana y NordlandTeater. Ahora se presentará en Smeltedegilen con su banda El Muro Tango.

El Muro Tango es un ensamble noruego-argentino que ha estado de gira por el mundo desde el 2016.

Karl Espegard, violinista de la banda, recibió su educación musical en la Academia de Música de Noruega, Oslo. Seis meses después de haber finalizado sus estudios, se mudó a Rana para trabajar durante un año como músico del condado en la municipalidad.

-Esto fue completamente aleatorio. Aparte de que mi madre haya vivido en Finnsnes de niña, no tengo ninguna conexión con el norte de Noruega, dice Karl Espegard.

Comenta que su año en Mo i Rana ha sido una experiencia positiva y que trabajó en parte como músico  y en parte como docente en Rana Kulturshole.

-Trabajé mayormente con la KammeRana y colaboré con el Nordland Theater. Y finalmente, pude ver las auroras boreales por primera vez, agrega.

-Tenía mucha libertad para trabajar creativemente en varios proyectos, y fue muy lindo poder viajar y conocer la zona con la KammeRana.

Desde los 12 años, Karl Espegard es amigo con Alexander Rybak. Juntos han estudiado en Barratt Due Institute of Music.

-Recibí una visita de Alexander mientras yo vivía en Mo. En ese entonces aún no era conocido, aunque ya hacía un año había ganado la competición de Kjempesjansen en NRK. Unos meses después de esta visita su carrera despegó a una velocidad impresionante, agrega Espegard.

A Smeltedigelen

Actualmente, no toca solamente tango. Espegard es parte del elenco del musical Book of Mormon y trabaja junto a otros artistas como Herborg Kråkevik and Ylvis.

– En Noviembre, El Muro Tango presenta su primer disco, grabado durante el año pasado para un sello alemán, nos comenta.

Ahora la banda se lanza en su primer gira por Noruega y aparecerán en la edición de este año del Smeltedigelen Music Festival.

– El Muro Tango es un ensamble de tango compuesto por músicos argentinos y noruegos. Vivimos todos en ciudades diferentes. El trabajo se basa en proyectos puntuales, pero tenemos actividad todo el año, dice.

En Smeltedigelen, Espegard y el resto de la banda serán acompañados por Cyrena Drusine & Steinar Refsdal, junto a quiénes se han presentado en la final de Norway’s Got Talent 2018.

El Muro Tango with guests at Gamle Raadhus Scene, photographed during a rehearsal. From left Åsbjørg Ryeng, Juan Pablo De Lucca, Martin Alvarado, Benjamin Groisman and Karl Espegard. Photo: Rune Hammerstad

By Claudio Castello 03.10.2018 for Utrop.no. Read original interview in Norwegian. Read Spanish translation.

Three years ago, tango musicians Karl Espegard, Åsbjørg Ryeng and Juan Pablo De Lucca met on the web. Three years later they appeare on the concert stage with the band El Muro Tango.

“We have been interviewed more often in Argentinian and German websites and media channels when we have had concerts abroad than in Norway,” says Espegard to Utrop.

“But we will now make a change to this,” he says confidently.

We meet the band when practicing in the glorious premises of Gamle Raadhus Scene, one of the oldest preserved houses from the 16th century Kristiania.

Karl, along with Åsbjørg Ryeng from Trondheim and Buenos Aires-born Juan Pablo De Lucca, are willingly posing for Utrop’s photographer, along with the invited guests Martin Alvarado and Benjamin Groisman, both Argentinian musicians living in Spain, who later that evening will participate in a concert of the band’s Norway tour.

Having been several times in Argentina and presented himself to tango communities there, in Norway and Europe, Espegard has learned Spanish with an impeccable Argentine accent.

“Che mirá (look here). Tango triste”, he says when we show him one of the pictures in black and white, and where the whole band looks very serious.

From internet chatting to the stage
The story of El Muro started when Drammen-born Espegard, who for years has developed a passion for Argentina and tango, along with bandoneonist Åsbjørg Ryeng became acquainted with Juan Pablo.

“Juan Pablo contacted Åsbjørg online, and she called me. Then we started talking together the three of us. I chatted with Juan Pablo, told him that I was a violinist and that I had been part of the Orquesta del Centenario tango ensemble. Juan Pablo lived at the time in Hamburg, but then came to live in Oslo from January to April 2017 and moved to Berlin in May. The idea of ​​a more solid partnership between the three of us started growing”.

