TANGO D’VILLE is a tango band in the Louisville, Kentucky area that has been playing tango music for milongas in and around Louisville and Lexington, Kentucky since late 2017. We truly love the music and are always looking for opportunities to perform for an audience and for especially tango dancers. The band’s goal and vision is to continue the tango tradition by playing tangos, not only from Argentina and Uruguay, but tangos from around the world…Tangos del Mundo.
Tango may have originated in the working-class districts of Buenos Aries and Montevideo but it was destined to take the world by storm. During the Golden Age of Tango many of the great tango composers and band leaders provided the music we enjoy today. When tango first came to Europe by way of France, it became an almost instant dance craze. As a result, many Argentine tangos were added to the repertoires being played in the French cafes and dance halls. It didn’t take long before European composers began composing their own style of tango. We have found exciting tango music from countries such as Finland, France, Germany, Poland, and Russia. For example, the very famous Tango Jalousie, was composed by a Dane, Jacob Gade in 1925. Another is the Eduardo Bianco tango Poema. This tango was written while Bianco was living in Europe, having been exiled from Argentina. It is interesting that the country with the second largest following of Tango, after Argentina, is Finland. The wealth of music from Argentina and the World where tango in popular is astonishing.
In fact, there is so much music to choose from that the band, at times, feels like a ‘kid in a candy store’ when selecting the next new tango or vals to include in our tandas. The band develops their tandas according to composers/bands, when possible, but finds that putting tandas together based on tempo and mood create very enjoyable playing and danceable tandas, as well.
Forming Tango D’Ville
Founding members, Laurel Fuson (piano and accordion) and Ray Ihlenburg (accordion) formed “Non Chalante” in 2013 as an accordion duo to play the lovely French musette music heard in the Paris Cafes during the early 1900s. We were finding more and more beautiful tangos to play and decided to study the beginnings and spread of tango throughout the world. As a result of this study, we added many tangos to our repertoire.
In 2016 Ray met Jonas Hurley (double bass) while attending at a week-long summer Tango Musicians workshop under the direction of Cuarteto Tanguero, in Bloomington, Indiana. So, with Laurel agreeing to play piano, a trio was formed. However, a fourth voice was needed in order to form a "tipico" quartet and also to sound as authentic as possible. In late 2017 the band was lucky to meet Priscilla Soto and her wonderful violin. Priscilla’s violin gave us that fourth voice and her talent made the music sing. Finally, Tango D’Ville became a Quarteto Tipico.
Eventually, since so many tangos tell wonderful stories, we decided to add vocals. We had been doing French musette songs with Catherine Thomsen and when she told us she was crazy about tango and could sing the lyrics to our Spanish and French Tangos and Vals, our search was over. Catherine gives our live music a different aspect when she sings a happy, sad, or love story in Spanish or French.
Laurel Fuson (Accordion and Piano) - Playing tango dance music with Tango D’Ville is Laurel’s latest obsession. She has played many genres of music in her life, but dance music has always been her favorite. She started folk dancing in the early 1980s in Louisville and soon began playing piano and then accordion for the dances. In 1983, she formed the band Scots Measure with two other women and they played for Scottish Country dances in Louisville and all over the Midwest for seven years. She retired from playing music for many years, but began again in 2007, when she was recruited to play accordion in My Darling Asleep, a traditional Irish band based in Louisville. She then started the Celtic band, Keltricity, with three other friends in 2009 and can be heard playing Celtic and traditional contra and English dance music with them…when she is not playing piano with Tango D’Ville. Laurel attended tango band camp with Cuarteto Tanguero at South Bend in the summer of 2018.
Jonas Hurley (Double Bass) - After years of playing cello, Jonas took some time away from music for medical school and family. But then in 2013, he realized that bassists are “fairly useful” and since most every type genre/band has a bass, he began to concentrate on playing the electric bass and more importantly, the double bass. Jonas has played soul, rock and roll, bluegrass, and since 2016, tango. He says “It has been wonderful playing with Tango D’Ville for dances and dancers and exploring the interesting history of this dance.” Jonas attended tango band camp with Curateto Tanguero in 2016 and 2017.
Ray Ihlenburg (Accordion) - Ray began studying and playing accordion in 1964 and has hardly missed a day playing since. He has concentrated on playing the ethnic tunes from Ireland, Scotland, Germany, France, Italy, and the Scandinavian countries with a bit of Cajun music from our South. He has played music from these countries for diners’ enjoyment at the Gasthaus in Louisville for over 20 years. However, Latin music always seemed to be his favorite including boleros, cha-chas and most of all tangos because of the rhythms and beautiful, expressive melodies. One of his most difficult obstacles to playing tango was to relearn the accordion in an attempt to mimic the sounds of the bandoneon. He attended summer tango musician workshops in 2016, 2017, and 2018 hosted by Cuarteto Tanguero in Bloomington and South Bend, IN., to better understand the bandoneon’s sounds and contribution to the overall music called Tango. He has been instrumental in bringing many of the selections played by Tango D’Ville based on listening to any source of tango music he can find especially live performances.
Priscilla Soto (Violin and Viola) – Originally from Costa Rica, Priscilla started violin lesson when she was 8 years old. She has been classically trained for years, however her interest in other genres of music lead her to play tango. She was first introduced to tango during her teenage years by playing with her friends in a string quartet. However, it wasn’t until 2017 when she started to play with Tango D’Ville, that she learned more about the genre. During the summer of 2018, she attended the Cuarteto Tanguero Workshop in South Bend, IN, where she learned about specific tango violin techniques that enriched her play with the ensemble. Priscilla’s music education includes an undergraduate in violin performance at Andrews University in Michigan and a master’s in viola performance at the University of Texas at Austin. She is currently pursuing a doctorate in viola performance at the University of Kentucky in Lexington. Besides music she enjoys cooking and spending time with her family and friends.
Catherine Thomsen (Vocals) – Catherine is an experienced singer and performer who is comfortable in a variety of genres including jazz, country, pop, and classical. Originally from Seattle, she studied voice and music theory at the University of Washington. There, she performed not only in college operetta productions, but also in jazz and country groups throughout the city. Over the past few years, she has performed regularly in jazz groups in Kentucky. Catherine joined Tango D'Ville in 2017 and enjoys exploring the sounds and languages of the larger world of tango. Through tango music, she has been able to rekindle her early connections to Spain and France.
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