Premiere. Los Amados sing Gardel with their own humorous and tropical style

Carlos Gardel is an indisputable icon of tango, but his rich repertoire allows for different approaches. For example the one of The Beloved, which recreate some of his most famous songs to the rhythm of son, cha cha cha and candombe. A more tropical Gardel, let’s say. The show in which they throw themselves fully into this adventure is called Burning Gardel and Lepera and will be presented, starting on January 21 and in six unique performances, at the Belgrano Auditorium.

During the period in which they worked together for the North American film production company Paramount Pictures –between 1932 and 1935–, Gardel and Alfredo Le Pera composed a handful of unforgettable songs. Some of them (“Cuesta abajo”, “Soledad”, “Melodía de arrabal”, “Rubias de New York”, “Sol tropical”) will be reinterpreted in these six evenings proposed by this Argentine company that, through an aesthetic that its members define as “kitsch-tropical”, it fuses theater and Latin American music with a humorous imprint but it is no less sensitive for that.

The leader of Los Amados is its singer, Alejandro Viola (transformed on stage into the seductive Chino Amado), supported by Carolina Alberdi (piano and accordion), Fernando Costa (percussion), Wilson Ortíz (guitar and bass), Matías Bahillo (guitar and trumpet), Alejandro Bordas (guitar), Esteban Freydier (sax) and Paulina Torres (voice) . “When we approach figures as important as that of the Cuban Ernesto Lecuona, that of the Mexican Agustín Lara or, in this new show, that of Carlos Gardel, we try to tell something of the lives of these artists with a delicate humor –explains Viola–. The world in which they lived, the context in which they composed the songs that are part of the show. We are always careful that these songs do not lose the musical richness with which they were created, even if we transform them into a bolero or a son. In this case Diego Vila gave us a great hand in the arrangements, someone who has been researching the compositions of Gardel and Le Pera for many years”.

Actor, teacher, playwright and singer, Viola recognizes Les Luthiers -the fabulous group that has just announced its retirement from the stage after more than fifty years of career- as important references, the inescapable figures of the under Buenos Aires from the 80s (Alejandro Urdapilleta, Batato Barea, Humberto Tortonese, the Gambas al Ajillo), the musical and choreographic shows of the Botton Tap, the Cuban orchestras of the 50s and even the stainless steel Elton John. The history of him leading Los Amados is long: it started in the late 80s as an adventure shared with friends who worked with him in an advertising agency. Los Amados stepped on the mythical stage of Cemento, opened for Los Twist and Los Auténticos Decadentes and also performed at the Club del Vino and in very important Buenos Aires theaters: the Margarita Xirgu, the Astros, the Rojas. Always with a recipe in which an essential ingredient is what Viola calls “investigation of feelings”: “Out of modesty, many times we don’t talk so much about our feelings,” she analyzes. We waste time discussing more ‘serious’ things. And it’s a shame, because love always brings out the best in one. There’s something about that uncontrollable feeling of being in love that’s terrific. People who watch our shows enjoy this perspective on love.”

There is an obvious imprint on the aesthetics of Los Amados: the colorful style of Pedro Almodóvar’s films and the cross between bolero and melodrama that the Spanish director always worked so well were an undeniable influence. In different shows the group was adding videos and radio plays made with slides to enrich their proposal. “But we never change the lyrics of the songs we cover,” Viola clarifies. We can resort to parody to stage those songs, but if you close your eyes and listen, you won’t know that you’re watching a show with humor”.

The current formation of Los Amados, hilarious and talented
The current formation of Los Amados, hilarious and talented

The plan for this year, apart from these nights at the Belgrano Auditorium, is to undertake a tour of Argentina and some Latin American countries. It is an ambitious and necessary return to the ring after the forced parenthesis of the pandemic: “We went through that stage with the same anguish that all cultural workers went through,” Viola remarks. In the case of musical groups like ours, the reactivation was not entirely fast because there are not so many places to play and on top of that the protocols limited the possibilities quite a bit. We had to go step by step, in the places that were opening up: I started singing with two musicians, then there were five of us and in the end all eight of us were able to do it. Now yes, Los Amados are full”.

Burning Gardel and Lepera. Functions: Saturday 21 and Friday 27 January; Saturdays 4, 11, and 18, and Friday, February 24, always at 9:00 p.m. in the Belgrano Auditorium, Virrey Loreto 2348. Tickets: $4,000, $3,500 and $3,000, for sale through www.entradauno.com

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Premiere. Los Amados sing Gardel with their own humorous and tropical style