Martin Alvarado wins LUKAS AWARD

Argentinean singer wins award in the UK

March 1 2013

Artist Martín Alvarado, widely considered to be Argentina’s finest and most significant contemporary tango vocalist, has won a prestigious award in the United Kingdom.

He was declared the winner of the category “Concert by International Artist of the Year” in the Latin UK Awards for a performance in London last year. Alvarado was nominated for the awards – the only awards in the UK that recognise excellence in the Latin American entertainments world, by Latino Music UK, a London-based website which reviewed his concert at The Forge in Camden last March.

Alvarado, who is currently on his 24th international tour, will be in England this month during his fourth UK tour to collect the award at the Café de Paris in the heart of London’s West End.

He said: “I am very proud to have won this award, and I would like to thank all those people who voted for me religiously day after day. I really have the best fans in the world! The messages of support I have received from all over have been amazing. It is quite humbling.”

Alvarado clinched the title after a 12-week internet ballot. The exact number of votes he amassed has yet to be confirmed by the organisers but it is believed he came close to the 9,000 mark and is believed to won the highest number in the entire awards which had over 50 categories. Competing in the same category were the likes of Columbian rock star Juanes, salsa legend Oscar de Leon and Grammy-winning Spanish pop singer David Bisbal - and even Jennifer Lopez.

Winning the award is a double success for Alvarado who also, recently, signed a deal with a highly regarded UK-based world music record label World Music Network to re-release and distribute worldwide, in both digital and physical format, his last album Más Allá. The deal, which will see the album released in the summer makes him the only Argentinean artist to have an entire album released through this label, which has some of the biggest names in world music on its roster.

Alvarado, who was born and raised in the Buenos Aires barrio of Flores, has won wide acclaim across the world for his “extraordinarily beautiful” tenor voice, and already, his acknowledged artistry is such that he is increasingly being recognised as a highly influential vocalist in the history of tango.

In Russia last year, he was described as “a new Carlos Gardel” while in Argentina recently he was described as a modern “cantor nacional” – (national singer), the term used to describe artists, such as Gardel with the talent to sing in many different styles. As well as tango, Alvarado also sings milongas, valses, candombes, zambas, and has written over 70 pop and rock songs as well as Spanish versions of several well-known Finnish and Russian tangos.

He has been touring almost continuously for the past ten years. During this time, his tours have been entirely self-funded without any artistic bursaries or grants and have seen him perform and headline at many major venues and festivals, often being the first Argentine artist to have ever performed at such venues. His current tour takes in Finland, Russia, Belgium and the UK.

In Argentina, where his music has daily airplay on tango radio stations, Alvarado engenders much national pride for the way the way he has become something of a cultural ambassador for his country’s rich musical heritage.

As well as being a naturally gifted vocalist, he is also renowned for his commanding and charismatic stage presence and his outstanding and carefully chosen repertoire from four albums, which features work by Argentina’s most celebrated poets and composers, including rare work by Astor Piazzolla, as well as some of his own, as yet unrecorded, compositions.

He discovered his talent to sing at the age of 19, by chance, while studying guitar in Buenos Aires. A few years later he travelled to Spain where he was spotted singing Barcelona and invited to perform in Finland, where tango is a hugely popular activity. News of his talent quickly spread and within two months of arriving there, he was performing with the Tampere Philharmonic Orchestra.

Since then he has performed more than 400 times, often to sold-out audiences, had numerous TV performances in Finland, Russia and Argentina and collaborated and performed with some of the leading musicians in the genre. These include the highly revered bandoneon player, Leopoldo Federico, who was a guest performer on his second album, “Así es mi tango”, Horacio Avilano, a prominent guitarist in Argentina, who worked with him on his last album “Más Allá” and renowned Finnish tango nuevo quintet Otra Vez with whom he recorded his third album “Tango Norte Tango Sur”.

In 2008, Alvarado starred in the cutting-edge "El concierto del Nuevo Tango” with internationally-renowned conductor Patrick Gallois, Otra Vez and symphony orchestras and, separately, with Finland’s celebrated UMO jazz orchestra.

In 2009, he took part in Piazzolla’s operita “María de Buenos Aires” on its first Polish version and several times in Finland. He starred in it again in July last year (2012) after being invited to perform, for the second time, at the Kuhmo Chamber Music Festival, one of the most prestigious chamber music festivals in the world.

He is currently working on three new albums, one with Horacio Avilano, one with highly acclaimed pianist Mikko Helenius, of Finland, and another with one the most avant garde tango pianists in the world today, Finland’s Matti Laukkanen.

Reviews and links

Martin on YouTube – a recent TV performance and interview in Argentina

Martin singing a Gardel classic with Mikko Helenius

“With his high ranged and sensitive voice, Martín Alvarado turns on its head the tango model created by Carlos Gardel.” El Universo, Ecuador

"One of the great voices in tango today" - 2×4 Radio, Buenos Aires (April 2012).

“A brilliant singer” BBC Radio Nottingham.

“Martín Alvarado is taking tango to a whole new dimension…”

Rainlore’s World of Music (March 2012)

“Incredible sets by Martín Alvarado. What a show! Martín Alvarado’s voice has range, power, feeling and charm. A gifted, very technical singer and superb showman.” Negracha Tango Club, London (March 2012)

"… a certain Latino charisma mesmerises his audiences… the emotive phrasing was pure Argentinean seduction." - Nottingham Post (March 2012)

"The quality of his voice is something very special indeed… Each night isn’t just a show, for Alvarado, it’s a work of art. In Martín Alvarado’s hands – and moreover, his voice – tango has found not just a curator but an innovator to carry it forward. If you get the chance to see this man, grab it with both hands, you won’t see many of his like." - (Glyn Phillips - (November 2011)

"A voice to melt a thousand hearts," – DJ Ritu, SOAS Radio, London (October 2011)

"I believe I have been given a gift to play and sing and reach people’s hearts. So giving it all whenever I have the chance to perform is my way to honour that gift I have been given." - Interview in Nottingham Post (July 2011)