Monday, May 2, 2011

A story of finding a bandoneon. Part II - success

After a couple of months of salivating I got lucky. Ben Bogart visited Pittsburgh to perform Maria de Buenos Aires with the Quantum Theatre - it was a pretty good show, by the way - and one night he gave a musicality workshop for the local tango community. Ben is one of the very few Americans who play professionally, and I got really excited because I initially thought, wishfully, that the workshop would focus on playing the bandoneon. Instead it was an exploration of different rhythmic structures in tango for dancing, syncopations and asymmetric rhythms; nevertheless it was very useful and interesting. Had I attended this workshop a year before the musicality of my dancing would have improved instantly, but it was still very helpful to become more conscious of what I'm doing with those step-variations I stole from videos of the old milongueros. If Ben is in your area I do recommend taking this workshop with him.


I digress. After the workshop Ben kindly allowed me to play a bit with his bandoneon, and we also had a dinner together. Ben very patiently answered some of the questions I carried with me for a while. Someone - Trini or Sean, or maybe Sarah mentioned that Timmy Pogros of Cleveland owns a bandoneon he bought many years ago in Buenos Aires, but he is not playing it. When I got home I wrote an email to Timmy asking whether he would consider selling his instrument. To my biggest surprise he said he would. Events accelerated from then on. I asked the opinion of Maxi Gluzman of the instrument (I've heard from a favorite Cleveland follower that he had the chance to use it) who gave me some good advices. Ben was very helpful again and spent with me an hour or so showing on his AA what to look for. Next weekend I took a trip to Cleveland; I met Timmy in the workshop of Alberto Dassieu (I just love that guy) and he let me play around with his concertina. Unfortunately he wouldn't let me to take it back without committing to buy, but he was kind enough to agree to take it back in case Ben would find some major flaws. He told me a price, I wrote a check and brought the bandoneon back home. Unfortunately Ben was very busy with his last days of stay, but we squeezed out some time so that he could take a look at it. He confirmed that it's in a quite good condition, and so the deal was done. Yee, I have a bandoneon!

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