When you listen to Carla Campopiano’s whimsical, otherworldly lead melody and improvisational musings on the “El Portenito” and “Nocturna” – the Milongas at the heart of Chicago/Buenos Aires Connections, Vol. II, the dazzling, eclectic follow-up to Argentine flutist’s 2018 collection – it’s both fun and difficult to imagine her finding her musical way after moving to Chicago in 2013, playing everything from Americana to Middle Eastern music and metal.
Once she focused on the classic music of her native country, there was no stopping the veteran educator’s mission to share the wealth of her knowledge - including the formation of the multi-media production Borges & El Tango to celebrate the music of Jorge Luis Borges and Astor Piazzolla. Creating lush and lyrical, sparsely arranged ensemble work with her longtime drummer and percussionist Gustavo Cortinas and the alternating strings of guitarists Gabriel Datcu and Zac Selissen and bassist Kitt Lyles,
Campopiano brings to vibrant life classic compositions that illuminate various forms of Argentine music. In addition to the aforementioned Milongas, she shares her passion for tango via the dreamy ballad “Vieja Viola” (featuring the emotional Portuguese vocals of the late Alba Guerra) and a dramatic, percussively visceral live version of Piazzolla’s “Lo que Vendra,”
She also offers dynamic presentations of Zamba (“Zamba Soltera,” “La Pomena”) and, typifying the multi-talented artist and instructor she is, composes her own piece, the raw and propulsive “Lluvia” to illustrate Vals, a waltz-like dance related to the tango, with Cortinas approximating the form’s trademark tap dance element.