Tango Encounter
Saturday, 9 August 2008 @ 3.30 pm • Christ Church Cathedral

Performers Linda Lee Thomas, piano; Miles Foxx Hill, bass; Franco Luciano, harmonica

Reviewer Ed Farolan

The crowd pleaser here was the Argentinian Franco Luciano, as expected. He received wild applauses after every number he performed with his harmonica. I wasn't sure, though, what pieces he played because there were no programmes left. I managed to get a peek briefly from a programme I borrowed from one of the ushers who wanted it back, as it was the last copy.

This is a no-no. Festival Vancouver should provide enough programmes and also be consistent with their programmes. When DUO BRASIL and GRUPO CORAL performed a few days ago, there was a verycomprehensive programme listing the bios of the performers as well as a list of the pieces that were performed. In this show, there were just the bios of the three performers but no one knew what they were playing.

Linda Lee Thomas blurted out a few names and songs in Spanish in her incomprehensible Canadian Spanish accent, as she introduced each piece, but I couldn't understand her, and the only word I caught was Piazzolla, the legendary tango composer.

Another observation I had for the entire Festival, whose theme is "Music from the Americas", was putting a heavy emphasis on Argentinian music. There were just a few participants from the other countries, and most of these participants were Latinos living in Vancouver, such as Tanga and Goma Dura. Where was Mexico, Central America, Paraguay, Chile, etc.? The organisers should have instead called the Festival "Music from Argentina".

The important thing was that this particular concert was successful. When you hear crowds applauding and saying "yeah!" after each and every number by Luciani, then you know it's a good show. Luciani's harmonica permutations, barking and exhaling in and out of his harmonica, slapping it once in a while to get percussive rhythms, mesmerized the audience.

Linda Lee Thomas, who has fallen in love with the tango, played beautifully. However, as a concert pianist by profession, she was a bit too classic in her approach to the tango. Miles Foxx Hill as bassist provided good background to the tango tunes.

Like DUO BRASIL's soprano Donna Brown, who has her love affair with the samba, Thomas, who has her own tango trio "Tangissimo", has her beloved Argentina as her main focus. I guess there's always something romantic about going down under.

© 2008 Ed Farolan