Cape Town Tango Ensemble at Suidoosterfees

Cape Town Tango Ensemble at Suidoosterfees

Cape Town Tango Ensemble to keep the passion of the Tango alive and kicking at this year’s Suidoosterfees

The Next 48hOURS spoke to the Cape Town Tango Ensemble about their upcoming performance at this year’s Suidoosterfees.

Q:        Tell us about the origins of the Cape Town Tango Ensemble and how the group came together.
A:         I started CT Tango Ensemble in 1996 as an Accordion & Piano Duo together with Liza Geldenhuys. Originally we planned to play a few concerts with Tango theme although the programme did not include only Tango music. One year later she moved to Pretoria & Albert Combrink took her place. In the next few years, besides adding more and more real Tango repertoire, we added two more musicians on Double Bass & Violin. By the late 2000 we had the quartet. Since then we’ve performed many times with great success at all major Arts festivals all over South Africa & Namibia. We even toured in Germany in 2011.
We’ve released 3 CDs: ‘El Tango en Africa’, ‘Tango Club’, which was nominated for Best Instrumental Album at 2011 SAMAS and ‘Tango Dreams’ in 2014.

Q:        For those not in the know, please give us a rundown on Tango music and what makes it so special.
A:         Tango started in Latin America and more specifically in Buenos Aires, Argentina and Monte Video, Uruguay. However, Tango very similarly to Jazz was a style of music that appeared as a result of mixing people from different cultures, different races etc. who were living together and trying to entertain themselves in their spare time. By making music together, dancing with each other they created a culture that has got a little bit from everywhere. Therefore today, we have people playing, listening and dancing Tango all over the world.

Q:        How popular would you say Tango music is in Cape Town?
A:         Tango is fairly popular in South Africa and it gains more and more interest. We as a Tango band have got two different followings. The one group study and dance Argentinean Tango. The other group would be concert-goers the ones who sit down and listen to our music. Therefore we also have 2 different repertoires.

Q:        What can people look forward to from your set at the Suidoosterfees?
A:         We are presenting a new show for the Suidoosterfees, called ‘Tango Story’. We will take the audience on a journey through time and play them Tangos from the early days up to today. They can expect to hear music by Carlos Gardel (the composer and singer of the famous ‘Por Una Cabeza’ or as the South Africa public knows the song from the film, ‘Scent of a Woman’) to original compositions.

Q:        For anyone inspired to explore the world of Tango music, where would you recommend they start their journey? And which acts should they absolutely check out on the way?
A:         They can go look up Carlos Gardel, Anibal Troilo, Carlos di Sarli, Astor Piazzolla, Richard Galliano, Daniel Barenboim, Yo-yo Ma, Placido Domingo and of course Cape Town Tango Ensemble.

Q:        Where can people find/buy your music? And where can they keep updated with your performance schedule?
A:         Go to See also and follow us on twitter at

* The Suidoosterfees runs from April 27 to May 1 at Artscape. Visit for the full programme.