Three for tango at the Kennedy Center

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Entertainment,Music,Marie Gullard

"Tango violin" is not necessarily a style of playing you hear bandied about very often. But then again, neither is Urban Tango Trio, appearing Sunday at the Kennedy Center's Millennium Stage. Both are quite unique and have dazzled audiences in New York, Washington, South Carolina, Virginia and Japan.

"The violin itself is the same, however classical and tango violin have similarities and differences," explained Machiko Ozawa, who formed the trio and plays alongside Pedro Giraudo on bass and Octavio Brunetti at the piano. "Tango violin has a greater connection to rhythm but also has a beautiful, full-bodied sound."

That sound, by the way, captures all of the passion and excitement of Argentine tango in a repertoire consisting of traditional favorites and contemporary interpretations. The group Urban Tango Trio, interpreters of this sound, released its first, self-titled album in 2011.

"I started to play Argentine tango composer Astor Paizzolla's works, and then I met Octavio Brunetti ... a fabulous tango player," Ozawa continued. "At our first rehearsal, he recommended I play a few traditional tango songs. ... I completely fell in love with the exotic and beautiful music."

Onstage
Urban Tango Trio
» Where: Kennedy Center Millennium Stage, 2700 F St. NW
» When: 6 p.m. Sunday
» Info: Free; 202-467-4600; 800-444-1324; kennedy-center.org; part of the National Cherry Blossom Festival

The trio itself is quite unique, as each member has a different musical background. Ozawa, a native of Japan, was classically trained, while Giraudo came from a jazz background. Brunetti had the tango background. The trio plans on performing some of Piazzolla's music as well as traditional works from Argentina and Europe.

"Our interpretation for this kind of music is very powerful and unique, but we have respect for the greatness of tango music and its composers," Ozawa said. "In addition, we are all 'tangueros,' which means we all dance tango, too!"

Urban Tango Trio's performance is a part of the S&R Foundation's Overtures Spring Concert Series celebrating the National Cherry Blossom Festival.

"We received such a positive response from the Overtures Series last year and are thrilled to partner with the National Cherry Blossom Festival once again to add to the festival's rich musical programs. To allow the Overtures Series' artists to reach a greater audience, this spring's series will include performances at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts," said Dr. Sachiko Kuno, president and CEO of the S&R Foundation.

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