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In November 2005, just minutes before THE GOTAN PROJECT were due
onstage at the Gran Rex theater in central Buenos Aires, Argentina,
band guitarist and native Argentine Eduardo Makaroff, summed it all
up in one key quote: "The lyrics of many of the famous tango
songwriters would always talk about going back to this city, and so
we're returning to the South and to the place that's in our hearts."
Seven months previous, Eduardo and fellow Gotan producers, Parisian
Philippe Cohen Solal and Swiss-born Christoph H. Müller, had flown
from their homes in Paris to record the new album, Lunático, in
Buenos Aires' prestigious Studio ION - the famed venue where tango
greats such as Astor Piazzolla had once laid down their aural magic to
vast reel-to-reel tape machines.
Sitting in on the sessions with them were a host of local session
musicians: a complete string section, two emcees, one trombonist, and
Argentine piano legend and long-time Gotan collaborator Gustavo
Beytelmann, conducting much of the musical goings on.
Five years on from breaking new ground in tango and electronica with
their debut, La Revancha del Tango, now having sold in excess of a
million copies worldwide, and shows from Tel Aviv to Tokyo and anywhere in
between, the band now had to concentrate on the small matter of developing the
public's longstanding love affair with
"We really wanted to explore both tango and folkloric music from
Argentina a lot further than we had before," says Philippe. "That's
why many of the tracks are really classically tango-orientated, very
traditional patterns that people like (Anibal) Troilo would use."
The resulting material from those sessions was quite possibly
their most accomplished work yet. Not wanting to replicate any of
what La Revancha had originally achieved musically, Philippe,
Christoph, and Eduardo subsequently flew back to Paris two weeks later
to begin the second leg of work on Lunático - named, quite
appropriately, after tango hero Carlos Gardel's champion racehorse of
Fellow collaborators Argentine bandoneónist Nini Flores and
Barcelona-based vocalist Cristina Vilallonga joined up with them at
their Substudioz back in the French capital and thus began the
completion, hidden under top secrecy, of Lunático.
With a decidedly stronger emphasis on the more organic roots of tango,
almost to a classical level, Lunático has taken one step backwards
in order to move two steps forward in what not only the Gotan Project,
but also many of Argentina's top tango musicians see as the
progression of their beloved music's ever-evolving lifespan.
"Recording this album was a more natural process for us all," Philippe
adds, "as we wanted to continue the tango experience and in ten years'
time hopefully we'll still feel the same."