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Published by Sigbjørn Apeland on June 21, 2019 in Dag og Tid

ENGLISH

Argentine-Norwegian tango art

El Muro Tango is characterized by control and precision in all details, the sound is clear and appealing.

This is the first album of the tango band El Muro Tango, which is composed by pianist Juan Pablo de Lucca, violinist Karl Espegard, Åsbjørg Ryeng on bandoneon and Sebastian Noya on double bass. In addition, several guests participate, with the singer and guitarist Juan Villarreal at the forefront. It is thus about Norwegian and Argentine musicians who cultivate classic tango in South American style.

COMPREHENSIVE TOUR

This album is not a fast-paced project. To prepare, the musicians have had an extensive tour schedule in South America and several European countries. In addition, the record is released on a German label, so this is in every way an international project.

CONTROLLED

Tango has its historical background from the lower working class in Argentina and Uruguay, but has since spread to much of the world – as music, dance style and song poetry. In our time, tango is unlikely to be characterized as popular, but is cultivated as an art form alongside all others, with experts, institutions and a high degree of professionalism.

El Muro Tango is a typical example of this: the music is characterized by control and precision in all details, the sound is clear and appealing. Dramatic feelings are known as a characteristic of tango, and they are to a high degree present in this production, but it is like on film or in a theater production: What we see/hear, is rarely spontaneous, but controlled and carefully planned. This interpretation is not meant to be diminishing, but to underline how strong the feelings and spontaneity can be fixed in an established aesthetic form and still seem credible.

NORWEGIAN

Norsk-argentinsk tangokunst

El Muro Tango er prega av kontroll og presisjon i alle detaljar, lydbiletet er klårt og tiltalande.

Dette er den første plata til tangobandet El Muro Tango, som er samansett av pianist Juan Pablo de Lucca, fiolinist Karl Espegard, Åsbjørg Ryeng på bandoneon og Sebastian Noya på kontrabass. Dessutan medverkar fleire gjester, med songaren og gitaristen Juan Villareal i spissen. Det er altså tale om norske og argentinske musikarar som dyrkar klassisk tango i søramerikansk stil.

OMFATTANDE TURNÉ

Denne plata er ikkje noko forhasta prosjekt: I førekant har musikarane hatt omfattande turnéverksemd i Sør-Amerika og fleire europeiske land. Plata kjem dessutan ut på eit tysk plateselskap, så dette er på alle måtar eit internasjonalt prosjekt.

KONTROLLERT

Tango har sin historiske bakgrunn frå mindre pengesterke samfunnslag i Argentina og Uruguay, men har sidan spreidd seg til store delar av verda – både som musikk, dansestil og songlyrikk. I vår tid kan neppe tangoen seiast å vera folkeleg, men vert dyrka som ei kunstform på linje med alle andre, med ekspertar, institusjonar og høg grad av profesjonalitet.

El Muro Tango er såleis eit typisk døme på dette: Musikken er prega av kontroll og presisjon i alle detaljar, lydbiletet er klårt og tiltalande. Dramatiske kjensleuttrykk er rekna som eit kjenneteikn ved tangoen, og dei er i høg grad til stades på denne produksjonen, men det er som på film eller i ei teaterframsyning: Det me ser/høyrer, er sjeldan spontant, men kontrollert og nøye planlagt. Denne fortolkinga er ikkje meint som forkleining, men ei påpeiking av korleis sterke kjensler og spontanitet kan fikserast i ei etablert estetisk form og likevel verka truverdige.

SPANISH

Arte de tango argentino-noruego

El Muro Tango se caracteriza por el control y la precisión en todos los detalles, el sonido es claro y atractivo.

Este es el primer álbum de la banda de tango El Muro Tango, que está compuesta por el pianista Juan Pablo de Lucca, el violinista Karl Espegard, Åsbjørg Ryeng en bandoneón y Sebastian Noya en contrabajo. Además, participan varios invitados, con el cantante y guitarrista Juan Villarreal al frente. Por lo tanto, se trata de músicos noruegos y argentinos que cultivan el tango clásico al estilo sudamericano.

TOUR INTEGRAL

Este álbum no es un proyecto precipitado. Para prepararse, los músicos han tenido un extenso programa de giras en América del Sur y varios países europeos. Además, el registro se publica en un sello alemán, por lo que este es un proyecto internacional en todos los aspectos.

REVISADO

El tango tiene sus antecedentes históricos en la clase obrera más baja en Argentina y Uruguay, pero desde entonces se ha extendido a gran parte del mundo, como música, estilo de baile y poesía. En nuestra época, es poco probable que el tango se caracterice como popular, pero se cultiva como una forma de arte como todas los demás, con expertos, instituciones y un alto grado de profesionalismo.

El Muro Tango es un ejemplo típico de esto: la música se caracteriza por el control y la precisión en todos los detalles, el sonido es claro y atractivo. Los sentimientos dramáticos son conocidos como una característica del tango, y están muy presentes en esta producción, pero es como en una película o una producción teatral: lo que vemos / oímos, rara vez es espontáneo, sino que es controlado y cuidadosamente planificado. Esta interpretación no pretende disminuir, sino subrayar cuán fuertes son los sentimientos y la espontaneidad que pueden fijarse en una forma estética establecida y aún así parecer creíbles.