Juan Pablo comes from a famous tango family in Buenos Aires, and looks at El Muro as a project that will take the tango to the people.

“I think we might have found each other, even without the internet. In the modern global world, life is more transnational and mobile than ever. The tango that my grandfather and many others from his generation performed in closed up houses in Buenos Aires has now reached all corners of the world.”

Hosted on Norway’s Got Talent
For over two years, Juan Pablo has commuted back and forth between Berlin and Oslo to meet Åsbjørg and Karl. Lately life has consisted of a lot of traveling and half-packed suitcases.

“We now realize that there is a lot of logistics and planning into managing a band, and that it is no side job,” explains Karl.

Fans of the TV show Norway’s Got Talent will remember the band, which performed with the dance duo Steinar Refsdal and Cyrena Drusine in the finale of the program.

“It was an adventure for us being on television for the first time. We have not been interviewed by any larger Norwegian publication, unlike in Argentina, where several journalists have talked to us. It is also natural that we get a special focus over there, as there are few Norwegian tango bands. We are a rarity and it creates additional interest.”

Special instrumentalist
Espegard is a violinist educated from Switzerland and from the Norwegian Academy of Music. Juan Pablo has a background as a pianist and composer. Together they brought with them the Trondheim girl Åsbjørg, who is one of the few experts on the bandoneon in the country. An instrument of German origin, but mostly connected with the tango, after German immigrants brought it to Argentina in the late 1800s.

“From the beginning, I was fascinated by the bandoneon, actually since I started at Trondheim Cultural School. I was taught by the bandoneon master Per Arne Glorvigen. I simply became a specialist”, she explains.

– What do you think of the tango interest in Norway?

“I find that there are many small concentrated communities and there is a latent interest. As a band, I feel that we should try to reach not only the enthusiasts, but also people who come from the outside and do not know the genre.”

Proudness that is carried on
Juan Pablo, on his part, feels proud to be able to take the music he was born and bred with into the big world.

“Folklore is something I consider a human activity that crosses ethnic and cultural borders. All people and all countries have their own kind of popular and original art expressions. I have listened to Norwegian folk music and recognize a lot of the same feeling as when I hear the raw urban tango from the 30’s and 40’s of my grandfather’s youth.

– Tango is in the same special situation as other Latin genres like Spanish flamenco and Portuguese fado. The genres have their core area, which is still the creation center, at the same time exporting themselves to the world.

Old and new tango
Espegard describes the style of El Muro Tango as follows:
“To us it is about showing power, visibility and strength. At the same time, the tango we make should not only be traditional. We do not go out of the way to make tango versions of current pop songs. Sometimes we may play some cumbia crossover if someone were to hire us for a wedding. Otherwise, we are a pure tango group, working on our own terms.”

Juan Pablo adds:

“The reason we play both old and new tango is because we like to be inspired by tradition, while we must have something original and relevant. In Argentina, tango is both; the old and the new exist together. We think of tango as contemporary art. That we make something alive, so that you do not have a museum feel, but that you listen to a popular artistic expression that lives in the present.”

FACTS

About tango
Tango is a dance and a music form that originated in Buenos Aires in Argentina and Montevideo in Uruguay in the late 1800s. The countries have long struggled for the birthplace of the tango, but settled the disagreement in 2008. The following year they jointly applied the UNESCO for the dance to be defined as part of the World Heritage.

Here at home, Norwegian tango musicians have won international recognition, with people like Per Arne Glorvigen and Sverre Indris Joner from the orchestra Tango for 3 and Electrocutango, among the most famous.

Other Norwegian tango ensembles are the quintets (Piazzolla Quintets) Tango Concertino (dissolved in 2010) and Quinteto Nidaros and a “Orquesta Típica”; Tangueros del Norte, all founded by bandoneonist Kåre Jostein Simonsen.

(Source: wikipedia.no)

SPANISH VERSION

Hace dos años, los músicos Karl Espegard, Åsbjørg Ryeng y Juan Pablo de Lucca se encontraron en Internet. Dos años más tarde aparecen en concierto con El Muro Tango.

“Fuimos entrevistados más en Argentina y Alemania cada vez que tocamos en esos países que en Noruega,” comenta Espegard a Utrop. “Pero esto va a cambiar,” dice confiadamente.

Nos encontramos con la banda mientras ensayaba en las gloriosas instalaciones de Gamle Raadhus Scene, una de las más antiguas salas de concierto que se conservan de la Kristiana del siglo XVI.

