To the world outside North Carolina, Asheville might seem like an odd place to find a professional tango orchestra, but it makes perfect sense to those of us who love the place for its wide-open scene for arts, culture and spiritual adventuring of all kinds.
Michael Luchtan, the musical director of the Asheville Tango Orchestra, found his way here a few years ago from Portland, by way of Mexico, where he was working on an amazing project about the songs of Jose Alfredo Jimenez. The El Musico project explores the relationship between the ranchera music style and American folk and country music, as a way of encouraging cross-cultural understanding.
The Asheville Tango Orchestra is Luchtan’s latest efforts in musical ambassadorship, and it’s wonderful. And meet Patrick Kukucka, whose quest to find and learn to play the bandoneon has given the orchestra the authentic tango sound.
Listen to my story about the orchestra on the NPR program Latino USA.