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'Some people like classical music others find themselves in flamenco or punk but for me it is the tango', says Carel Kraayenhof, bandoneon player and the central character in the documentary 'Embraced by the Tango'.
Carel Kraayenhof lives in Amsterdam and is the moving spirit behind 'Sexteto Canyengue', a Dutch tango sextet. In 1984 he was offered a bandoneon by a passing Argentinian. The instrument fascinated him instantly.'A bandoneon is like a human being,' Kraayenhof says. 'It is capable of crying and laughing. And the tango is like life itself.'With the Sexteto Canyengue he performs a tango repertoire in the style of Osvaldo Pugliese, the legendary Argentinean composer.
Invited by Pugliese, who in turn became an admirer of Kraayenhof, the Dutch bandoneon player set off for Buenos Aires. He met people who not only became his friends but also share his passion for the tango.
Back home Kraayenhof talks about the role that tango and the bandoneon play in his life. In Buenos Aires and Montevideo he talks about his passion with Osvaldo Pugliese, Miguel Angel Oliveira and Robert Alvarez.
Osvaldo Pugliese (1905-1997) worked as a orchestra leader and composer. In the Thirties he set up a trade union for musicians. Since than he was arrested regularly by the successive military regimes. When Pugliese's orchestra was forced to play without him because of his imprisonment, there always was a red carnation, a 'clavel rojo', on the keyboard of his piano. The tango that Kraayenhof dedicated to Pugliese is called 'Clavel rojo'.
Miguel Angel Oliveira is a poet and was a political prisoner for thirteen years. In prison he secretly wrote most of his tango lyrics.
Roberto Alvarez is one of the greatest bandoneon players in Argentina. Kraayenhof and Alvarez inspire each other in a 'conversation' between two bandoneons.
Embraced by the Tango is a film about and with tango music and the people who dedicated their lives to it.
Director: Leendert Pot
Cinematography: Brigitte Hillenius
Editor: Jan Ketelaars
Sound: Mark Glynne
Music: Carel Kraayenhof, Sexteto Canyengue, Osvaldo Pugliese
Producers: Ruud Monster, Jan Ketelaars for JURA Filmprodukties 45 min., 16mm, colour, The Netherlands, 1991