Gotan Project – Neo Tango

Buenos Aires Argentina

Gotan Project is a musical group based in Paris, consisting of musicians Philippe Cohen Solal (French), Eduardo Makaroff (Argentine) and Christoph H. Müller (Swiss, former member of Touch El Arab).

They formed in 1999. Their first release was Vuelvo Al Sur/El Capitalismo Foraneo in 2000, followed by the album La Revancha del Tango in 2001. Their music is clearly tango, but also uses electronic elements such as samples, beats and breaks.

Live material was also broadcast on Gilles Peterson’s world music show Worldwide on BBC one in May 2004. Philippe Cohen Solal has also released a DJ set: Inspiración Espiración – A Gotan Project DJ Set Selected & Mixed by Philippe Cohen Solal (2004). This album is a compilation of classic tangos from the likes of Anibal Troilo and Ástor Piazzolla and Gotan Project remixes. The album also includes a bonus CD with the track “La Cruz del Sur” – which was meant to be included on La Revancha del Tango, but didn’t make the cut in 2001.

Before Gotan Project, according to an article by Stephen Thanabalan in Rolling Stone magazine, Müller and Cohen Solal formed a duo called “Boyz from Brazil”, but realised the challenge of reinventing tango for the younger generation could be better harnessed with an alchemist’s combination of mixing traditional Ástor Piazzolla fare with electronic beats to appeal to fans at the turn of the millennium who was strongly influenced by Deep House or Trance music.

The song “Santa Maria (del Buen Ayre)” from the La Revancha del Tango album was featured as the music for the main dance sequence in the 2004 movie Shall We Dance, with Jennifer Lopez and Richard Gere. Their music has been featured in American television shows Nip/Tuck and Sex and the City, as well as the 2003 Swedish documentary on consumerism, Surplus. In 2004, they recorded a little-known Piazzolla piece with Brigitte Fontaine: Rue Saint-louis-en-l’île. In late 2006 the track “Epoca” from the La Revancha del Tango album was featured in a UK television advertisement for Boots (the chemists), directed by David LaChapelle.

The name of the trio comes from a form of wordplay very common in Rioplatense Spanish’s argot named vesre. This wordplay involves the reversal of syllables. Thus, the word Tango becomes Gotan, the name the trio have chosen for their project.