Tango is unprecedentedly popular in the low countries. And not only thanks to the Maxima effect, although of course that has helped enormously. La Cadema, the tango magazine for Belgium and the Netherlands, has organized the Choclo competition, as a composition competition for new tango dance music. The first Choclo was won by Margreet Markerink.
A quote from the jury report:
"Pleasant and very danceable music with an original sound. Although the traditional tango is never far away, it offers its own, surprising and new sound in every song. ”
During the break of the Night of the Passion, there is an opportunity for a short interview.

When and why did you choose the tango?
That choice was a process, not a moment. I started piano lessons as many as I was 8 years old. When I finally knew that I wanted to continue with music, I studied Music Therapy in Nijmegen. After a period of traveling through India and Nepal I started studying at the Hilversums Conservatory, classical piano. I played a lot of Spanish music and Hungarian music, I thought that was wonderful. Then, at the invitation of Carel Kraayenhof, I started studying Argentine tango at the Rotterdam Conservatory. Carel said "that's something for you". And that is true. For me all the musical aspects come together so well in tango, the rhythms and tempi, I fell in love with it. Maybe it was in me much earlier. As a child I had gymnastics lessons; I listened to Chopin a lot at the time, endlessly listening, dancing through the room on Chopin's ballads. My father was a gymnastics teacher, and for a while I had a job as a musical accompanist in rhythmic music, also for gymnasts at Papendal. Often with Chopin rhythms (red: and she effortlessly rattles the Chopin rhythm ratatata-tatata-etc.). That may have laid a foundation. The Argentine tango also has a kinship with classical European music; there are many influences from European emigrants in Argentinian culture. The tango is therefore probably very recognizable for many Europeans. The love for tango initially applied to modern tango, such as Piazolla. Only later did I discover the old tango dance music.

The Choclo competition is meant for stimulating new tango dance music. How does that renewal fit in with your development?
The talks with Carel Kraayenhof about tango interpretation have had a lot of influence on my development as a tango pianist and composer. When I first heard Astor Piazzolla's tango nuevo, I was deeply impressed. Only later did I come into contact with dance salon music. It took a while before I appreciated that. In the 1950s, Piazolla was the first to introduce jazz influences into tango, and brought a jazz guitar into his compositions and arrangements. This aroused an enormous amount of opposition from the Argentines, who felt their national heritage disgraced. Piazolla was so upset or depressed about this that he himself burned his scores. A few years ago, Christiaan van Hemert undertook to restore the original music of Piazzolla by writing the music back into score on the basis of old records. With our orchestra Tango Dorado we now play that again, with a jazz guitarist in our ensemble. In addition to Tango Dorado, I have a lot of fun with our Trio Tangata with Jaqueline Edeling and Maaike Wierda. In fact, with this I pick up the thread of the time at the Rotterdam Conservatory, when we also had a trio in this line-up with bandonéon, double bass and piano. At that time we mainly played music from myself, that was not dance music. I am very happy that the jury of the Choclo competition also describes my current tango-nuevo approach as 'very danceable'.

What will this prize do for your life?
In the first place it is wonderful if you notice that the music that you write yourself is appreciated in the tango world. There will be an acceleration. Christiaan van Hemert will arrange my winning compositions for Tango Dorado performance. Part of the prize is that we can put these compositions on CD in a professional studio. My dream is that in some time we will be invited to perform in Argentina, both with Tango Dorado and with Trio Tangata.

Jan Klupper

Margreet Markerink is the winner of the Choclo, the national composition competition for new tango dance music. At the release of the La Cadena summer issue, in early June 2008, the winning numbers will be available to everyone. Of course we wanted to know more about the composer of the fantastic new music.

Click here to read the entire interview in La Cadena.