Vayo Raimondo

About Vayo Raimondo

When Latin music lovers think of tango, the first country that comes to mind is Argentina. Buenos Aires, Argentina's largest city, is widely regarded as the tango capital of the world; that was true during tango's pre-Astor Piazzolla era, and it was true after the revolutionary, innovative Piazzolla (who is arguably to tango what alto saxophonist Charlie Parker is to jazz) pointed tango in a darker, more jazz-influenced direction. But veteran tango singer Vayo Raimondo isn't from Argentina; he is a native of Montevideo, Uruguay, and his recordings are not a carbon copy of Argentinean tango. Like the tango one associates with Argentina, Raimondo's work is smooth, polished, sophisticated, refined, elegant, and urbane -- in other words, he lives up to all of the adjectives that describe Piazzolla and the Argentinean tangueros who were popular before him (such as Carlos Gardel, Aníbal Troilo, Carlos Di Sarli, and Hugo del Carril). And like his Argentinean counterparts, Raimondo uses the bandoneon (the accordion-like instrument that Piazzolla played) on his albums and has a strong appreciation of European classical music.

But at the same time, Raimondo does things his own way, drawing on non-Argentinean, non-classical influences that range from candombe (a style of music that comes from his native Uruguay) to European cabaret. In fact, one of his songs is titled "Candombe de Mi Vida." Another thing that sets Raimondo apart from a lot of Argentinean tango vocalists is his willingness to sing in English; most of Raimondo's vocals are in Spanish (which is widely regarded as tango's official language), although the Montevideo native does sing and write in English on occasion (and is equally romantic and expressive in that language). In the early 2000s, Raimondo signed with Alula Records, a small independent world music-oriented label based in Durham, NC. Raimondo's first Alula release, I Am a Tango, was released in 2002; it was followed by At the Edge of Night/Al Filo de la Noche in 2003. ~ Alex Henderson