Max Masri and Bridging Tradition and Innovation in Tango.
Bridging Traditions and Innovations In the late 1990s, Max Masri's curiosity led him to embark on a unique musical experiment centered around the soulful rhythms of Buenos Aires. Having nurtured a passion for composition and nurtured by lessons from the esteemed tango composer Virgilio Expósito, Masri's initial exposure to music was far from the traditional tango scene. Instead, he had honed his skills through the prism of popular genres like rock and pop. Masri's journey into the world of tango was unconventional.
Guided by Expósito, he found himself delving into the intricacies of tango composition and melody, all while lacking a formal instrumental background. This became a defining aspect of his project, Tanghetto. Rather than conforming to the typical tango instrumentalist archetype, Masri's unique musical perspective paved the way for a distinctive sound that blended electronic elements with traditional tango sensibilities. As he reminisces about his early days as a student, Masri recalls moments of doubt and surprise. The exchange of melodies and conversations with Expósito formed the foundation of his musical education. Through this mentorship, he not only grasped the essence of tango but also discovered his own penchant for pushing boundaries. An unexpected encounter with the bolero "Vete de mí" shed light on Masri's inclination toward innovation.
Traditional tango wasn't his first choice; he craved something distinct, something that would stand out. It's a tale of unexpected turns and rapid ascents. From the release of their first albums, "Emigrante" and "Hybrid Tango," to Grammy Latino nominations, Tanghetto's trajectory appeared meteoric. Yet, within the whirlwind of success, there remained an underlying desire to process the experience. Despite being elevated to a global stage, Masri often found himself oscillating between surreal moments of recognition and the humbler realities of life back in Buenos Aires. The paradox of achieving international acclaim while remaining rooted in the undercurrents of the local music scene wasn't lost on Masri. He humorously recounts the contrast between rubbing shoulders with music legends in Los Angeles and returning home to the familiar rhythms of the Buenos Aires circuit.
The juxtaposition between red carpet events and down-to-earth performances underscored the dynamic nature of Tanghetto's journey. Perhaps one of the most intriguing aspects of Tanghetto's story is the tension between fitting in and standing out. While Masri initially struggled with the idea of not quite fitting the conventional mold, he eventually embraced Tanghetto's distinctiveness. The project's name itself didn't anticipate the strong tie to tango that would emerge, with traditional tango enthusiasts warmly adopting the new sound.
The blend of electronic and tango elements invited both intrigue and skepticism, causing Tanghetto to become a topic of fascination among journalists and music enthusiasts alike. Yet, despite accolades and achievements, Masri admits to moments of uncertainty. As the project matured and took on a life of its own, he grappled with questions of identity and belonging.
The tension between innovation and the desire for acceptance within the broader Argentine musical landscape remained a complex theme. As Tanghetto approached its first decade, Masri contemplated its evolution. From a daring experiment that juxtaposed electronic and traditional tango elements, Tanghetto evolved into an unexpected emblem of Argentine music around the world. Through the lens of Masri's journey, one thing becomes clear: Tanghetto isn't just a musical endeavor; it's a reflection of personal growth, innovation, and the delicate dance between tradition and modernity.