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May 28, 2017
Monday, March 20, 2017

‘Unfortunately, it is not so easy to showcase our music in our country’

By Veronica Stewart
For the Herald
After having been raised in the Ruggiero household, it is no wonder that Daniel Ruggiero became a bandoneon player. Son to the legendary Osvaldo Ruggiero, he has managed to make a name for himself as one of the most talented tango musicians in the local scene.
In a career that has spanned over 20 years, Ruggiero junior has played both solo, as part of bigger ensembles and as part of the three-piece Quasimodo Trío. This Friday, he is presenting his new album Bandoneón es cultura, which includes songs for the bandoneon and for duos with violins, vibraphones cellos and clarinets.

You were born in a family that was very intimately linked to music, particularly to the bandoneon. Have you ever thought of playing another instrument?
Yes. I played guitar when I was a kid and I continued to study it as I began studying bandoneon. That went on until I turned 20, give or take.

Do you think you would have dedicated your career to the bandoneon had it not been for your family?
I don’t know if I would’ve played the bandoneon per se, because it’s a really specific instrument that’s not very popular, or at least it wasn’t when I was a kid. However, I’m sure I would’ve done something related to music.
What can you tell us about your new album?
This new album is my humble way to pay homage to the most symbolic instrument of our genre, which is, incidentally, the one I play. The title of the album, Bandoneón es cultura (“Bandoneon is culture”), is also a play on words with the phrase “disco es cultura” (“Album is culture”), a slogan that was always written in old tango vinyl records.

How did you choose the songs?
It was whimsical, really. They’re just many of my favourite compositions. I also picked songs which had no versions aside from the original one, or at least not with a bandoneon playing solo or as a duet.

How is this record different to your previous ones?
My previous records were recorded with my group, the Quasimodo Trío. Its main characteristic is that it is new songs, which means that this new album is my first material based on arrangements of classical songs, as well as my first one focused on the bandoneon.

Do you prefer playing classical tango songs or your own compositions?
I think they are very different experiences, but I am definitely interested in producing new literature, be it through new compositions or through new versions of old tango songs. The only difference I can think of is that if I ever find myself having to perform classical songs in big orchestras, be it in a smaller formation or in the same format, then I have to “copy” what the song does much more faithfully. That doesn’t allow me to do what I would do with that music, which isn’t as gratifying to me.

Why did you feel the need to put a website together where musicians could download your original arrangements for different songs?
I believe culture must be easily accessed. If we want to broaden our reach and change how people perceive our music, then facilitating information that will allow them to delve into the depths of our quintessential music genre is not such a bad idea. It will also allow them to, in turn, get to know our culture better.

How do you feel when you play in Argentina as opposed to when you play abroad?
Unfortunately, it is not so easy to showcase our music in our country, or at least not in my experience with Quasimodo Trío, with whom we have been playing for 13 years. There’s still a division amongst the audiences who like milongas and the ones who like instrumental tango; the audience isn’t so big in the second case.
In Europe, I don’t see that division in the audience. Those who have come to our shows in there didn’t have stylistic prejudices of that sort.                    w

When and where
Friday, March 17 at 9.30pm at CAFF (Sánchez de Bustamante 772).
Tickets at $100 or $140 including the record at the venue.                                    
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