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Published by Magnus Lindahl on May 23, 2019 in Hallingdølen

ENGLISH

A rare dose of passion

The festival opened in Sorenskrivargarden

With passion and soul, Karl Espegard and El Muro Tango brought excitement at the opening of Festspillene i Nesbyen.

And it was a different musical opening at this year’s festival. In the 31 years of the festival’s existence, there has been little South American music on the program. But Tuesday night, after the official opening had taken place in Galleri Nystugu with an art exhibition by Kristian Finborud, the cultural week commenced with tango rhythms.

Band to Nes
And it was a big hit. From the first tone, the internationally acclaimed group with members from Argentina, Norway, and Estonia excited the audience in Sorenskrivargarden: The concert lasted for a bit over an hour. And as one member of the audience said right after the concert:
– There has never been so much passion in Sorenskrivargarden.
– A unique experience, says Karl Espegard.
He is the main reason why El Muro Tango played in Nesbyen. Because here he lived for one year when he was around ten-eleven. And here his mother grew up and here his grandparents spent all their lives. With family members in the audience, it was a special evening also for the violinist.
– Very nice. And I’m glad so many people came.

Around the world
El Muro Tango was formed in 2016. Since then, they have toured the world and for the Norwegian audience, the group is also known from Norwegian Television (TV2). In the program «Norwegian Talents» in 2018, they played in the finale. On Tuesday, they brought Juan Villarreal, one of the leading tango singers in Argentina. Espegard started playing music when he was eight years old. Now he is a professional musician, who in addition to El Muro Tango has played in the musical «The Book of Mormon» at The Norwegian Theater for the last two years. The group came to Nesbyen from concerts in Berlin, Innsbruck, and Oslo earlier in May. Saturday they go on the stage in Naples before continuing to Turin and Milan. On June 1st they play in Zurich.
– In 2018, we played 60 concerts. This year we play a little less, says Espegard, who was happy to introduce a new musical genre to the festival.
– Tango is not so common in Norway, but it has gained more and more popularity.

NORWEGIAN

Sjeldan dose av lidenskap

Festspillene opna i Sorenskrivargarden

Med lidenskap og sjel begeistra Karl Espegard og El Muro Tango då Festspillene i Nesbyen vart opna.

Og det vart ei annleis musikalsk opning på årets festspel. I dei 31 åra festspela har eksistert har det vore lite søramerikansk musikk på programmet. Men tysdag kveld, etter at den offisielle opninga hadde vore i Galleri Nystugu med kunstutstilling av Kristian Finborud, var det tango- rytmar som drog i gang kulturveka.

Band til Nes
Og det vart full klaff. Frå første tone begeistra den internasjonalt anerkjende gruppa med medlemmer frå Argentina, Norge og Estland publikummet i Sorenskrivargarden: Konserten vara i overkant av ein time. Og som ein av tilhøyrarane sa det rett etter konsertslutt:
– Så mykje lidenskap har det aldri vore i Sorenskrivargarden.
– Ei spesiell oppleving, seier Karl Espegard.
Det er han som er hovudgrunnen til at El Muro Tango spelte i Nesbyen. For her budde han i eitt år då han var ti-elleve år. Og her voks mor hans opp og her budde besteforeldra så lengde dei levde. Med familie på plass i salen, vart det ein spesiell kveld også for fiolinisten.
– Veldig artig. Og eg er glad for at så mange kom.

Verda rundt
El Muro Tango vart danna i 2016. Etter det har dei turnert verda over, og for det norske publikummet er gruppa også kjend frå TV2. I programmet «Norske Talenter» i 2018 spelte dei i finalen. Tysdag hadde dei med seg Juan Villarreal som er rekna som ein dei fremste tangosongarane i Argentina. Espegard begynte med musikk då han var åtte år. No er han profesjonell musikar, som ved sida av El Muro Tango har spelt i det store oppsetjinga «The Book of Mormon» på Det Norske Teatret dei siste to åra. Til Nesbyen kom gruppa frå konsertar i Berlin, Innsbruck og Oslo tidlegare i mai. Laurdag står dei på scena i Napoli før turen går til Torino og Milano. I Zürich speler dei 1. juni.
– I 2018 spelte me 60 konsertar. Det blir noko mindre i år, seier Espegard, som var glad for å introdusere ein ny musikksjanger i festspela.
– Tangoen er ikkje så vanleg i Norge, men den har vorte meir og meir utbreidd.

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Published Dec 17, 2018 in Vårt Land

ENGLISH

Great emotions
El Muro Tango & Juan Villarreal
Nostálgico
Galileo

TANGO: The Norwegian-Argentine tango band El Muro Tango released their debut album «Nostálgico» a few weeks ago. Since the band started in 2016 they have toured the world. They mix Argentine traditional tango with elements of jazz and modern music. It moves the tango foot you didn’t know you had, and suddenly you have buttoned up your shirt more than usual. «This is often about lost or impossible love» explains violinist Karl Espegard, who has lived in Buenos Aires for several years.

