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Martin Alvarado Interview

martin alvarado

Martin Alvarado Interview

Martín Alvarado is widely considered to be Argentina’s most significant contemporary tango singer and increasingly, acknowledged as one of the finest vocalists in tango’s history. He has performed all over the world and also won a UK Award in 2013 for ‘Best Concert by an International Artist’.

So when we heard that Argentinean tenor was back in the UK to perform a number of intimate concerts we wanted to find out more about one of Argentina’s finest performers.

LM: Martin, Can you describe yourself in one word?
MA: Authentic

LM: Where were you born?
MA: Buenos Aires in the barrio (neighbourhood) of Flores

LM: How old where you when you discovered you had a talent for singing?
MA: I was 19 – I discovered by chance while I was studying guitar at music school.

LM: When did you learn to play the guitar?
MA: Even before even thinking of becoming a singer I thought I wanted to be a guitar player. So I took lessons at 19, which I left pretty unattended after discovering my talent to sing, from the very beginning of my musical formation. For many years I only worked as a singer. But later on, when I was in real need of an accompaniment that I could rely on 24 hours a day I worked hard to become the “one man band” I am now.

LM: Were your family supportive about your singing?
MA: The role of my family in my life and career is essential. They were not so supportive at the beginning of it when I had my rock bands but they went accepting it more and more with every good step I took. It’s been years now and they never miss any of my shows in Argentina and they follow me via internet everywhere in the world I go.

LM: Do you remember the first time you sung in front of an audience?
MA: Of course! I will never forget that. It was at music school and I do not remember having had my entire body shaking the way it did that day ever again.

LM: What is your greatest musical achievement to date?
MA: My main musical achievement is to have a style of my own.

LM: Who are your musical influences?
MA: Well… many artists influenced me and still do. Tango singer Ruben Juarez, musician Astor Piazzolla, tango poet Homero Manzi, British rock singer Glenn Hughes and Stevie Wonder.

LM: When you’re in the car or on a plane who do you listen to on your radio or MP3 player?
MA: I usually listen to a fantastic radio broadcaster from Argentina: Alejandro Dolina. When I am on tour I usually listen to argentinian radio to keep myself updated with the news and – of course – the fortunes of my favourite football team, Banfield. I also listen to the rock bands Deep Purple and Black Country Communion, Bruno Mars has been playing recently too, plus Sananda Maitreya (Terence Trent D’Arby).

LM: What was the last song you heard? (excluding your own)
MA: The last song I remember to have heard is “Where did the time go” by Hughes/Thrall.

LM: Can you tell us your most memorable moment of your current UK tour?
MA: The standing ovation I got at the end of my concert at the “Nordic Church” in Liverpool on November 2.

LM: What is the first thing you will do when you get back to Argentina?
MA: As usual… drink some “mate” with my parents and visit my lovely eight-year-old son. (Mate is a South American caffeine-rich infused drink)

LM: What are your plans for next year as far as your music goes?
MA: I am working on three new albums – all of them very different. One I expect to release next year is with my talented Finnish friend Mikko Helenius who is joining me on this tour of the UK. Mikko is a great pianist and bandoneon player and he has also written arrangements for a string quartet for some of the the songs on this album. I am hoping there may be an opportunity to perform these with a UK-based quartet in Britain next year and possibly also in Canada and the USA for the first time.

The other albums I am working on are a second with Argentinian guitarist Horacio Avilano. Our first together was released by the UK-based world music label Riverboat Records in August – Guitar Tango: Mas Alla. It would be great if Horacio and his quartet of the guitarists could could tour internationally with me next year as we have never yet performed outside of Argentina.

The third album is another interesting project in its early stages with talented Finnish pianist Matti Laukkanan with whom I have worked with before on my third album with the Finnish tango nuevo quintet Otra Vez.

In addition to this I have performances in the Piazzolla operita Maria de Buenos Aires and tango festivals in Finland lined up plus some concerts in Russia. I will be returning to the UK at the beginning of May for another tour – I know it includes a date in Gloucestershire and there will be other dates but we are still working on the dates and venues. Watch this space, as you say!

Martin’s initimate Leicestershire performance is at the Quorn Village Hall on Friday, November 8, at 8pm, is part of Alvarado’s seventh tour of Britain.

Tickets for the concert are £12 on the door or £10 in advance from Quorn Post Office or from Musicglue