Søren Nielsen "A life with tango" - Svendborg, Denmark November 2019

During this last tour with Sexteto Andiamo I received a beautiful letter from an old Danish veterinarian who’s life’s been framed by tango in some way.

I was touched and feel like sharing this letter with those of you who speaks Danish. 

(For the rest of you, keep reading…) 

Anyway I was left curious after reading his letter. Exactly how had tango been part of his life? So I asked him. 
Luckily some days later I received 14 pages of his memoir where he writes about how music more in general and specific musicians (among these the pianist Carlos Caruso) have affected his life. 

Søren Nielsen is 89 years old and tango has been a part of his life for 80 years since his youth where he listened to “Hør min sang Violetta”. Harry Pepper has written an English version, called ‘Hear My Song, Violetta’. It’s kind of a tango made upon a theme from La Traviata of Verdi by the Germans Othmar Klose and Rudolf Lukesch in 1937. In ’38 Poul Anker wrote a Danish text which is the version that captured Søren’s heart. 

In his memoirs he tells how he as a young boy heard tango in the radio but normally it was only European Orchestras as the German Alfred Hause or the Dutch Malando with accordions instead of bandoneons. He has a special relationship to “Tango Jalousi” which is the most played tango at that time and written by a big Dane living in the same town as Søren. In fact Søren passed his house everyday on his way to school. The composer is of cause Jacob Gade who lived in Grønnegade in Vejle. Søren didn’t know where the special sound from the tango came from. He thought that maybe the accordions were tuned in a special way so they almost sounded like a harmonica. It was not before he saw films and videos with Argentine tango orchestras later on that he realized that it was a totally other instrument.

After that and some tango lessions as a teenager the tango went to sleep for a long period before it found its way back to Søren. Both music and dance became much later a big passionate and colourful part of his life. It'll be too much to get into it here, let's just say that it made him travel far away and sleep on train stations in the early hours… 

At the age of 75 Søren’s son gave his father a bandoneon. I’ve in fact tried it some years ago, where Søren was a bit better health wise and came to a workshop we did in Musicality in Svendborg, where he lives today. His bandoneon is kind of out of tune and really need preparing, but for Søren it’s precious. He has managed to learn to play ”Auf Wiedersehen” and uses it when he needs his guests to leave!

Here is the letter, that Søren gave me: 


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