Scene: We are at
the home of Miguel and, in the middle of winter, it is a house filled
with sun and good energy. I first spoke to Miguel after his manager in the U.S.
contacted me about possibly scheduling Otros Aires for a concert. My answer, to those
who attend our local milongas, is easy to guess. Otros Aires is one of my favorite
groups to dance to because, as Miguel mentions, it blends the old sound with the new.
Background: Otros Aires is an audiovisual electronic tango project created in Barcelona by the Argentinean musician / architect Miguel Di Genova in 2003. It is a mix of historic Argentinean roots (the tango, the old neighborhood sound, Gardel, the milongas, the typical orchestras) with video art and electronic music.
On December 2003 they opened at Nova (Barcelona) and then Otros Aires was featured all around the Catalan capital (Club Cube, Domestic, Barroc, Local Bar, etc). At this time there were just two musicians: Josep Lluis Guart (piano, keyboards) and Miguel Di Genova (vocal, guitar, sequences, video).
In the middle of 2004 Di Genova returned to Argentina and with Hugo Satorre (Bandoneon), Pablo Lasala (piano, keyboards) and Emmanuel Mayol (drums and percussions) recorded the first Otros Aires CD. It was presented on December 11th (the day Known as "Tango Day" because of Gardel`s Birthday) at the Gardel House Museum.
In 2006 Otros Aires went on tour to Germany, Netherlands, Turkey, Greace, Poland and South America.
The current group members are Omar Massa (Bandoneon), Diego Ramos (piano, keyboards), Emmanuel Mayol (drums and percussions) and Miguel Di Genova, (vocal, guitar, sequences, video).
Omar E. Massa Bandoneon
Omar studied music at the National Conservatory.
Piano, with Violeta Hemsy De Gainza and Anibal Gluzman Becker.
Saxophone and jazz language, with Hugo Pierre (N. Conservatory)
and Andres Boiarsky (New York).
Harmony and composition, with E. Pozzatti.
Tango Elements, with Nicolas Ledesma and Rodolfo Mederos.
Bandoneon with Rodolfo Mederos, Marcos Madrigal, Carlos Lazzari and Julio Pane.
played with the Argentinian musician based in Paris, Juan Carlos Caceres ,"Tango Negro".
Diego Ramos Piano
Diego studied piano with Pablo Aguirre for 10 years.
Later, he began to study at the E.M.P.A. (Escuela de Música Popular de Avellaneda)
and graduated in 2002.
He has recorded 7 CDs and has worked as a producer in several projects.
Emmanuel Mayol Drums and percussions
Emmanuel studied drums with Dani Avila (Diego Torres, Alejandro Lerner, Patricia Sosa) and Fernando Del Castillo.
Music (piano) and Harmony with Mariano Seggio.
He has played and made electronic drums arrangements on the Otros Aires CD.
Miguel Di Génova Vocal, Guitar, MIDI, Video Art
Miguel studied guitar with: Eugenio De Lucci (Spanish guitar), with Oscar García
(Spanish guitar, tango and harmony) and with Miguel Sigales (electric guitar).
Vocal technique with Sergio Tulián and José Elliot.
MIDI at Sinclair Community college (Dayton, EEUU)
Sound engineer at TECSON recording school l(Buenos Aires).
Architecture and plastic arts (Buenos Aires University)
He has recorded and composed 3 CDs of his own projects:
“Paisaje a Mil” (Vocals, rhythm Guitars, MIDI, composition)
“Loop” (Vocals, rithim Guitars, MIDI, composition)
Otros Aires (Vocals, Guitars, MIDI
Q: How did you arrive at the whole concept of Otros Aires??
Miguel: The idea came
because I was working as an architect and also making music. I began
to think.... Why don't I bring the two together.
In Barcelona, there are so many things that are multimedia. So I thought, why can't I
do this for the Tango and make video a part of the performance. I started with very old
movies - for instance - Carlos Gardel on the screen and I am singing on the stage.
This was the first step. I was alone with the screen and my guitar and a microphone.
I started playing in Barcelona and I realized that the idea
was working. Soon I included
other musicians. The other musicians... they were friends, friends of friends. Very professional and talented but they were not tango musicians. They were jazz and rock musicians. A sample of that period is the song on the first disc, “ La Pampa Seca”. The sound is exactly the same. One difference between Barcelona and Buenos Aires is that the piano player was more jazzy is Spain. The most significant difference is that we did not have a bandoneon player on stage. We used loops of previously recorded playing.
