“If we are lucky in life we experience a few extraordinarily wonderful things,” says Perth luthier Graham Hawkes. He has just produced an album of new Australian guitar music and is quietly proud of its significance.

Graham Hawkes
Album cover: Invitation to Tango

“All the contributors to this recording were unhesitating and positive in their response to my request for a couple of new tangos. It took awhile to gather the courage to ask them but I think age strengthened my resolve. The result is a splendid recording of 14 new tangos for guitar.”

Graham is a guitar enthusiast who has dedicated his retirement to perfecting his skills as a guitar maker. The tango is one of Graham’s favourite styles of music and gets regular air time on Plucked Strings, the radio program he hosts on RTRFM 92.1. Graham’s enthusiasm for the dance has been constrained only by the limited amount of tango repertoire for guitar. So with the quiet determination he went about commissioning an album of new tangos for the guitar.

Rosette with Aboriginal inspired decoration (G. Hawkes)
cedar soundboard (G Hawkes)

The Australian composers featured on the album are Alan Banks, Philip Bracanin, Rohan Jayasinghe, Krzystof Piotrowicz, Ruth Roshan, Mardae Selepak, Owen Thomson and Mark Viggiani. The compositions reflect the diverse backgrounds of the composers making a compelling mix. The technical flamboyance of Alan Banks’ free improvisation, the sunny warmth of Ruth Roshan’s mandolin, the stillness of Owen Thomson’s Midnight Tango and the luxurious Russian Romani sound of Krzystof Piotrowicz are some of the stand outs.

Composers and performers featured in Invitation to Tango

The recordings are high quality made by the composers themselves supplemented by guitarists Tania Ravbar Constantino and Stephanie Jones and clarinettist Catherine Cahill.

Hooray for an all-Australian album of such great quality. Invitation to TANGO can be sampled here and purchased from Paypal for $15.