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Program Reviews by Valerie

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Peninsula Music Club


Latin Passion meets Eclectic Fascination

It is a warm evening in March as the hall at St Luke’s Grammar School begins to fill up with an audience no doubt eagerly anticipating a different night filled with tango rhythm and a stirring beat that promises a stimulating evening and I can’t wait for the performance  to begin.

The notes tell me that Chilean-born pianist and composer Daniel Rojas is returning by popular demand to the Peninsula Music Club to open the 2019 series of four concerts. His group, Orquesta la Luna Tango comprises Daniel on the piano, well-known violinist Maria Lindsay and Jacqui Caria – who flew in yesterday at short notice to replace Matt Bruce – Annabel Cameron on double bass, and Daniel Wallace-Crabbe on bandenon, also known as the tango accordion.  Solo guitars and a clarinet are sometimes part of the tango ensemble which may include a vocalist, but Daniel tells us that he doesn’t often sing.

Fortunately this evening he is in singing mood and his warm tones add a certain something to the fast-moving instrumental snippets, and I for one, want to hear more. I understand that the tango is a distinctive style of music originating in late 18th and 19th century among the immigrant European and African slave populations of Argentina. The styles influencing this musical style were derived from never-ending sources such as flamenco, polka, mazurka, hanabera, contradanse, valso criolo, milonga and candombe. We are to hear Rojas’ own contemporary compositions as well.

Finally the definition of a tango. A ballroom dance of Latin American origin in two/four time with a basic pattern of step-step-step-step-close and characterised by long pauses and passionate, stylized body positions. That puts it a nutshell and Daniel Rojas, a friendly and easy personality who immediately connects with the warmly welcoming audience, gives several impressions of some of the tango movements and I think it would be fun to dance with him, but he is attending to his keyboard to give us a colourful evening of swinging, finger-snapping toe-tapping glimpses of the tango in all its moods for the best part of two hours, and dancing is not foremost in his fertile mind.


“Tango is often referred to as a three minute love affair and the audience was treated to a passionate evening of brief affairs, an immensely satisfying and enchanting experience.”

From the Sydney Arts Guide, live review (2018)


Need I say more? Only that the nimble-fingered and passionate performance of Daniel Rojas and his brilliant Orquesta La Luna Tango group of musicians has been one of the most enjoyable evenings I have had the good fortune to experience and I would urge anyone who missed to-night’s concert, to come to his next performance, which I hope will be soon.


Following the loud acclaims of the now energised audience I enjoy talking to Daniel and his group of brilliant musicians as we share a glass of wine. He is a modest and likeable person with a warmth that is palpable in his choice of music – a reflection of the man himself. 


The next concert is “A Handful of Keys” featuring award winning concert pianist Valeria Forbes-Mavridis with her gifted family. The performance promises to delight all tastes with its unmissable variations of musical offerings. I most certainly will be there on

Sunday 23rd June at 2.30pm.


The venue for all the Peninsula Music Club concerts is the Hall at St Luke’s Grammar School on the Bayview Campus




Valerie copyright Sydney May 2019

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