NORWEGIAN

Store følelser
El Muro Tango & Juan Villarreal
Nostálgico
Galileo

TANGO: Det norsk-argentinske tangobandet El Muro Tango slapp for noen uker siden sitt debutalbum Nostálgico. Siden bandet startet i 2016 har de turnert verden rundt. De blander argentinsk tradisjonell tango med elementer av jazz og moderne musikk. Det rykker i tangofoten du ikke visste at du hadde, og plutselig har du kneppet opp en skjorteknapp mer enn du pleier. «Dette handler ofte om tapt eller umulig kjærlighet» forklarer fiolinist Karl Espegard, som selv har bodd flere år i Buenos Aires.

SPANISH

Grandes emociones
El Muro Tango & Juan Villarreal
Nostálgico
Galileo

TANGO: La banda noruega-argentina de tango El Muro Tango lanzó su álbum debut “Nostálgico” hace unas semanas. Desde que la banda comenzó en 2016, han realizado giras por todo el mundo. Mezclan el tango tradicional argentino con elementos de jazz y música moderna. Movés el pie tanguero que no sabías que tenías, y de repente te abotonaste la camisa más de lo normal. «Esto se trata a menudo de amor perdido o imposible», explica el violinista Karl Espegard, quien ha vivido en Buenos Aires durante varios años.

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Published Feb 2019 in Melodie & Rhythmus

ENGLISH

Two Argentinians and two Norwegians demonstrate how international tango can be today: getting to know each other through Facebook, gaining fame by appearing on a Norwegian TV talent show, and touring through every tango club in Argentina with Juan Villarreal, singer of the prestigious Orquesta El Arranque. What does Villarreal appreciate about the quartet? «They have an intense and raw energy on the stage that blows you away!» And that is also captured on «Nostálgico». Traditional tangos from the Golden Age, in a modern language, without any piazzollesque tampering. For anyone wondering how to get through the winter, I strongly recommend this album.

– Barbara Stracci

NORWEGIAN

To argentinere og to nordmenn demonstrerer hvordan internasjonal tango kan være i dag: Man blir kjent med hverandre på Facebook, får oppmerksomhet ved å opptre på et norsk TV-show, turnerer rundt til samtlige argentinske tangoklubber med Juan Villarreal, sangeren til det anerkjente Orquesta El Arranque. Hva er det ved kvartetten som Villarreal verdsetter så høyt? «De har en intens og rå energi på scenen som blåser deg av banen!» Og det er også fanget opp på «Nostálgico». Tradisjonelle tangoer fra den gylne epoken, i et moderne språk, uten piazzollaesk forkludring. Alle som lurer på hvordan de kommer gjennom vinteren, anbefales dette albumet på det varmeste.

– Barbara Stracci

SPANISH

Dos argentinos y dos noruegos demuestran cómo puede ser el tango internacional hoy en día: se conocen a través de Facebook, llaman la atención actuando en un programa de televisión noruego y realizan una gira por todos los clubes de tango argentinos con Juan Villarreal, cantante de la famosa Orquesta El Arranque. Qué hay en el cuarteto que Villarreal aprecia tanto? «Tienen una energía intensa y cruda en el escenario que te deja sin aliento!» Y esto también está plasmado en «Nostálgico». Tangos tradicionales de la época de oro, en lenguaje moderno, sin piazzolleadas. Un álbum muy recomendable para cualquier persona que se pregunte cómo pasar el invierno.

– Barbara Stracci

GERMAN

Zwei Argentinier und zwei Norweger machen vor, wie international Tango heute sein kann: Man lernt sich auf Facebook kennen, erlangt Bekanntheit durch den Auftritt in einer norwegischen TV-Casting-show, tourt mit Juan Villarreal, Sänger des renommierten Orquesta El Arranque, durch sämtliche Tangolokale Argentiniens. Was Villarreal an dem Quartett so schätzt? «Sie haben eine intensive und rohe Energie auf der Bühne, die einen wegbläst!» Und die auch auf «Nostálgico» eingefangen ist. Traditionelle Tangos aus der Goldenen Ära, in modernem Idiom, ohne piazzollaesk zu verkopfen. Alle, die sich fragen, wie sie durch den Winter kommen, sei dieses Album wärmstens empfohlen.

– Barbara Stracci

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Published on Feb 2019 in Jazzthetik Magazine. Read the original interview in German.

ENGLISH

El Muro Tango – Nordic Passion

While some are currently working hard to build walls, others are light-footed. El Muro Tango not only lifts the boundaries between people and countries but also detaches the tango classics from their previously assigned role. The musicians seem to have devoted themselves to the fascination of opposites, whereby modernity and tradition, north and south, unconventionality and form awareness, passion and coolness are no longer contradictions.

