They are almost a cappella. The harmony is close, the voices smooth - a tango version of Manhattan Transfer - but there is guitar and bass accompaniment which officially moves the group out of the chapel. The group is Flores Negras and they sing Milonga de la Anunciación in today's featured video.
Milonga de la Anunciación is the penultimate song in the Piazzolla/Ferrer operita, Maria de Buenos Aires. Maria has died by this point in the plot and the song is sung by Maria's Shadow in response to being told that she is going to give birth to a child (bizarrely, three marionettes take the usual annunciation role of Angel Gabriel here). Ferrer's poetry rests easily in the ear but the meaning of the lyrics, which you can find here, are hidden under layers of symbolism and remain a mystery to me. The melody is more familiar as that of Yo soy Maria but that is a story for a later blog.
Flores Negras existed as a group from 1995 to 2000 with members Cecilia Bonardi, Alejandra Cañoni, Laura Esses, and Sara Galoppo. There was a brief reunion of the group in 2007 with Diana Molina replacing Galoppo. To my experience, they remain unique for the close harmony interpretations of a variety of tango standards. Clearly they are all good singers but their sound is largely due to the arrangements and musical leadership provided by the composer and pianist, Oscar Laiguera. While Milonga de la Anunciación is my favorite of their performances, you can view six others on their YouTube channel. Even better would be to find a copy of their 1999 CD, Flores Negras: Cuatro Voces en Tango, which contains their interpretation of three other Piazzolla works. Their version of Milonga de la Anunciación is very musical and very enjoyable, but if you are more interested in what it sounded like in Piazzolla's original production, you can find it in disk two of the Trova edition of Maria de Buenos Aires or as a close facsimile in this video from a recent Pablo Zinger production of the operita.
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