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Pianists Exequiel Mantega and Diego Schissi are two of the most sophisticated and innovative expressions of contemporary tango. This shows a troubled scene, but at the same time so diverse that it offers identity questions. At that point they agreed that the future of aesthetics will be “necessarily plural” with the challenge “of being ever better” to resist a reality that places the genre “in all its versions, either outside the interest of the market.”
Mantega is a pianist, composer, teacher and producer. He is the co-founder, along with the flutist Paulina Fain, of the Civil Association Tango Sin. Schissi is the leader of a disruptive quintet that will celebrate ten years of experience. They gathered to reflect on the present and future of music that represents the City of Buenos Aires.
“There is a golden era of tango that is unattainable. But at the same time tango is still a field that continues to function and stirring. In that context, we are challenged to be better and resist,” Schissi said. “Culture is always the first coletazo in times of crisis, everywhere. Anyway, there are good reasons to see the future with some hope,” Mantega completed.
DS: I think there are different routing. Of course there are things that have a greater commercial possibility and also harder lines closer to the cutting edge. It happened to (Horacio) Salgán at the time. I feel like all those lines are going to develop. I feel more identified, without dismerging any, with which it places music above singing, dancing or visual display. A little old-fashioned. And it is clear that, in that place, the challenge is to survive. Because today we don't give any revenues in commercial terms.
EM: From Tango Sin Fin we promote contemporary music and have made contact with the youngest musicians. And that gives a lot of hope. And you think that those lines Diego is talking about will be deepening. And that in 10 years everyone will have three or four records on their backs and that scene will be better.
DS: The challenge is to keep doing something of quality because context doesn't help. They see us that what we do is clearly not tango, it is not clearly salable, nor is it clearly piazzolleano. There are many misunderstandings that only time — if we survive — can bless us. But, in the general picture, the future will be necessary and definitely plural.
EM: The phrase “this is not tango” I would take it out. We cannot always dwell on the same discussions.
DS: Music is increasingly absorbed by what is commercial and all tango is outside that circuit and therefore the interest of many people who make decisions and also those who consume music. But, even in that context, each and more of the lines of contemporary tango becomes more and more definitional. He's increasingly raison d'être. And he's taking possession of the spaces. There's a “now it's up to you” that works. There's still something there that tells us to a place that makes sense.
Publication Date: 11/07/2019
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