By Doris Schumacher

The ensemble’s story is a modern music fairy tale: in 2012, the Norwegian violinist Karl Espegard attends a Spanish course in Buenos Aires and falls in love with tango: «Shortly after arriving I became friends with a group of tango dancers and students. Some of them were also musicians, and we took tango lessons together and started going out, exploring the bohemian life and underground culture of Buenos Aires. I did not bring my violin, so I went to the nearest music store and bought the cheapest violin I could find. I always had it with me and played at every opportunity, at private parties and spontaneous gatherings, in cafes, jam sessions and milongas. It was a very free and liberating moment with a lot of improvisation in music and life in general». Espegard decides to exchange the regulated life of Northern Europe for the freedom of artistic life in Buenos Aires. He moves to Argentina for one year and becomes a member of the tango ensemble Orquesta del Centenario, with whom he tours through Argentina and Europe.

In 2016, Argentine pianist Juan Pablo de Lucca, grandson of the prominent tango singer and actor Alberto Castillo, moves from Buenos Aires to Hamburg. In the search for other musicians, he contacts the Norwegian bandoneonist Åsbjørg Ryeng via Facebook. By then, she was playing duos with Karl Espegard, who had just moved back to Europe. Juan Pablo de Lucca: «I came to Oslo in November, we rehearsed and subsequently performed three concerts in Malmö and Oslo. The response from the audience was very good and on a personal level, it clicked really well. From there on we continued working together making El Muro Tango our main project, playing concerts all around Europe».

The initial trio was joined by the Argentinians Sebastián Noya (bass) and Juan Villarreal (vocals, guitar). The latter is a member of the well-known Orquesta El Arranque and is currently considered one of the most sought-after tango singers. This Argentine-Norwegian tango connection has already made a name for itself within and beyond the European and Latin American tango scene, capturing dancers and non-dancers alike with their contemporary arrangements. On the TV program Norway’s Got Talent 2018, the band performed together with the dance couple Cyrena Drusine and Steinar Refsdal in the final round. With «Nostálgico», the ensemble brings out a selection of tangos that in turn have made history.

«Some of the songs from the album are part of my grandfather´s repertoire», says Juan Pablo de Lucca. «I have heard them a lot and love the way he sings them. It is a way of homaging him. As for the other songs, we choose the ones we have a special connection to. If the tango has lyrics, it should be a theme that appeals to us and that we want to talk about». Tangos like «Regin» by Alfredo Rubin, «Recuerdo» by Osvaldo Pugliese, «EI Violin de Becho» by Alfredo Zitarrosa or the Candombe «Tamboriles» by Romeo Gavioli appear in El Muro Tango with a new but traditionally respectful outfit. «We constantly search for different ways to play the tangos we love. We treat the melodies in a more contrapuntal style, expand the harmonic language and combine the tuttis and solos in more unusual ways. Most of the tangos of the album are very well-known pieces and the listener will have no trouble in following, even if we stray away from the traditional path».

Not least to speak of the internationality of its members, El Muro Tango lives up to the great figures of tango in the 20s and 40s, composers and interpreters whose biographies tell stories of emigration and new arrivals. «One of the aspects that fascinate us the most about tango is its deep connection to its culture. When you hear tangos from the 40s you can see how it reflects the life of that time. The lyrics, the way of singing, the record artworks and the dance form are all depicting society. Society has rules and mechanisms. In 1940 women had a designated role within the family and men would work for 30 years in the same place until retirement. All of that has changed. The culture changes and popular culture is always the reflection of a society’s behavior».

SPANISH

El Muro Tango – Pasión Nórdica

Mientras que algunos trabajan actualmente para construir muros, otros son más ligeros. El Muro Tango no solo borra los límites entre las personas y los países, sino que también separa a los clásicos del tango de su rol tradicional. Los músicos parecen haberse dedicado a la fascinación de los opuestos, por lo que modernidad y tradición, norte y sur, conciencia de la forma y no convencionalidad, pasión y razón ya no son contradicciones.

Por Doris Schumacher

La historia del conjunto es un cuento de hadas de la música moderna: en 2012, el violinista noruego Karl Espegard asiste a un curso de español en Buenos Aires y se enamora del tango. «Poco después de llegar me hice amigo de un grupo de bailarines y estudiantes de tango. Algunos de ellos también eran músicos, tomamos clases de tango y comenzamos a salir y explorar la vida bohemia y la cultura under de Buenos Aires. Como no había llevado mi violín, fui a una tienda de música y me compré el más barato que encontré. Lo llevé conmigo a todas partes, desde fiestas privadas y reuniones hasta cafés, jams y milongas. Fue un momento de mucha liberación, con mucha improvisación en la música y en la vida en general». Espegard decide cambiar la vida regulada del norte de Europa por la libertad de la vida artística en Buenos Aires. Se muda a Argentina por un año y se convierte en miembro del conjunto de tango Orquesta del Centenario, con quien gira por Argentina y Europa.