Karl, junto a Åsbjørg Ryeng de Trondheim y a Juan Pablo de Lucca de Buenos Aires, posan para el fotógrafo de Utrop, junto a los músicos invitados para este concierto Martín Alvarado y Benjamín Groisman, ambos oriundos de Argentina.

Habiendo estado repetidas veces en Argentina y, tras presentarse en las comunidades de tango de Noruega y Europa, Karl habla español con un impecable acento argentino.

“Che, mirá. Un tango triste”, dice cuando le mostramos uno de los retratos de la banda en blanco y negro donde todos los miembros lucen muy serios.

De chatear en Internet a los escenarios

La historia de El Muro Tango comenzó cuando Karl Espegard, oriundo de Drammen que durante años había desarrollado una pasión por Argentina y el tango, se conoce con Åsbjørg Ryeng y Juan Pablo.

“Juan Pablo contactó a Åsbjørg online y ella me llamó a mí. Luego comenzamos a hablar los tres. Le comenté a Juan Pablo que tocaba el violín y que había sido parte de la Orquesta del Centenario. Juan Pablo estaba parando en Hamburgo por entonces y se vino a Oslo de enero a abril del 2017. Luego, en mayo, se mudó a Berlín. La idea de armar una sociedad más sólida empezó a gestarse”.

Juan Pablo viene de una familia tanguera de Buenos Aires, y ve a El Muro Tango como el proyecto con el cuál puede acercar el tango a la gente.

“Pienso que nos habríamos encontrado, aún sin Internet. En el mundo moderno y global, la vida es más trasladable y móvil que nunca antes. El tango que mi abuelo y muchos otros tocaban en las salas de Buenos Aires llegó ahora a todos los rincones del mundo.

Participando en Noruega Tiene Talento

Durante los último dos años, Juan Pablo ha estado desplazándose entre Berlín y Oslo para encontrarse con Åsbjørg y Karl. Últimamente, la vida tiene mucho de viajes y valijas a medio hacer.

“Ahora nos damos cuenta que hay mucho de logística y planeamiento en manejar una banda, y no es una tarea menor”, explica Karl.

Los fans del show de TV Noruega Tiene Talento recordarán a la banda por su participación en la final de la competición junto a la pareja de baile Steinar Refsdal y Cyrena Drusine.

“Fue una aventura para nosotros estar en televisión por primera vez. En Noruega nunca habíamos sido entrevistados por ningún medio mayor, a diferencia de Argentina. También puede ser natural que se nos ponga el foco ahí ya que hay pocas bandas de tango noruegas. Somos una rareza y eso crea un interés adicional.

Una instrumentista especial

Espegard en un violinista educado en Suiza y en la Academia Noruega de Música. Juan Pablo recibió una formación como pianista y compositor. Juntos trajeron consigo a la joven de Trondheim Åsbjørg, quien es una de las expertas del bandoneón en Noruega. El instrumento de origen alemán llegó al tango cuando los inmigrantes alemanes lo llevaron a Argentina a finales del 1800.

“Desde el principio me sentí fascinada por el bandoneón, desde que lo comencé a tocar en la Escuela de Artes de Trondheim. Mi maestro fue Per Arne Glorvigen. Me dediqué a estudiar el instrumento hasta especializarme”, explica Åsbjørg.

-¿Qué pensás del interés que hay por el tango en Noruega?

“ Encuentro que hay muchas pequeñas comunidades y que hay un interés latente. Como banda, pienso que tenemos que tratar de acercar esta música no solo a los entusiastas del tango, sino también al público que viene de otros géneros”.

Orgullo que se pasa de generación en generación

Por su parte, Juan Pablo se siente orgulloso de poder llevar la música con la que creció a todo el mundo.

“Considero el folklore como una actividad humanada que atraviesa las etnias y los límites culturales. Todos los pueblos tienen sus expresiones artísticas populares. Escuché el folklore noruego y reconozco muchos de los sentimientos y emociones que percibo al escuchar tango del 30 y del 40, de la generación de mi abuelo.

El tango comparte un lugar de privilegio junto a otros géneros latinos como el flamenco español y el fado portugués. Estos géneros tienen todavía su epicentro creativo su lugar de origen y al mismo tiempo se exportan al mundo.

Viejo y nuevo tango

Espegard describe el estilo de El Muro Tango de la siguiente manera:

“Para nosotros se trata de mostrar solidez y potencia. Al mismo tiempo, el tango que hacemos no tiene por qué ser solamente tradicional. No vamos tan lejos como para hacer versiones en tango de canciones pop. Podemos tocar otros ritmos si estamos tocando en algún evento. De lo contrario, somos un grupo dedicado al tango, trabajando en nuestros propios términos.”

