Passion of the tango lures Powers

  • Jul 6, 2012
With a name perfectly suited for the Oregon Bach Festival’s 2012 theme “The Power and the Passion,” harmonica virtuoso Joe Powers, along with his international quintet and troupe of dancers, will perform an eclectic mix of traditional and modern tango in a four-city, OBF concert tour July 11-14. Demonstrating the inherent passion of such dances as the milonga, tango, and samba, the group launches the tour in Portland July 11, followed with Bend on July 12, Eugene on July 13, and Ashland on July 14. A native Oregonian, Powers was given a harmonica at age two and has pursued musical adventures ever since. After gaining a music degree from the University of Oregon he traveled and performed in cities from Tokyo to Paris to tango-crazy Buenos Aires, where he honed his world-conquering harmonica skills. Powers won the Belgian Crystal Harmonica Award/Classical Division in 2008. Known for exploring a wide range of genres including jazz fusion, classical, blues, pop rock, hip-hop, Latin, and new age, Powers “can play everything from blues to tango,” writes Rob Cullivan of the Portland Tribune, “and is one of the finest chromatic harmonica players on this planet." But tango is his deepest passion, and for his OBF tour Powers has enlisted some of the tango world’s leading players. Argentine pianist Octavio Brunetti studied classical piano at the National School of Music and has played with many of Argentina’s most important tango musicians and singers. He has collaborated as arranger with composer Osvaldo Golijov, was first-prize winner in the Solo Pianist and Duos categories of the New York International Tango Competition, and has performed and recorded with superstar cellist Yo-Yo Ma. Another Argentine, guitarist Guillermo García, co-founded and has toured and recorded with the San Francisco tango group Trio Garufa. As a dancer, he learned Argentine tango from Buenos Aires masters of the salón, milonguero and nuevo styles, and teaches a weekly tango salón class in San Francisco. He holds a Ph.D. in electrical engineering from Stanford, and has developed audio technology for Gibson Guitar and Silicon Graphics. Bassist Bernardo Gomez and percussionist Jesse Brooke, both active in Portland’s world music scene, complete the quintet. For more concert and ticket information, see the links below or visit our tickets page. The tour is made possible by sponsorship from US Bank.

“Tango Harmonica” concerts, all times 7:30 pm