En 2016, el pianista argentino Juan Pablo de Lucca, nieto del reconocido cantante y actor de tango Alberto Castillo, se muda de Buenos Aires a Hamburgo. En búsqueda de otros músicos, se pone en contacto a través de Facebook con la bandoneonista noruega Åsbjørg Ryeng. Por entonces, ella estaba tocando dúos con Karl Espegard, quién acababa de regresar a Europa. Juan Pablo de Lucca: «Vine a Oslo en noviembre, ensayamos y dimos tres conciertos en Malmö y Oslo. La respuesta de la audiencia fue muy buena y a nivel personal funcionó muy bien. A partir de ese momento seguimos trabajando juntos e hicimos de El Muro Tango nuestro proyecto principal, tocando conciertos por toda Europa».

A este trío inicial se le unieron los argentinos Sebastián Noya (bajo) y Juan Villarreal (voz, guitarra). Este último es miembro de la conocida Orquesta El Arranque y actualmente es considerado uno de los cantantes de tango más buscados. Esta conexión de tango argentino-noruega ya se ha hecho un nombre dentro y más allá de la escena del tango europeo y latinoamericano, capturando a bailarines y no bailarines por igual con sus arreglos contemporáneos. En el programa de televisión Noruega Tiene Talento 2018, la banda se presentó junto a la pareja de baile Cyrena Drusine y Steinar Refsdal en la final. Con «Nostálgico», el conjunto presenta una selección de tangos que a su vez han hecho historia.

«Algunas de los tangos del álbum son parte del repertorio de mi abuelo», dice Juan Pablo de Lucca. «Los he escuchado mucho y me encanta la forma en que los cantaba. Es una forma de homenajearlo. En cuanto a las otras músicas, elegimos aquellas con las que tenemos una conexión especial. Si el tango tiene letra, debería ser un tema que nos atraiga y del  que quisiéramos hablar ». Tangos como «Regin» de Alfredo Rubin, «Recuerdo» de Osvaldo Pugliese, «EI Violín de Becho» de Alfredo Zitarrosa o el candombe «Tamboriles» de Romeo Gavioli aparecen en El Muro Tango con un traje nuevo pero tradicionalmente respetuoso. «Buscamos constantemente diferentes formas de tocar los tangos que amamos. Tratamos las melodías con un estilo más contrapuntístico, expandimos el lenguaje armónico y combinamos los tuttis y los solos de maneras más inusuales. La mayoría de los tangos del álbum son piezas conocidas que el oyente no tendrá problemas en seguir, incluso si nos alejamos del camino tradicional».

Además de la internacionalidad de sus miembros, El Muro Tango está a la altura de las gestas teatrales de los años 20 y 40, porque las propias biografías de los compositores e intérpretes cuentan historias de emigración y recién llegados. «Uno de los aspectos que más nos fascina del tango es su profunda conexión con su cultura. Cuando escuchás tangos de los años 40 podés ver cómo refleja la vida de la época. Las letras, la forma de cantar, el arte y la forma de baile es una representación de la sociedad. Una sociedad tiene reglas y mecanismos. En 1940 las mujeres tenían un rol asignado dentro de la familia y los hombres trabajaban durante 30 años en el mismo lugar hasta su jubilación. Todo eso ha cambiado. La cultura cambia y la cultura popular es siempre el reflejo de una sociedad».

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Published on Jan 2019 in Der Übersteiger Magazin

ENGLISH

After I inserted the CD, I was distracted and had to devote myself briefly to other tasks. The tango ran alongside. Why is that important? The music made me work fast and focused. Tango can be annoying. This one is quite the contrary. It is modern, melodious and yet comes with soul. For their album, the Argentinian Juan Pablo and the Norwegian Karl Espegard brought the sought-after tango singer Juan Villareal on board, with whom they have been performing very successfully live in Europe for some time. «Distinto pero igual» – different, but equal – is from him, and at the same time a wonderful motto for the tango in general. In dance, the woman submits to the man and yet she is equal to him. Further playing tips: «Recuerdo» and the dramatic «El Violin de Becho».

NORWEGIAN

Etter at jeg hadde satt på CDen, ble jeg distrahert og måtte vie meg kort til andre oppgaver. Tangoen løp side om side. Hvorfor er det av betydning? Musikken fikk meg til å jobbe raskt og fokusert. Tango kan være irriterende. Denne er det slett ikke. Den er moderne, melodisk og kommer likevel med sjel. I anledning av deres album brakte den argentinske Juan Pablo og den norske Karl Espegard den ettertraktede tangosangeren Juan Villareal om bord. Sammen har de allerede en god stund gjort suksessfulle liveopptredener i Europa. «Distinto pero igual» – forskjellig, men lik – er fra ham, og samtidig et fantastisk motto for tango generelt. I dansen underlegger kvinnen seg mannen og likevel er de likestilte. Videre spilletips: «Recuerdo» og den dramatiske «El Violin de Becho».