Y Juan Pablo agrega:

“La razón por la que tocamos tango tradicional y nuevo es porque buscamos estar inspirados por el tango clásico y al mismo tiempo tener algo original y relevante para decir hoy. En Argentina el tango es ambos; lo nuevo y lo viejo coexisten. Pensamos al tango como una expresión contemporánea. Buscamos crear algo vivo, que no sea una pieza de museo y que se preciba una expresión artística popular que vive en el presente”.

DATOS

Acerca del tango

El tango es una danza y una música originada en Buenos Aires, Argentina y Montevideo, Uruguay, a fines del 1800. Ambos países se han disputado el lugar de nacimiento del género pero esta disputa fue resuelta en 2008. Al año siguiente, aplicaron en colaboración a la UNESCO para que el tango sea considerado Patrimonio de la Humanidad.

Los músicos noruegos de tango se han ganado un merecido reconocimiento internacional. Entre los más famosos se encuentran Per Arne Glorvigen y Sverre Indris Joner de la orquesta Tango for 3 y Electrocutango.

Otros ensambles de tango noruego son los quintetos Tango Concertino (disuelto en 2010) y el Quitneto Nidaros. También la Orquesta Típica Tangueros del Norte. Todos estos grupos fueron fundados por el bandoneonista Kåre Jostein Simonsen.

(Source: wikipedia.no)

It is summer in Buenos Aires, blue sky and 30º, and we are a week into our first tour in Argentina! So far, we have performed in Salón Canning, finishing the night with a spectacular performance alongside the dance couple Johanna Copes and Leonardo Sardella. The week followed by a beautiful evening at Chau Ché Clú milonga and an appearance as guest artists at Nidia´s concert series in Borges 1975.

On April 6th we have the pleasure to be playing in Usina del Arte alongside Juan Villarreal and special guests Shirlene Oliveira, Chino Laborde and Tumbalatá candombe ensemble. Last but not least, we will spend a week touring Patagonia playing in Bolsón, Bariloche, Esquel, Maitén and Epuyén.

Keep updated about our tour schedule through our Facebook page. Looking forward to see you!

Read the original article in Norwegian.

In March they are playing in Buenos Aires. Saturday, June 9, El Muro comes to Bøvær and Kråkeslottfestivalen, in an all-encompassing show with instrumentalists of international class, tango dancers in the top elite, and last but not least the Argentinian star vocalist Juan Villarreal.

“It’s truly world-class what we see here today.”

The judges of Norway’s Got Talent were ecstatic about the tango dancers Steinar Refsdal and Cyrena Drusine. At Kråkeslottfestivalen 2018, the two join forces with the Norwegian-Argentinian tango ensemble El Muro to a blazing show of Latin American passion.

El Muro is as exotic as a Norwegian-Argentinian tango ensemble based in Berlin. For this summers tour they have brought with them Argentine singer Juan Villareal from Buenos Aires. Here we not only get served the music, but also the lyrics; – the strong emotions, the drama, the tenderness, the unresolved love, the longing. Which then is interpreted by Steinar and Cyrena through the dance, so close to the audience that one has to take extra care not to be hit as a spike heel sweeps on by.

Kråkeslottet (The Crow Castle) has a tradition for dance – and tango in particular. One of the musicians in El Muro, trønderpia Åsbjørg Ryeng on the bandoneon, has participated in the tango project Glød, which had its premiere at Kråkeslottet. We can now already reveal that on The Night of The Dance on Saturday, where we all can let ourselves loose, there will be amazing music and it will be Latin. Including tango. We are not revealing anything more now. But just check your wardrobe to see if you can live up to the music – and the dance … The ticket sale starts Thursday 15 March at 6:00 p.m.

El Muro
Åsbjørg Ryeng – bandoneón
Juan Pablo de Lucca – piano
Karl Espegard – violin
Sebastian Noya – double bass
Juan Villarreal – voice

Cyrena & Steinar performing with El Muro at the National Museum’s Christmas party in December 2017. Photo: Frode Larsen

On Friday 12th of January at 8pm the dancers Cyrena and Steinar will perform on the Norwegian TV show Norske Talenter (Norway’s Got Talent) on TV2. There they will compete with different artists and performers to win the hearts of the norwegian people.

We are happy to announce that they will be dancing to recordings from our upcoming album. We wish them the best of luck!

