To say that the audience was full of women of a certain age at Colours of Tango would be slightly unfair. There were a few men dotted around the audience, along with a handful of younger people.
The trio of violin, accordion and harp players opened the show with Astor Piazzolla’s ‘Meditango’, played with a pleading urgency that slipped into the search for lost love, settling into moments of pure heartbreak before ending on tragic chords of dejection. This was followed by three more Piazzolla pieces, each one exquisitely performed, but it was during the fourth, ‘Milonga del Ángel’ that the dance couple (Hannah Johnson and Facundo Menéndez) appeared and danced through their love affair, each elastic step complementing chords of pleasure and pain. Their dancing was understated and so sexy it felt almost voyeuristic watching them together.
Guest singer Oscar Ernesto Ovejero brought seductive vocals to several pieces and funked up Laurenz’s ‘Milonga de Mis Amores’ with some rousing percussion on a crate. Accordionist Konrad Salwiński led the trio through a history of tango but also allowed Aleksandra Szurgot (violin) and Aneta Janiszewska (harp) their moments to shine. During one song, the instruments guided us through an amazing range of emotions, rather like music for an old silent film: sadness, loss, optimism, bitterness then devil-may-care. Exhausting but exhilarating.
The programme states that ‘it’s always best to have natives of Argentina to ensure the real essence of tango is captured’. I have to disagree: these three musicians from Poland and the dancer from Tyneside prove all that’s required is talent and a passion for the form. It’s not so much of a surprise in the context of the migration of people across Europe and over to the Americas, taking with them their music and dance; tango music has much in common with klezma. Oh, and one last thing: Menéndez is offering beginner's tango lessons. Form an orderly queue ladies…