SPANISH

Después de insertar el CD, me distraje y tuve que dedicarme brevemente a otras tareas. Mientras, el tango sonaba. ¿Por qué es esto importante? La música me hizo trabajar rápido y concentrado. El tango puede ser molesto. Este es todo lo contrario. Es moderno, melodioso y viene con alma. Para su álbum, el argentino Juan Pablo de Lucca y el noruego Karl Espegard sumaron al famoso cantante de tango Juan Villareal, con quien han estado presentándose en Europa con mucho éxito durante algún tiempo ya. «Distinto pero igual» es una pieza suya, y al mismo tiempo es un lema maravilloso para el tango en general. En la danza, la mujer se somete al hombre y, sin embargo, ella es igual a él. Otras recomendaciones: «Recuerdo» y el dramático «El violín de Becho».

GERMAN

Nachdem ich die CD eingelegt hatte, wurde ich gestört und musste mich kurz anderen Aufgaben widmen. Dabei lief der Tango nebenher. Warum ist das von Bedeutung: Die Musik ließ mich schnell und konzentriert arbeiten. Tango kann nervig sein. Dieser ist es ganz und gar nicht. Er ist modern, melodiös und kommt trotzdem mit Seele daher. Für ihr Album holten sich der Argentinier Juan Pablo und der Norweger Karl Espegard den gefragten Tangosänger Juan Villareal an Bord, mit dem sie auch schon seit einiger Zeit im europäischen Raum sehr erfolgreich live auftreten. «Distinto pero igual» — verschieden, aber gleich — ist von ihm, und gleichzeitig ein wunderbares Motto für den Tango generell. Im Tanz unterwirft sich die Frau dem Mann und trotzdem ist sie ihm auch gleichgestellt. Weitere Anspieltipps: «Recuerdo» und das dramatische «El Violin de Becho».

 

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Published on Dec 2018 in AMM Magazin

ENGLISH

The compact sound of the Argentine-Norwegian band by the Argentinian pianist Juan Pablo de Lucca and the Norwegian violinist Karl Espegard can be described as a mix of traditional tango with elements of jazz and modern music. The rhythmic pulse keeps a constant imaginary connection to the body of a dancer. The title of their album «Nostálgico» is dedicated to the core of what constitutes Argentine tango: nostalgia and yearning for the past. «It’s often about loss or an impossible love», explains Karl Espegard. The current line-up includes the vocalist of the well-known orchestra El Arranque, Juan Villareal, who also shares El Muro’s raw energy and passion for tango. Recorded in September 2017, «Nostálgico» is an album that convinces with its wonderfully elaborated arrangements, as well as its sound, committed to the tradition of the old masters, that is so rarely found in today’s tango bands.

NORWEGIAN

Den kompakte lyden av det argentinsk-norske bandet til den argentinske pianisten Juan Pablo de Lucca og den norske fiolinisten Karl Espegard kan beskrives som en blanding av tradisjonell tango med elementer av jazz og moderne musikk. Den rytmiske pulsen holder en konstant imaginær forbindelse til en dansers kropp. Tittelen på deres album «Nostálgico» er dedikert til kjernen av det som utgjør den argentinske tangoen: nostalgi og lengsel etter fortiden. «Det handler ofte om tapt eller en umulig kjærlighet», forklarer Karl Espegard. I den aktuelle bandbesetningen finner man Juan Villareal, vokalist i det berømte orkesteret El Arranque, som også deler El Muros råe energi og lidenskap for tangoen. «Nostálgico», innspilt i september 2017, er et album som imponerer med sine vakkert utarbeidede arrangementer, og dens forpliktelse til tradisjonen og de gamle mesternes klangbilde hører du kun sjeldent spilt på en slik måte av dagens tangoband.

SPANISH

El sonido compacto de la banda argentino-noruega en torno al pianista argentino Juan Pablo de Lucca y al violinista noruego Karl Espegard puede describirse como una mezcla de tango tradicional con elementos de jazz y música moderna. El pulso rítmico mantiene una constante conexión imaginaria con el cuerpo de un bailarín. El título de su álbum «Nostálgico» está dedicado al núcleo de lo que constituye el tango argentino: la nostalgia y el anhelo por lo que fue. «A menudo se trata de la pérdida o de un amor imposible», explica Karl Espegard. La formación actual incluye al cantor de la famosa orquesta El Arranque, Juan Villareal, que comparte con El Muro Tango la misma energía y pasión por el tango. Grabado en septiembre de 2017, «Nostálgico» es un álbum que convence por sus arreglos maravillosamente elaborados, así como por un sonido, cercano a la tradición de los grandes maestros, que rara vez se encuentra en las bandas de tango actuales.

