"So Silvana walks on stage and everything else kind of falls away. Yeah, the lighting, the proportions of the stage, the distance between the listener, the observer, and the singer, actress, everything. I’ve seen it, I’ve been there. If she walks into the frame of the movie, everything else becomes a distant, shaded, background: the other actors, the lighting; and, as only in others of the rarest cases of charisma, the framing actually dissipates. Again, I’ve seen it. And fuck those of you who are so deaf to the tango as to have snickered when reading an account of the truth.
On stage, the other players are still there, it’s still the context, the bandoneon, the stern faces in their places, but it’s only a context in which Sylvana’s music, through which Silvana, that tango, can be accessed. She could go to the front of the stage (say, if the sound system fell apart, and the musicians stopped...) and kneel on the edge of it, and sing a capella, and an audience of three thousand would push to the front, not just to hear her fantastic voice, but to be closer to the perfume, the scent of that tango.
We all know that the tango’s not really a music. It’s the intense, dark glow and romance surrounding a player. Expectations of a history, or of a danger. Maybe of a chance to access a darkness still inside the listener, or whatever. I guess that’s where the danger reference comes in. The macho Tango around Astor, or Goyenche or (still) around Gardel. But the female tango is just as intense. Inverse, but just as strong a scent, just as dark. It’s the female confidence of that tango around Sylvana that makes the surroundings dissipate. For a second.
And the voice, of course: it’s not just the perfect intonation or gorgeous tone, it’s the swing behind the anticipation, it’s that sound and swagger of sex made audible. Aw, you knew that already. That’s why you’re listening to this record.
Maybe restating the obvious, what made Astor the King of the Tango wasn’t really the formal innovations, the layers of dark and light and counterpoint, and shifting, viscerally breathtaking, chordal changes and complex references in his compositions. It was the fact that he had the guts and vision and defiance and fight to change the music he inherited into something that described the darkness inside himself. What made Malvi, Pablo, Suarez Paz and Console the best tango band of our time wasn’t their awesome command of their instruments (although I dare you to name any other musicians with as deep technical skills), but it was the way they took Astor’s music, and dangers, and arrogantly made it so naturally parts of their own personal swaggers. And what makes Sylvana the Queen of the Tango has, of course, even less to do with compositional or instrumental innovations than in Astor’s case. It has, though just as much to do with the darkness that she arrogantly surrounds herself with, and with that pause, and that sexual anticipation, y’know, that tango.
Anyway, all that shit about the tango dying, or being antiquated, or whatever. There’s really nothing in the tango that can be superseded. There’s never going to be a time when we won’t be able to feel the dark glow, and not be able to smell the sex in the danger around Silvana. Yeah, the real tango."