Now we have a bandoneon.
The funny thing is that I am an Architect and was working
as one in Spain. When I went to Barcelona, I couldn't find a job as an
Architect so I used my music. Otros Aires grew because I had to be very
serious and make money. I was less relaxed about getting gigs.
Q: And the name - Otros Aires?
Miguel: My wife created
the name. Different airs.
Q: What was the reception for your music in Barcelona?
Miguel: Everyone was fine
because mostly it was people outside of the Tango world. I was playing in
bars, discos,....We didn't play at places that were for tango dancers.
Q: And your choice of music? style of music? Why did you make those choices?
Miguel: There was a need. I wanted to bring my culture to Barcelona where there is a lot of “mestizaje” - which is a mixture of electronic and different folkloric from around theworld. For example, musicians would take music from Turkey and mix with electronic. I realized that everyone brings their own roots to Barcelona and do interesting things with it.
I really like traditional Tango so it was a feeling more than an idea. Than the idea came. I wanted to mix house music with Tango. First I would find the Tango music I want - not Tango from the 40's but from an earlier period. For example, "Pampa Seca" is a piece of the folkloric song sung by Carlos Gardel at El Carretero. Than I made the rest of the arrangement.
Q: I would say that you lean towards fusion.
Miguel: I like to hear
Q: Did Gotan Project influence you at all?
Miguel: I was working with Tango and electronic 10 years ago. When I first heard Gotan Ithought it was very good. I didn't know they were so successful the first time I heard them. They opened a door. But it wasn't in my mind to make that kind of music. When I was in Barcelona, I didn't know what was happening with Gotan Project around the world.
Q: Do you dance Tango?
Miguel: Yes I do and so
does my wife.
Q: What brought you to Buenos Aires?
Miguel: My wife didn't want to stay in Barcelona anymore and wished to return to Argentina, so we did.
In Buenos Aires, I started playing with musicians of the Tango world. The musical concept became more Porteno ... more Buenos Aires.
I would say that the idea was from Barcelona but the sound is Buenos Aires.
I started making connections with tango players. First i looked for bandoneon player. At the beginning he would make improvisations over the song and I would say, “I like that” and we would play with it and incorporate it into the song.
Almost all the music on the first cd were made in Barcelona. Again the parts of the Bardeoneon were loops.
I would write the song but the arrangement we would make altogether. In the second cd, the musicians are all different from the first one.
Q: The reception of the first cd?
Miguel: It was very good ... around the world. The first tour, in Europe, was with that cd and was very good. The best was the Berlin Tango Festival. It was the concert that opened the door for the rest of Europe. It was like a rock concert. People were screaming and there were a lot of people. After that concert everything changed. Everytime we go to Berlin, we can feel the rock star feeling. :-) But here in Buenos Aires there was a contradiction. We played at traditional milongas and people would say, “that is not really Tango.” Now when we play, we know if it will work and not work. Before we would play many places and we didn't know.
But people are changing...3 years ago it was very complicated. Buenos aires is still more traditional.... not all the people... because the young people are changing it. Now if we want to play, we can play at every milonga. We can play as an orchestra anywhere...but they don't play our cds at the milongas. Maybe because of the sound system or because we are not traditional enough.
Q: It's interesting that many of your songs are milongas. They have a very upbeat feeling.
Miguel: There is a part of Tango that is not sad at all. I like the nostalgic part but not the sad part. And of course, the milonga is the most fun part.
Q: The second cd, Otros Aires Dos, what did you decide to change?
Miguel: The only thing that changed is that it is a better cd. The first cd is like an electronic musician production. The second cd is more like a cd made by a band of people who said “let's make an arrangement.” The concept is probably the same but better made. The actual recording is better made. Also, before we recorded the cd, we played the song at festivals.
When you play at festivals, you can feel how people will respond to the music. It's like a conversation. You can see if the song works. Sometimes you play it one way and it works. Another time it doesn't so maybe you play it faster and the reaction is better.
Q: Differences from Tanghetto/ Gotan Project / Narcotango?
Miguel: I feel that they were influenced by Piazzolla and have stepped beyond. We are based in traditional music. Our roots are all the traditional. Most electronic bands are based in Piazzolla's work.
Q: Future projects?
Miguel: We are working on a dvd, that will be a documentary movie, and a live cd. We are making new songs with traditional music and mixing milonga with other music. Having more tangos in the second cd was not a decision, it just happened. It is my opinion that people are more relaxed with electronic music. We are making new rules.... dancers, and musicians.