UPDATE: Here is a link to their smashing performance http://www.tv2.no/v/1277057/

We in El Muro want to thank our friends, fans and collaborators for the wonderful year we have shared together! We have fulfilled many of our goals and dreams for this year, none of which would have been possible without the support and hospitality of the many friends and collaborators across the continent! Thanks for opening your hearts to us ❤️

To Ulf in Flensburg, Mona, Henning, Lilia, Masha, Hagen, Thomas, Jens-Christian, Sven, Pedram and Anna in Berlin, Daniel, Christiane, Ilias, Tante Emma and the rest of the gang in Hamburg, Mileva, Martin and Carlo in Bern, Erlend, Jon Martin, Claudio and our champion Ricardo in Drammen, Lia in Malmö, Corine in Amsterdam, Martin and Audrey in London, Juan, Guiseppe, Jose and Gianni in Ticino/Castellanza, Gjøril, Fredrik, Susanne, Jarle, Ina, Ramón, Nili, Patricio, Fernando, Robert, Thomas, Lie, Chris, Eysteinn, Cyrena, Steinar, Violeta, Åsmund and many many more in Oslo, Arild, Hjard in Trondheim, Amund in Hadeland, Anders in Copenhagen, Halldor and the wonderful students in Lillehammer… Sebastian Noya and Juan Villarreal for your musicianship and friendship!

Merry Christmas to you all!!

Yesterday we spent the afternoon in Lillehammer with teachers and students at the Norwegian Film School, filming 4 different songs with a full-scale TV production crew. The amount of dedication and preparation they had put in it this was astonishing! The students spent weeks in studying the scores and planning all the different shots. They had even built a set inspired by an argentine café, displaying our band name in big letters on the wall. Only thing missing was a mate and some medialunas! Thanks to Halldor Krogh for the opportunity, we are very excited to see the final results within the next couple of weeks.

In September 2017, El Muro will be going on a tour that will include theatres and milongas of Norway, Germany and Netherlands. We will be sharing these concerts with Argentine musicians Juan Villarreal (Orquesta El Arranque) and Sebastián Noya (Amores Tangos) and dancers Cyrena Drusine & Steinar Refsdal (www.cstango.com). In addition, the repertoire we will be playing will be recorded at the end of September at Urban Studios, Oslo. For more news and updates, follows us on our Facebook page!

 

It’s here!! This summer we finally recorded our first music video with in collaboration cinematographer Åsmund Hasli and dancers Cyrena Drusine and Steinar Refsdal. The location was Sinsen T-bane (metro station) in Oslo, which has a beautiful display of sunlight falling down through colored glasses in the ceiling. This gave away for some amazing colors in the background. We are very thankful to Åsmund, who has done a tremendous job filming and editing the video. If you want to see more of his brilliant work, check out http://www.asmundhasli.com/.

The audio is recorded at Urban Sound Studios in Oslo with sound engineer Thomas Wang.

El Muro is proud to present their first tango party, cohosted with Robert Åkerberg on Saturday 27th of May. The event will take place at the new venue of Café Mestizo (Festsalen), situated in the center of Oslo near Rockefeller. No less than three Argentine tango bands will be performing at the event, two of them currently touring Europe. During the night there will be served a light meal of tasty Italian streetfood brought to you by SAAL Foodtruck. Prior to the event there will be given tango classes free of charge, further info will come soon.

Duo Villarreal Crom is on their 8th trip to Europe, giving concerts in Italy, Germany, Spain, Switzerland and Norway. The duo consists of Juan Villarreal, currently the lead singer of the renowned Orquesta el Arranque, and the guitarist Patricio Noé Crom. Together they have recorded two studio albums which are readily available on social platforms as well as iTunes and Spotify.
Video: https://youtu.be/QKVMvBgyBpY

Members of the Oslo tango community will be pleased to once again receive Orquesta del Centenario, who gave a concert at Cosmopolite in September last year during their Europe Tour 2016. This time they come as a quartet, bringing the singer Santiago Federico and the Norwegian violinist Miriam Heen Skotland on their 3rd annual trip to Europe.
Video: https://youtu.be/tL1QWE0Z-6k

Facebook event: https://www.facebook.com/events/434227603621447
Date: Saturday 27th of May, 20.00 hs
Address: Møllergata 37, 0176 Oslo
Entrance: 250,–/150,– (student)
Buy ticket: https://tikkio.com/tickets/2758-el-muro-tango-fiesta-no-1