GERMAN

Der kompakte Sound der argentinisch-norwegischen Band um den argentinischen Pianisten Juan Pablo De Lucca und den norwegischen Geiger Karl Espegard lässt sich als Mix aus traditionellem Tango mit Elementen des Jazz und moderner Musik beschreiben. Der rhythmische Puls hält dabei eine ständige imaginäre Verbindung zum Körper eines Tänzers. Der Titel ihres Albums «Nostálgico» widmet sich dem Kern dessen, was den argentinischen Tango ausmacht: Nostalgie und die Sehnsucht nach dem Vergangenen. «Es geht oft um Verlust oder eine unmögliche Liebe», erklärt Karl Espegard. Zur aktuellen Bandbesetzung gehört der Sänger des bekannten Orchesters El Arranque, Juan Villareal, der El Muros rohe Energie und Leidenschaft für den Tango teilt. Aufgenommen im September 2017, ist «Nostálgico» ein Album, das mit seinen wunderbar ausgearbeiteten Arrangements überzeugt sowie seinem der Tradition der alten Meister verpflichteten Sound, den man so gespielt nur sehr selten von aktuellen Tango-Bands findet.

By Ingrid Ciacudia, published 08.12.2018 in Drammens Tidende.

Karl Espegard from Drammen has played violin since he was eight years old. In 2012, he traveled to Buenos Aires to study Spanish and literature and it did not take long before he started missing the violin.

– When I traveled to Argentina I became immersed in tango. I bought the cheapest violin I could find and started playing.
Espegard plays in a Norwegian-Argentine tango band called El Muro Tango. Together they travel and tour in Europe and South America. Recently they released their debut album “Nostálgico”.

The violin has been with him since he was eight years old and music has always been a part of his life. Espegard says his mother was very passionate about her children getting to learn an instrument. Why he ended up with the violin is, in his own opinion, a bit random.
– The man who was to become my first violin teacher came to my school with two of his students. We were allowed to try the violin. My sister and I wanted to start taking lessons. We started together, but she eventually dropped out. I come from a musical family but no one plays professionally.

At the age of 13, Espegard entered the Barratt Due Institute of Music, and for many years he was a member of the Buskerud Youth String Orchestra under the leadership of Thode Fagelund. In 2007 he worked as a teacher at Drammen School of Music and Culture.
– At that time I was also conducting the school string orchestra, and I had a few violin students. I quit my job because I moved to Northern Norway to work as a county musician. I taught and played concerts for the counties that lie a little further out in the countryside, he says.

Found a new genre
In 2012 he traveled to Buenos Aires and got acquainted with the tango. He got in touch with people in the community and decided to start playing.
– I had listened to tango before, but it was first when I traveled to Argentina that I was absorbed by it, he says. In 2016 he met the guys he now plays in a band with.

Don´t live in the same country
El Muro Tango was founded in Oslo, but the musicians now live in different countries.
– The singer of the band lives in Buenos Aires, the pianist lives in Berlin and the bassist lives in Switzerland. There are two of us who live in Norway.
Espegard says that there are, of course, a few challenges involved in playing with people who live in different countries, but rarely does it pass more than a month between meeting to play concerts.
– We plan things together, but it can, of course, be a challenge not to be in the same room or in the same country all the time. We travel a lot, however, and meet whenever we tour. We keep a lot of contact through social media, he explains.

Playing in Book of Mormon
Besides playing in a tango band, Espegard is also involved in the acclaimed musical Book of Mormon at The Norwegian Theater.
– I’m a part of the band so I don’t have a theatrical role, but I have previously worked in several theater productions at The Norwegian Theater, including Kvitebjørn Kong Valemon in 2016, he says.

On tour
On November 18, El Muro Tango gave a concert at Gummibaren in Drammen, and on November 23 they released their debut album. Espegard says that the band has traveled around the world and has received great recognition in both the European and South American tango communities.
– We have traveled in Argentina and performed in the well-known tango clubs. It has been a great experience to be able to travel around the country and play for people who not only like our music but also know the lyrics, says the musician.
– We work with some of the leading Argentine tango singers, including Martin Alvarado, Negro Falótico and Chino Laborde. Our music is a mix of Argentine traditional tango with elements of jazz and modern music, he adds.

Eager about Japan
Espegard tells Drammens Tidende that they have accomplished several goals recently, with tours and debut album to show for. Their next big goal is to travel to Japan, where there is a great interest in tango, both for dancers and tango orchestras, says Espegard.
– We already have some contacts who have traveled to Japan and introduced us to the music industry, but we are thinking of going there in 2020. Tango has been popular in Japan since the ’30s, and there are a lot of Japanese people who have emigrated to Argentina and live in Buenos Aires, says Espegard.

By Elisabeth Helgeland Wold, published 16.11.2018 in Dagsavisen Fremtiden. Read the original article in Norwegian.

Karl Espegard (35), Musician / Violinist

Playing with Norwegian-Argentine El Muro Tango, who is about to release their new album and gives a concert at Gummibaren on Sunday 18 November.

What will we hear?
– There will be Argentine tango, and we play a lot from our debut album, which will be released on November 23. By the way, we are bringing the physical record, which also has been launched in Germany, Belgium, the Netherlands and now with a tour from the north to the south of Norway.

El Muro Tango has held a concert in Drammen earlier, among others at Union Scene during the Cultural Night (Kulturnatt) in 2017, how is it to play in your hometown?
– It’s great, the audience is very receptive. Our first concert in Drammen was also at Gummibaren, furthermore we played at a Tango Weekend in January, where there were instructors from Argentina and Finland, and where we gave a concert in the evening.

