The Tango Saloon is an experimental tango band based in Sydney, Australia. In 2005, fifteen musicians came together to record the self-titled debut album, which was subsequently released by Mike Patton’s Ipecac label. The band has since produced three more albums, Transylvania (2008), Shadows & Fog (2012) and Suspicion (2015). The sound can be generally summed up as being tango meets spaghetti western, but there have always been many other elements, such as film scores, rock, gypsy, jazz and electronics.

While the band’s first 3 albums were largely instrumental (though with beautiful vocal performances from the likes of Jane Sheldon, Mike Patton and Ilan Kidron), latest album Suspicion is more song-based, featuring vocalist Elana Stone on 9 out of its 14 tracks. Including the singles ‘In Black And White’ and ‘Don’t Close Your Eyes’, plus ‘Smoking Gun’, a duet with Brian Campeau.

Performance highlights for The Tango Saloon include the Peats Ridge Festival 2005 and 2006, Peeping Tom support on the East-coast leg of their 2007 Australian tour, appearing on ABC’s Spicks & Specks in 2011 and Mondo Cane support at The Domain for Sydney Festival 2012. And of course many great shows at The Vanguard, 505, The Factory, Qirkz, Camelot and more.

Live band:

  • Julian Curwin – guitar, keyboards
  • Marcello Maio – accordion, keyboards
  • Sam Golding – tuba, trumpet
  • John Hibbard – trombone
  • Mark Harris – double bass
  • Danny Heifetz – drums, percussion
  • Jess Ciampa – percussion
  • Elana Stone – vocals

Other musicians/guests:

  • Shenton Gregory – violin, viola
  • Christian Watson – alto & baritone sax
  • Leonie Cohen – piano
  • Svetlana Bunic – accordion
  • Alon Ilsar – drums, electronics
  • Luke Dubber – keyboards
  • Martin Kay – clarinets
  • Reuben Derrick – tenor sax
  • Kory Horwood – double bass
  • Jane Sheldon – vocals
  • Brian Campeau – vocals
  • Ilan Kidron – vocals
  • Mike Patton – vocals

In 2010, The Mango Balloon was born, a stripped-back chamber version of The Tango Saloon, with a lighter sound adding lounge, exotica and continental jazz to the larger band’s tango/western blend. Aside from six members from The Tango Saloon, the recordings also feature special guests, bringing their own distinct flavour to the music – Volume 1 (2010) Eddie Bronson on clarinets, Volume 2 (2012) Brian Campeau on vocals and guitar, Volume 3 (2014) Shenzo Gregorio on viola, and Volume 4 (2017) Matt McMahon on Rhodes electric piano.