Posts Tagged ‘la linea’

Introducing… Plazia Francia

Posted on April 14th, 2015 in Recent posts by .


The trio are blurring the boundaries between retro tango and contemporary pop. Alexandra Petropoulos reports.

Plaza Francia might be a new name to many of our readers, but the folks behind the group are certainly no new kids on the block. The group combines the electro-tango genius of Eduardo Makaroff and Christoph Müller (Gotan Project) with the queen of French pop, Catherine Ringer (formerly part of Les Rita Mitsouko). As Plaza Francia they explore the space between tango, pop and rock, which finds the long-form, largely instrumental tango that we have come to love from Gotan Project condensed into bite-sized songs airing closer to the acoustic than electronic.

That Ringer is the only voice of Plaza Francia is a testament to how well the project came together. “I had this idea to write songs inspired by tango,” Makaroff explains, “and we wanted them to be songs interpreted by women. We started to think about singers and we had some in mind.” He admits that their original idea was to have several different singers and voices across the album. They asked Ringer, planning to record just two songs, but “it was simply so great. So we asked Catherine if she would be OK to do everything!”

Ringer is the perfect match, her sultry voice perfectly blurs those lines between tango and pop, and the traditional and contemporary. “It was more about classic songwriting without being necessarily retro,” Makaroff elaborates. “Especially with the lyrics, it’s contemporary. It’s a hybrid form because it mixes a lot of different elements but the main ingredient is Argentinian tango.”

As such, each of the songs on their debut album, A New Tango Songbook, are in Argentinian Spanish, forcing Ringer, who does not speak Spanish, to step outside of her comfort zone. “I made work of learning the songs and translating, knowing every word, to jump deeply in the songs, to know the songs.” And yet despite her extensive research, she reassures me that “you don’t have to understand the lyrics. The thing is to feel the songs.”

She tells me that while she enjoyed diving into the world of tango, it wasn’t completely unfamiliar territory. “In French songs we have a tango feeling. In the 1920s we were fond of tango so it’s not so strange for us. It was a pleasure to jump into tango. And they wanted someone who was a tango virgin,” she laughs. “I am no more a virgin.”

Ringer has a tango soul and when asked what that means she elaborates: “The tango soul is to be dramatic, to be intense and to give suspense in the song… and humour.” Makaroff cuts in, “and sensuality,” he pauses reflectively. “Tango is life.”

+ DATES Plaza Francia will perform on April 23 at KOKO as part of La Linea. Find out more.

+ ALBUM A New Tango Songbook will be reviewed in the June (#108) issue.

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La Linea 2014 announces line-up

Posted on February 13th, 2014 in Live, News, Recent posts by .


La Linea, the London Latin Music Festival, returns once again this spring – April 3-May 2 – with another stellar line-up featuring Gaby Moreno, Ed Motta, Roberto Fonseca and more.

Founded in 2001, ¡Como No! have succeeded in bringing the very best Latin music artists to the capital; Mala Rodríguez, Madredeus and Orquesta Buena Vista Social Club are just some of the big names to have performed in the past.

On April 4 Rich Mix, in the heart of London’s East End, welcomes Guatemalen singer-songwriter and 2013 Latin Grammy winner, Gaby Moreno. This year’s Grammy nominee Roberto Fonseca (Buena Vista Social Club) brings his blend of Afro-Cuban jazz to KOKO on April 8, with support from London’s very own Family Atlantica.

This year’s full line-up:

April 3, Concrete
Karol Conka featuring Lady Chann + Mr Bongo Brazilian Beats DJs
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April 4, Rich Mix
Gaby Moreno
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April 4, Union Chapel
London Community Gospel Choir featuring Omar Puente and his band
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April 6, Southbank Centre’s Purcell Room
More info

April 7, Union Chapel
Ed Motta + Dom La Nena
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April 8, KOKO
Roberto Fonseca + Family Atlantica
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April 10, Rich Mix
Lokkhi Terra presents CubAfrobeat featuring Dele Sosimi
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April 11, Rich Mix
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May 2, Electric Brixton
Grupo Niche + DJs Johnny G, Julian Mr M, Fercho KBson
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Highlights of La Linea 2013:


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The Songlines La Linea 2013 Playlist

Posted on April 12th, 2013 in News, Recent posts by .

La Linea 2013 kicks off tonight 

La Linea 2013 – The London Latin Music Festival – kicks off tonight in two great London venues. Toumani Diabaté, Arnaldo Antunes & Edgard Scandurra come together to play music from their album A Curva Da Cintura at the Union Chapel. Originally a one-off festival collaboration, the Malian kora legend comes together with both Brazilian musicians on what will be a special night. Click here to buy tickets.

Following on from that, La Linea moves south of the river to the Electric Brixton, where Havana D’Primera team up with a whole host of DJs to get you into the full Latin swing into the early hours. Click here to buy tickets.

