Tango heats up the square

Victoria’s Tango Fest turns a firey five

Greg Rolnick and Kimberly Han will teach a Nuevo Tango workshop during Tango Fest.

Greg Rolnick and Kimberly Han will teach a Nuevo Tango workshop during Tango Fest.

It doesn’t get any hotter than a tango under the summer sun.

Centennial Square is one of the major venues for this year’s Tango Fest, with an afternoon of live tango and Latin jazz, as well as dancing outside on Sunday (Aug. 12).

It’s all part of the three-day festival, which starts with Duo Tangabrazo, Ben Thomas and Alex Chadsey, playing Hermann’s Jazz Club on Friday night.

Seattle-based Tangabrazo play jazz-tango with a dash of Latin, a growing theme at Tango Fest.

“We’re finding out what people want, which is more Latin music during the weekend,” said June Waters. The Victoria resident is the program co-ordinator for the Passion for Tango Society, which developed the festival and is looking to expand it even further.

“Tango has always had its ups and downs as a trend since it began in Buenos Aires, Arg. in the 1880s.

“The latest revival is electronic tango, which is not in Canada yet, out of Paris and Buenos Aires. But we hope to get it one day, as Latin is becoming a greater part of Tango Fest.”

Waters expects Tangabrazo to fill Hermann’s on Friday.

“Jazz tango was a big hit when we introduced it last year and people were turned away at the door, and tickets are already going for this year’s (opener).”

The headline event of the weekend is Quartango at the Alix Goolden Hall on Saturday night.

“Quartango are without a doubt the most prominent tango group going,” Waters said. University of Victoria music instructor Jonathon Goldman is one-fifth of Quartango, and summers in Montreal, home of the band, to keep it up.

Montreal is also home to North America’s oldest tango scene.

Saturday night won’t end there, as the jazz element will relocate at St. John’s Hall, 1611 Quadra St., for a late night session,

“(Percussionist) Ben Thomas will be playing there too, among others, and a nuevo dance performance,” Waters said.

“We call it Cafe Buenos Aires because it starts so late, just like Buenos Aires, where nothing gets going before 11 p.m.”

Quartango will also be available for a Saturday afternoon workshop at Larsen Music on Cook Street. Registration is through Larsenmusic.ca, 250-389-1988.

The festival picks up again on Sunday afternoon with the free live music and dancing show in Centennial Square.

Sunday stands out from the weekend as the best time for spectators to watch quality tango dancing.

“There’ll be a free tango and Latin dancing class, a big dance floor and nuevo dance instructors there to teach and dance,” Waters said.

The festival wraps up with vocalist Anna Acevedo and her quartet at Hermann’s on Sunday night. Acevedo will be accompanied by local Latin jazz pianist Pablo Cardenas, a veteran of the past two Victoria jazz festivals.

Visit Passion4tango.com for more information.

Tango Fest in detail:

Friday: Duo Tangabrazo at Hermann’s Jazz Club, 8 p.m. show, tickets $15 advance, $18 door.

Saturday: Quartango at Alix Goolden Hall, 8 p.m. show, tickets $26 advance, $30 door.

Sunday: Tango, Latin and Alternative Music, Centennial Square, 1 to 6:30 p.m.

Anna Acevedo Quartet, Brazilian/Latin groove vocals with pianist.

Sunday: Carlos Cardenas at Hermann’s Jazz Club, 8 p.m. Tickets $10 Advance, $12 door.