Ben & Winnie Update the Tango on "La Próxima Traición" (premiere)

Photo: Adrian Melo

Tango duo Ben & Winnie revel in creative revolution in the video for new composition "La Próxima Traición".

At times, tango seems like a form rife with paradox. Born of urban poverty in 19th century South America, it is nonetheless mobile enough to be a modern-day staple in Euro-American ballroom dancing. It's perhaps as popular in Finland as it is in Argentina and Uruguay, which contest each other in claims to tango ownership. The tango changes, of course, from place to place, era to era, shifting between disparate contexts yet always distinct in form.

For Ben Bogart and Winnie Cheung -- simply known as Ben & Winnie to their audiences, who come to see the duo perform and teach at prisons, schools, hospitals, and assisted living facilities, among more traditional venues -- there's nothing contradictory about it. Such range, that capacity for creation and change, is what makes tango so vital.

With the title track from their upcoming album La Próxima Traición, written for the duo by composer and Indiana University professor Aaron Travers, Ben and Winnie take tango in yet another direction, one they capture in full color with the single's new video. As they put it, the duo "had an experience of a lifetime working with the team led by videographer Diego Tomasevic on 'La Próxima Traición'. Dressed in our Sunday best, we played this deliciously scandalous new tango from morning till night in different birthplaces of tango."

A whole new system is exactly what Ben and Winnie bring to the table with "La Próxima Traición" -- "the next treason" in English -- and brilliantly so. Recorded in Buenos Aires, Cheung's piano work is remarkable as she moves from harsh, heavy slams of the keys to quick staccato to fluid melody, all flowing into a single, dramatic story arc. Alongside her on the bandoneón, Bogart brings fire and intrigue to the mix. She brings the gravity; he brings the movement -- a perfect revolution.

Intercut in the video with footage of dancers executing sharply modern choreography are images of the musicians themselves in places that range "from the fanciest hotel to the abandoned church of a women's shelter, to the flicking light of dusk amidst a field of yellow mustard flowers in Luján". As they play, they take their place in a long and ever-growing line of revolutionary tango musicians, lending their distinct sensibilities to a beloved form of music. "Tango has always been a popular music," the duo continue. "We are ecstatic to see that it is being treated that way again."

La Próxima Traición releases on 15 May via Tanguero Records, and is available for pre-order now, with proceeds benefiting tango musicians around the world collaborating and creating while in isolation. The single "La Próxima Traición" is available for free download.




Love in the Time of Coronavirus

Street Art As Sprayed Solidarity: Global Corona Graffiti

COVID-19-related street art functions as a vehicle for political critique and social engagement. It offers a form of global solidarity in a time of crisis.


Gretchen Peters Honors Mickey Newbury With "The Sailor" and New Album (premiere + interview)

Gretchen Peters' latest album, The Night You Wrote That Song: The Songs of Mickey Newbury, celebrates one of American songwriting's most underappreciated artists. Hear Peters' new single "The Sailor" as she talks about her latest project.


Okkyung Lee Goes From Classical to Noise on the Stellar 'Yeo-Neun'

Cellist Okkyung Lee walks a fine line between classical and noise on the splendid, minimalist excursion Yeo-Neun.


Alastair Sim: A Very English Character Actor Genius

Alastair Sim belongs to those character actors sometimes accused of "hamming it up" because they work at such a high level of internal and external technique that they can't help standing out.


Kaitlyn Aurelia Smith's New LP Is Lacking in Songcraft but Rich in Texture

Kaitlyn Aurelia Smith's The Mosaic of Transformation is a slightly uneven listen. It generally transcends the tropes of its genre, but occasionally substitutes substance for style.


Buzzcocks' 1996 Album 'All Set' Sees the Veteran Band Stretching Out and Gaining Confidence

After the straightforward and workmanlike Trade Test Transmissions, Buzzcocks continued to hone their fresh identity in the studio, as exhibited on the All Set reissue contained on the new box-set Sell You Everything.


Patrick Madden's 'Disparates' Makes Sense in These Crazy Times

There's no social distancing with Patrick Madden's hilarious Disparates. While reading these essays, you'll feel like he's in the room with you.


Perfume Genius Purges Himself and It's Contagious

You need to care so much about your art to pack this much meaning into not only the words, but the tones that adorn and deliver them. Perfume Genius cares so much it hurts on Set My Heart on Fire Immediately.

Love in the Time of Coronavirus

Confinement and Escape: Emma Donoghue and E.L. Doctorow in Our Time of Self-Isolation

Emma Donoghue's Room and E.L. Doctorow's Homer & Langley define and confront life within limited space.


Political Cartoonist Art Young Was an Aficionado of all Things Infernal

Fantagraphics' new edition of Inferno takes Art Young's original Depression-era critique to the Trump White House -- and then drags it all to Hell.


Folk's Jason Wilber Examines the World Through a Futurist Lens in 'Time Traveler' (album stream)

John Prine's former guitarist and musical director, Jason Wilber steps out with a new album, Time Traveler, featuring irreverent, pensive, and worldly folk music.

Collapse Expand Reviews

Collapse Expand Features
PM Picks
Collapse Expand Pm Picks

© 1999-2020 All rights reserved.
PopMatters is wholly independent, women-owned and operated.