Osvaldo Peredo with the Elvino Vardaro String Orchestra
"Mi Cancion de Ausencia" (2014)
This video was shot during a 2013 concert with the Elvino Vardaro String Orchestra, featuring Osvaldo Peredo singing his repertoire of classic tangos and the Orquesta Tipica Almagro. We called the event Osvaldo Peredo XXL because it brought together these two separate but linked neighborhood projects to celebrate the voice of Osvaldo who is so important to so many of us. My friend and fellow tango scholar Elsa Broclain and I agreed to film this important event using two cameras which we then planned to edit together into a concert video. My boyfriend Maxi agreed to run one camera while I performed and she would film with the other.
As it turned out about an hour before the show the power went out on the whole block leaving us in complete darkness. Instead of going home we decided to do the concert anyways by candlelight. It was a bit of a gamble to continue with the show since Osvaldo, who was supposed to sing with a microphone to balance his voice with the large orchestra, would have to rely on his voice alone to project. Lucas, who had organized the concert, told us to play as if we were whispering with our instruments and to prioritize listening to Osvaldo at all times. Earlier that day during rehearsal Osvaldo had been concerned that the intimacy of the show was going to be interrupted by the bright stage lights that separated him from his audience. He is not used to playing on a stage since he performed for 15 years in Roberto's bar in the middle of a small room. By the time we performed, intimacy was one thing that was not lacking in the room. As I sat in my seat in the orchestra playing his songs that I know so well, exchanging smiles with my friends as we tried to whisper with our instruments under his incredibly phrased melodies, watching him sing to an audience of dimly candlelit faces, I couldn't help but feel as though this event perfectly exemplified the themes of my dissertation.
Although we could not film with two cameras in the dark, Elsa did film with her camera and I edited the footage into the above clip. As a token to how important the night was to those present and not present, and to how this event so perfectly exemplified the kinds of local economies of feeling that are so valued today in the neighborhood scenes, the clip was shared almost 200 times in the first 24 hours after it was posted. Being able to share and remember moments like these through films is exactly why I turned to filmmaking as a methodology for my research.
This is a recording of one of the concerts played by our community-run tango orchestra, La Orquesta de Cuerdas Elvino Vardaro. Here we are performing in the cultural center, Oliverio Girondo, and are performing with the group La Sonambula. These kinds of performances combining live painting with live music are not uncommon in Buenos Aires today.