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World Music CD Reviews Greater Latin America

Oana Catalina Chitu

By Tom Jackson
Published October 23, 2008

Bucharest Tango
Asphalt Tango

It's a love affair recorded in faded photographs and scratchy shellac -­ more than seventy years ago, Tango stole the heart of Europe. From Paris to Warsaw, cafes and bars shook to the strutting, proud, sexy rhythm from Buenos Aires. Here, Berlin-based singer Chitu attempts to capture the moment when the bittersweet sounds of tango echoed from the finest restaurants of Bucharest and Romanian tango had its own stars such as Jean Moscopel and the gypsy singer Xavaidoc. In a theatrical performance ­- the CD derives from a stage show -­ she delivers melodies freighted with sad-eyed poems of regret. Instantly appealing, Chitu's voice has all the knowingness of this world-weary form, especially on "Mana Birjar," when her register drops to a Dietrich-esque growl. Her performance brings to life once again thesedelightful songs of passion, regret, betrayal and smoking, and for a brief moment the love affair is rekindled.