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A folkie legend is born
Miguel Heatwole saves the day

By Mary-Jane Field
Posted Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Most folkies are great improvisers when faced with less-than-ideal conditions, such as bad sound systems, rain on stage or loud pokie machines.

But at a recent folk evening, a legend in improvisation was born which should definitely go down in the annals of Sydney's folk history!

The event was a peña/folk concert and among the presentations was the classy and graceful tango act, Tango Embrace with Margarita and Guy. But somewhere along the line there had been a mis-communication and there was no sound system for them to use to play a CD for their dances..

One of the musicians who lives near the hall hastily organized one of his children's portable CD players, but after a few tantalizing bars it kept stopping. The little player was then moved to another spot and people tried standing there and holding the play button down, but to no avail. Someone even jokingly turned on a tango-style rhythm on a portable Casio piano that was there, but, of course, that was no use, either.

None of the Latin American guitarists who were there were game to try to play a tango, for it really is a specialist form of music requiring experience to do it any justice in a concert-style settting.

A Folkie to the Rescue!

While the organizer was apologizing profusely to the dancers and the audience and trying to put a positive spin on the matter an intense discussion was going on in another part of the hall.

Miguel Heatwole was offering to sing an Argentine tango -- a cappella -- for Margarita and Guy so they could perform.

What? Never heard of such a thing!

First of all, Argentine tango is not an a cappella form of music – orchestras featuring violins, bandoneons and guitars are the go.

Secondly, since when does Miguel Heatwole, choir director, composer and arranger extraordinaire, sing tango, of all things? He is known for Celtic folk songs and songs with social justice content, certainly not the tango genre!

Margarita and Guy were wondering what to do, how can this be, should they accept his offer? Then they decided to throw caution to the winds and give it a go. They had heard Miguel sing earlier and decided, well, he must be okay.

And he certainly was okay! It was an amazing performance. He sang a beautifully interpreted tango, in perfect Spanish, all the while clicking the pulsating beat with his fingers to guide the dancers.The sinous and gentle style of tango dancing by Tango Embrace synchronized beautifully with the singing, their flowing movements shown to advantage and melding with the song.

It all seemed effortless, as if they had been singing and dancing together for years. Who needed an orchestra?

Talk about saving the day!

All's Well that Ends Well

It was certainly win, win, win for everyone. The audience got to enjoy the tango, Margarita and Guy got to show off their lovely dancing, and Miguel got to sing his tango -- for the first time in public, he mentioned afterward, so it was even more amazing that he stepped forward to rescue the situation.

People who were there on the night are still talking about it.

Miguel, Margarita and Guy, you are legends! Thank you from everyone!

MJ Field

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A folkie legend is born
Miguel Heatwole