Famed Aregentinian bandoneonista, Dino Saluzzi, The 71-year-old South American
cultural icon continues his prestigious work with ECM Records by releasing Ojos
Negros, with German cellist, Anja Lechner. Saluzzi and Lechners work conjures
ethereal beauty and wonderful melodic interplay. Ojos Negros comes out April 3
and will soon follow with American tour dates.
The bandoneon is a instrument similar to a concertina or accordion. Created
in the 19th century by German inventor, Heinrich Band, the bandoneon is very
popular in Argentina. Unlike the accordion, the instrument does not have keys
resembling a piano, but buttons that produce different pitches when closing
or opening the instrument.
ONE WAY spoke with Dino Saluzzi about the album and upcoming tour from his home
in Buenos Aires, Argentina.
How did you
initially come to work with Anja Lechner?
Weve been working together, I think, for six years. I met Anja at
one of my solo concerts in Europe. We talked about having an experience with
cello and bandoneon, which worked absolutely great because the sound and timbre
of the instruments are really similar for the possibilities of working with
each other. I started to think about how the idea would become a reality. So,
then I went to work to compose [laughs].
Did you find
it a challenge to compose for the instruments together?
I was starting to compose solo pieces, duet pieces, and trio pieces for
a different kind of ensemble, but then I was feeling that cello and bandoneon
is a good, good combination. So, I started to work on the project and my wish
was to do more with this music. So, the wish to play this together was really
strong. We were working with the Rosamunde Quartett, We did a concert and we
had played as a duo [Saluzzi and Lechner] and we decided to try to make something
with the [bandoneon and] cello, which is fantastic.
Are there any
particular tracks on Ojos Negros that stand out to you?
I love all of them. I cant say I prefer this one or another because
all of them are like a confession, talking about some history of my life. Im
telling people about my life, or my brothers, or how strong life can be
for the musician who wants to remain a musician. Im trying to show people
the intimacy and we have two people on the big stage, but when these two people
not even the people, but these two instruments it starts to be
alive in the concert. This kind of intimacy makes us want to see whats
inside our souls. The music is like a big flower of harmony.
You have announced
that you will be supporting Ojos Negros with a US leg of touring. How do American
audiences react to the bandoneon, which is a relatively unknown instrument here?
Yes, I know. Its a great challenge (laughs)! I think that this instrument
is all over the world on all these big cities, like New York, Buenos Aires,
Berlin. Many people live there, but dont see each other in the ojos
[eyes]. This instrument proposes to put our energy inside us. It makes us think
back as we go to sleep and ask, What did I do today? How did I use my
life today? One of the parts of my instrument is to conduct the intimacy
to an inspirational source. This [need for self-reflection] happens a lot in
the big city.
seems to be an extremely complex instrument. How difficult is it to learn how
Technically, this instrument makes important harmonies like a minor third
or a major third. This instrument is nice to play melodies and I dont
understand why they use it like a percussion instrument. This instrument is
so difficult because we have four keyboards. There are two keyboards on the
right and two keyboards on the left. And between the right and the left, we
dont have any chance to change the position because they [the other sides
of the keyboard] are in different positions also. Its a very demanding
instrument with great tone and the sound is unbelievable. Im looking forward
to being there [touring the US] in April to have the possibility to play people
our music and to get together for this very interesting experience. n
and Anja Lechner
April 2007 US Tour
18 Eugene, OR The Shedd
Thursday April 19 Los Angeles, CA Skirball Center
Sunday April 22 San Francisco, CA SFJAZZ, Florence
Tuesday April 24 New York, NY Merkin Concert Hall
Wednesday April 25 Miami, FL Carnival Center for
the Performing Arts
Friday April 27 Columbus, OH Wexner Center
Saturday April 28 Buffalo, NY Allbright-Knox
Saturday May 28 Charleston, SC Spoleto Festival