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Tango Wood

August 1, 2013

If you’re looking for a unifying theme behind the UC Berkeley Botanical Garden’s Summer Concert Series, good luck. Proudly hodge-podge in its curation, the summer-long line-up of acts playing the tree-shaded Redwood Grove amphitheater runs willy-nilly from old time R&B to Afropop to Indian roots music to “Tom Waits–approved Americana.”

Sticking to the theme of enthusiastic eclecticism, this evening’s genre: Tango in two acts.

The first band, the almost too aptly named quintet, Redwood Tango Ensemble, is known for its relatively orthodox take on the genre. The Trio Zincalo roves further afield, dabbling in Brazilian choro, Eastern European klezmer, and American jazz.

But according to Celia Harris, who plays violin in both local bands (and who, incidentally, earned her master’s in public health at Berkeley), tonight’s show is bound to be a little different for ensemble and trio alike.

The five-piece typically plays at milongas, social events where their music from the “golden era” of tango (from the 1930s to the1950s)  is played for dancers. However, this evening’s concert at the Grove will be all about the music. “We’ll have a little more leeway, because we won’t have to make everything quite so danceable,” says Harris. As a result, the otherwise traditional quintet might let their hair down and play a few nuevo tango and original pieces.

Trio Zincalo is cheerfully all over the place at any show (Harris calls it “world café music”) and likely to leaven their jazz repertoire with a dollop of contemporary pop tonight. Purists, hold on to your accordions: There may be a Rihanna rendition.

This evening’s show starts at 5:30. Tickets, which range in price from $12 for adults to $5 for youth, can be purchased online here.

—Ben Christopher

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