Tell me about El Muro, when did you start?
– We started El Muro Tango in 2016 as a trio, so we celebrate two years this year. Juan Pablo de Lucca plays piano, Åsbjørg Ryeng plays bandoneon, Sebastian Noya plays double bass and Juan Villarreal is the lead singer. Bandoneon is a kind of transportable church organ, made in Germany in the late 1800s, arriving to Argentina when people emigrated there. There the instrument was captured by the tango – we can say it went from the church in Europe to the brothels in Buenos Aires.

You are originally from Drammen, share a little about your background?
– I started playing violin when I was eight, and went to the local music school in Drammen with Thode Fagelund as a teacher. Later I moved to Oslo and entered the Barratt Due Institute of Music, before continuing my studies at Hochschule der Künste Bern and the Norwegian Academy of Music.

How did you get passionate about tango?
– It was a coincidence that I went to Argentina, I knew about Astor Piazzolla, he took the music out of the clubs and into the concert halls, but I only knew it superficially, tango is a world in itself. In Argentina, I learned about the styles and the different eras and everything that the tango music contains. I returned later and made friends and learned Spanish, I felt very at home there.

What is it about this music?
– Many things, tango is a bit like classical music, but it is still popular music. You think it’s improvised, but it’s not. Tango gives you a feeling of being alive, both from playing and listening. And it lives in the sense that in all over the world you can dance to tango. Tango is a separate language, a culture of its own. The music deals with universal themes, often about lost love. The tango culture had its peak in the 1930s and 40s. But then it went down, and the 1980s and 90s were dark times for the tango, after all the political difficulties in Latin America. Now, fortunately, it is in bloom again. In Argentina, there is a growing interest in preserving old recordings and manuscripts, and a few years ago, tango was included in the UNESCO World Heritage List.

What are the feedbacks you get?
– We get very positive feedback, people are taken on a journey, the music stirs emotions. We have received very good response during the whole tour, and good attendance. Several of the concerts have been sold out, I am a little surprised that people who have never heard of us actually show up.

What do you listen to yourself?
– I listen to a lot of different music, often within jazz and latin, and I am particularly fond of the Mexican singer Natalia Lafourcade. Also I listen to music released by friends and colleagues.

Which book has meant the most to you?
– Don’t know which one has meant the most, but one that I recently read, and which was very interesting is “Born a Crime” by Trevor Noah. He grew up during the apartheid regime in South Africa. The mother was African and the father Swiss – his mere existence was a crime during apartheid.

What makes you happy?
– Good food! Asado, Argentinian barbecue – there is no better. In addition, it is a very social thing.

Who is your childhood hero?
– Arve Tellefsen.

What do you dislike most about yourself?
– That I’m a little intense sometimes, I can’t let go of things. It has its good and bad sides.

What are you willing to go in demonstration for or against?
– Certainly for equal rights for everyone.

Is there anything you regret?
– Yes, but I rather think you can learn from your mistakes instead of regretting – you should not be afraid to make mistakes.

With whom would you get stuck in the elevator?
– Would be been fun to meet Diego El Cigala – a Spanish flamenco singer.

Published 24.12.2018 in Fractura Expuesta. Read the original article in Spanish.

“This album is very important for us, it defines our musical identity”, explains the pianist Juan Pablo de Lucca about Nostálgico, the album that was recently released by the Argentine-Norwegian group El Muro.

That identity that de Lucca – grandson of the well-known singer Alberto Castillo – mentions is based on a sound profile that takes on the elements of classical tango and adds tools of jazz and contemporary music to stamp a deep and vibrant music that does not leave aside the dancing part.

Nostálgico contains 12 songs that are distributed mostly among traditional authors (“Nostálgico”, “Recuerdo”, “Griseta”, “Malena”) and a quota of contemporaries such as Alfredo “Tape” Rubín (“Regin”) or Juan Villareal himself, singer of the group, with “Distinto pero igual”.

“It’s often about lost or impossible love”, says Norwegian violinist Karl Espegard, co-founder of the group, about the material’s title. “It can also mean missing one’s family and land. Tango was born in the lower classes of Argentina, among European immigrants who met through music, poetry and dance”, says Espegard who lived several years in Buenos Aires.

Edited by the German label Galileo Music, Nostálgico was recorded in Oslo and presented through a tour with concerts in Holland, Norway, Belgium and Germany.

“El Muro has an intensity and energy on stage that amazes me every time I play with them”, underlines Villareal who accompanied the quartet on the aforementioned tour. In Argentina, part of the album could be heard live during the group’s visit earlier this year to the city of Buenos Aires and different places in Patagonia.

With its heart in Buenos Aires and home in Europe, El Muro will continue presenting the album in 2019 with concerts in Germany and Norway – its usual circuit – under a proposal that jumps the abyss between the new and the classic and builds, rather than a wall, a solid bridge to connect the best of tradition with the dynamic current scene of tango that already writes its powerful pages in the history of urban music.