Tickets are still available for both events. For more information about all the La Linea concerts please visit

Songlines has created a Deezer playlist featuring acts playing over the festival. Listen below.

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La Linea Festival 2013

Posted on March 8th, 2013 in News, Recent posts by .

Now in it’s 13th year, La Linea – the London Latin Music festival – returns this April. Brimming with the best contemporary Latin music, it aims to bring contemporary Latin music to a broader audience, to celebrate and champions new artists, collaborations and innovative projects.

BRASS BAND BATTLE – MEXICO vs BALKANS: Banda Estrellas de Sinaloa de Gérman Lizarraga vs Boban & Marko Markovic Orkestar (Barbican, April 14)

In the first corner there’s Mexican Banda Estrellas de Sinaloa de Germán Lizarraga, whose career spans over 60 years with an impressive output of 194 records. Starting in his father’s band in Sinaloa, Germán Lizarraga later – in a bid to modernise Latin music – developed a new concept called ‘Sonido Turbo.’ In the process of collecting musicians for his new sound, Banda Estrellas de Sinaloa de Germán Lizarraga was born.

The opposition are Balkan big-guns Boban & Marko Markovic Orkestar. The father and son led 13-piece orchestra hail from Southern Serbia, and have existed since the 80s. They remain true to their own gypsy lineage, whilst consistently acknowledging other related cultural and musical traditions within their music.

Perhaps not an obvious choice for a brass band battle, historical context aptly proves the reverse. Yugoslavia in the 50s was no longer shackled to Stalin’s rule and, at a loss for a frame of cultural reference, they strangely turned to Mexico. Imported Mexican films were full of musica ranchera, which perfectly matched the Yugoslavian mind-frame at the time and inspired a multitude of Yugoslavian imitations. Meanwhile, in an act of unconscious symmetry across the world, an ever-increasing love of Balkan music spread into Mexico. In fact, the day before this brass band-off is the Festival Balagan Balkan 2013 in Mexico City.

WIN a pair of tickets to the show. Click here to enter.

A CURVA DA CINTURA: Toumani Diabaté, Arnaldo Antunes & Edgard Scandurra (Union Chapel, April 12)

Originally a one-off festival collaboration, A Curva Da Cintura, composed of Malian kora legend Toumani Diabaté and Brazilian musicians Arnaldo Antunes and Edgard Scandurra, will be performing at Union Chapel, April 12.

Antunes and Scandurra had been playing together for a number of years, touring and performing at various concerts, during one of which – the 2010 Back2Black Festival in Rio de Janiero – they performed with Diabaté. Struck by their achievements, Diabaté invited them to Bamako to record an album. In 2011 the Brazilian musicians arrived in Mali with a collection of new songs and the intention of expanding them under rock’n’roll, African roots and blues influences. The result – recorded primarily on electric and acoustic guitar and kora is a stunning Afro-Brazilian fusion. A rich complex sound, where Diabaté’s kora provides a mesmerising contrast to the sombre tones of Antunes’ voice.

WIN a pair of tickets to the show PLUS a signed copy of the album from all three artists. Click here to enter.


Full Line-up

HAVANA D’PRIMERA + Cuban salsa DJs Javier La Rosa, Dr Jim  & DJ Rich
Friday, April 12, 9pm-3am
Electric Brixton, Town Hall Parade, London SW2 1RJ,

A CURVA DA CINTURA: Toumani Diabaté, Arnaldo Antunes & Edgard Scandurra
Friday, April 12, doors 7pm
Union Chapel, Compton Terrace, London N1 2XD,

BRASS BAND BATTLE – MEXICO vs BALKANS: Banda Estrellas de Sinaloa de Gérman Lizarraga vs Boban & Marko Markovic Orkestar
Sunday, April 14, 7:30pm
Barbican Hall, Silk Street, London EC2Y 8DS,

BUIKA + The London Lucumi Choir
Thursday, April 18, doors 7pm
Union Chapel, Compton Terrace, London N1 2XD,

Thursday, April 18, doors 8pm
Village Underground, 54 Holywell Lane, Shoreditch, London EC2A 3PQ,

LA RAZA: London Latin Hip-Hop Festival
Featuring Street Souls + Los Ministros de la Habana + Proyecto Viva Cuba + Indio Lyrico + Sangre Latina and more
Friday, April 19, 8pm-1am
Rich Mix, 35-47 Bethnal Green Road, London E1 6LA,

ANA MOURA + António Zambujo
Saturday, April 20, 7:30pm
Barbican Hall, Silk Street, London EC2Y 8DS,, Box office: 020 7638 8891
Click here for tickets

MARCELO BRATKE  – Bach and Bachianas + TangOpera
Wednesday, April 24, 7:45pm
Purcell Room, Southbank Centre, Belvedere Road London SE1 8XX, 

MERIDIAN BROTHERS + Chancha Via Circuito + El G + Tourism DJs
Thursday, April 25, 8pm-1am
Cargo, 83 Rivington Street, London EC2A 3AY,


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