The sound of Astillero is forceful, vertiginous, breathtaking, raw yet sophisticated: a rollercoaster ride of throbbing accents modulating into earth-shattering pianissimos and beyond. Yet this wild sound is entirely hand-made, free of any gimmicks, 100% acoustic: the sound of just wood and strings, brought to searing life by an acute sense for translating the experience of 21st century urban life into new music, built on a solid traditional foundation of Buenos Aires’ tango.
The orchestra, though featuring the typical instruments of a classic tango ensemble (two bandoneons, violin, piano, cello, double bass, and a singer) is a tango formation that has nothing to do with the ‘tango’ of our collective conciousness. Astillero proposes a completely new vision of tango, incisive and intense, rough and violent, refecting the times we live in.
From their all-original compositions, some instrumental, some with lyrics, emerges a tango that is stripped down yet rich and original. The sounds of Astillero are the sounds of Buenos Aires today - the way they play their music refects the incongruities and madness of this urban jungle; it kicks, breaks, hurts, jumps. The fresh lyrics add to the rawness - a rough but tender voice, that cares and tears at the same time. The concept goes even beyond music, developed further by video images, both poetic and political, projected live to complement the deluge of sound.
The group’s young members have been steeped in traditional tango from early on. At the forefront of the recent ‘Maquina Tanguera’ movement of contemporary tango in Buenos Aires, they have worked with a number of important groups from the scene before forming Astillero in 2005. Years of study and research have also led them to become themselves teachers to the younger generation, through their work with a number of independent organisations and social projects.
With two European tours in recent years, and a much-talked-about showcase at WOMEX 08 in Sevilla, Astillero are now fast building an international following. The secret is out, and the word is spreading!