Lorena Guillén Tango Ensemble
...a gem of a performing ensemble..." (The Classical Voice of North Carolina)
Lorena Guillén, voice and artistic director
Alejandro Rutty, piano, bass, composer and arranger
Jacqui Carrasco, violin
Guy Capuzzo, guitar
Adam Ricci, piano
Erik Schmidt, percussion
With its mesmerizing style and sound, the Lorena Guillén Tango Ensemble has captivated audiences with soulful arrangements of Argentine tango standards and original compositions that create a dynamic tango and pan-Latin fusion. The musicians in the group each have rich and extensive experience in Argentine tango, jazz, classical and contemporary music, and other world and popular music styles, all of which can be heard on their debut recording, The Other Side of My Heart.
Based in North Carolina, the group has been committed to collaborations and concerts with some of the Triangle and Triad “milongas” and tango-dance organizations: “Durham-Tango” and “Alma-Tango” (WS), with which it has shared the stage in many occasions in concerts, festivals and workshops. There has been also a continuous community engagement with the most prominent Latino organizations of the region, such as Casa Azul of Greensboro and the Hispanic League of Winston Salem; the ensemble new recording reflects that commitment. Developed by Lorena Guillén (lyricist/vocalist) and Alejandro Rutty (composer/bass player), The Other Side of My Heart, is an oral-history musical piece based on interviews with six Latina immigrants to NC. The women’s testimonies became the lyrics of six songs, and fragments of their recorded voices can be heard throughout the piece.
Just this past year 2019, the ensemble developed “In The Embrace of Tango: Jewish Tango Project,” a program that explores Argentine tango and its crossed-path with Jewish culture: tango in the pre-WWII Europe, later in the ghettos, in the early 20th century NYC and Buenos Aires Yiddish theater and through compositions of the first generation of Argentine-Jewish composers. Concerts were presented at the Levin Jewish Community Center (Durham), for the Shalom Club (Raleigh) and in a mini-workshop and concert along with the singer-students of the UNCG University Chorale (Carol Ott, conductor) and tango dancers Eduardo and Alicia Lazarowski (Durham-Tango).
Many of these creative initiatives have been generously funded by grants from the following organizations, which have supported the group's creation of original works, audio-recording, video-recording and implementation of workshops: ArtsGreensboro “Regional Artist Project,” New-Music USA, and “Diversity-Mini-Grant” from UNCG-College of Visual and performing Arts.
The Lorena Guillén Tango Ensemble has performed “The Other Side of My Heart” and many other selections from their recent recording throughout North Carolina and beyond, including concerts in the Winston-Salem’s annual FIESTA (a free street festival that draws over 20,000 visitors), the Hispanic League’s “Colorful Sounds in Concert” and the Music Carolina SummerFest; in Durham for the Mallarmé Chamber Players; in Greensboro for Guilford College, Triad Stage’s UpStage Cabaret, and the Music For-A-Great-Space series; at the Blowing Rock Art & History Museum Summer Concert Series; at High Point University; in Georgia at Georgia Southern University, and in California (greater LA) at Alvas Showroom, LA Harbor College and Crafton College.
Over the years, the ensemble has presented its music in national and international stages: Kleinhans Music Hall and the Calumet Arts Café in Buffalo, NY; MusicBox Theater and Folk Research Center in Saint Lucia, West Indies; Frick Museum Summer Concerts (PA), and at the Center stage Series at the Sangre de Cristo Auditorium (CO). The Lorena Guillén Tango Ensemble has also been featured recently in live radio and TV broadcasts, including performances on WUNC’s “The State of Things” with Frank Stasio (NPR affiliate in Chapel Hill, NC); on KUNM’s “Corazón Tanguero” with Cristina Baccin (NPR affiliate in Albuquerque, NM); and on Fox8News in High Point, NC.
Interested in engaging young audiences, and with the idea that music is the best ambassador to appreciate cultural diversity, the ensemble has participated over the years in many outreach programs at universities such as Bennington College (VT), Mary Washington University (VA) Hartwick College (NY), University of Maryland-College Park (MD), Rutgers University (NJ), Elon University (NC), and at many public schools in Guilford County, NC.
This spring 2020, they will travel to Atlanta to perform as guests of the “Emory Tango Ensemble” concert and “milonga.” The ensemble is planning a series of concerts, in their 2020-2021 season, including the premiere of a newly commissioned work, Tango Concerto Grosso, for tango ensemble and orchestra, which will be performed with four youth orchestras from around North Carolina (Greensboro, Durham, Winston-Salem and Charlotte).