Interview Transcription - Solange Lipcin (2023)
Welcome Sol and thanks for your time today
Thank you for having me
So, you’re from Buenos Aires in Argentina, to begin with tell me a little bit about what it was like growing up in in Buenos Aires.
Well, I’m a city girl, I grew up in an apartment in Villa Crespo which is one of the suburbs in Buenos Aires. So, I remember life was fun with my family and I had a chance to as being in one Buenos Aires you have lots of cultural activity and my mom took me to the theater to watch some place and I started doing dancing when I was four. So, I had those of opportunities to get in touch with the culture and the Arts. So, I remember I also spent the weekends away. My grandparents had a house outside the city so that’s what I remember. Being near nature lots as a child, especially in the Summers. So, yeah, I have fond memories of my childhood with my brother and my family.
So, you mention Buenos Aires being a cultural type City. Have you always been interested in the Arts?
Yeah, yeah. Thanks to my parents who also we’re in Arts, I think they exposed me to act at a young age. So, when I started dancing it was more like a play for me, like having fun, but then when my mom took me to the theater, I started feeling like I want to be on stage, like what should I do? And she was like, well, you should study and then that’s when I started engaging in courses and one thing led to the next
So how old were you when you started performing singing dancing?
How well I did like end of year performances at the dance school. I was in since I was eight years old and the first time I was singing in public with when I was 11, but then professionally I started at 15, 16 years old doing
children musical plays in the school holidays. And I usually did also that for English schools. So, we Teaching English through place in English. So, that was at a young age. Yeah.
So, do you remember what it was like when you first started performing, how did you feel?
I felt awful. I remember the first time I was singing in public. I was thinking like I should never do this again.
No one is enjoying it. They are looking away and I felt like so young and so inexperienced. So, it took a little bit of time to get some confidence and luckily enough I kept going and then I had so many good teachers who encouraged me to continue and they were just highlighting how some skills I had, were very good for being an on-stage. So, and I had the greatest like, co-workers and friends that I’ve met, who made me keep going and inspired me to keep going.
So, looking back on those early days as a performer, what advice would you give yourself now?
That’s a good question. I would say enjoy more. Yeah. Seize the moment because every step of the way counts, and even though you might feel a bit insecure at first, you just have to enjoy it because if you do, everyone else will.
So, who would you say has influenced you most in your journey in the Arts so far?
Like I think of my grandparents my granddad used to be a piano player, so I remember when I was five, hearing him play at Choc low, I didn’t know that was Tango but that was inspiring me lots. Also, my other grandparent
who my grandfather, I mean, who usually listen to tango when he took me on a drive, he was a taxi driver at some point. So, I remember he taking me like from school to home and listening to tango and at that time, I felt like. What’s this music? Like I didn’t know about it but I thought okay this might be interesting because that’s, what my grandfather listens to, so that’s a great influence. He also likes jazz music so that’s when I first heard jazz musicians, he used to have this old like this reference actor. So, it was very good to have that influence.
And how old were you at the time?
I was really young like maybe seven years old since I started school the first years.
So, who would you say is your greatest influence or inspiration now?
Oh, that’s hard. I think my children are. Because I tried to keep that spirit alive because that’s what makes me who I am. And if I’m happy, I think they will be happy. So, I love to share that with them like playing piano at home or dancing together.
So, how do you continue to grow as a singer performer now?
Well, I tried to meet musicians who are into Tango scene and lead me into the right direction in regards to decisions to listen to, or songs to sing, and they are who kept me like going. And when I first got here, I wasn’t singing to tango at first, I was thinking more like a Latin Style Boleros or even like international music. And then I met Stephen and he just offered me a gig at a milonga and that was the first time I got to sing a whole Tango repertoire. Like I was singing a few Tango songs before coming to Australia. But that was its, first time I had to do, like, a whole like two hours Tango repertoire. So, I think they are the ones who inspired me the most.
And that’s Stephen Cuttriss? So how often do you rehearse or take classes lessons now?
Well, I did once a week, if possible, sometimes life gets too busy, but I tried to every day to listen to new musicians, as I drive, to keep that spirit growing.
So, what technical aspects do you focus on when you are practicing?
Well, I always try to practice my breathing and expressive skills. I tried to connect with the music and try to find the meaning of the words, the history of the song or the composer’s just to create this world like below the song. And when I sing on stage, I tried that to like go through. So, you know, I work lots of that.
Is there one thing that you can recall, that’s giving you a big buzz in as a performer?
Yeah, well I remember singing at the Sankar Stadium, the national anthem for Argentina in front of like a huge crowd and I think that was a very important moment in my life as a performer because I was feeling like I should fill this whole stadium and it was huge. So what do I do with this tiny body to make my spirit grow? So, it was very interesting.
So, what made you choose is creative path that you’re on?
I think the feeling that there was this opportunity for me to grow and challenge myself because I was a very good student at school. I could have easily gone for like a traditional pathway in university. But, When I was in my drama class, or my dance classes and the feedback my teachers gave to me were like keep going, keep improving like, don’t be distracted for yourself, you know, and that’s what was very challenging for me. And that’s why I thought, if I go through the traditional path road, I’m like not giving this creative side of myself a place to grow. So, I think that’s why I chose to pursue this artistic pathway where I had to challenge myself to become someone who maybe it was that the seed was there. But if I didn’t work on it every day, it wouldn’t have grown.
And your family was supportive of that pathway?
Yeah, they always enjoyed me doing it. And went there when I was performing, like clapping and cheering and even though maybe they thought it would be more a hobby than anything and in Argentina, it was very hard to become a professional musician. And I think once I had the opportunity to travel and work abroad, that’s when I thought, oh wait, this might be a career.
Do you consider yourself naturally creative?
Well, my mind is my thoughts are usually going through like different pathways trying to find new ways of doing things improvising all the time. So I could say, yes, Although I have also, like a calm nature and a steady pace, which sometimes like create, I think I see creative people are a bit more like impulsive, not that impulsive. So I try to balance that creative side with more like down-to-earth kind of personality.
Do you have any other creative outlets outside of singing and dancing?
Well, I like to write when I was younger, I was writing some songs and I recorded them, so I think yeah, If I had to choose some other way of arts that could be writing.
So, what would you say that your singing performing reveals about you that people don’t normally see?
So I think when I’m on stage, I can let all my emotions show, which some have like in Tango, they get to be anger or sadness which every day I done that people see that of myself. Like, I’m a happy person smiling and cheerful but also, I have this inner world. Well, I can remember lots of experiences, where I feel those emotions and I really appreciate the opportunity to sing a style that allows me to put those on play.
So, it’s been a lot of time creating and performing, preparing. What you do outside of those hours? What other interests do you have?
I work a lot since two years ago, I founded a Spanish school. So, I’m trying to make that grow. It’s a project that I started because I was raising bilingual children in Australia. So, I was thinking that I would need a community to help me do it and also a way of bringing the Arts in and the Spanish together, and the culture. So it’s a project that called Lassos Latinos, and I dedicate lots of time to it. We organize events and we get together with other families with bilingual children. And it’s really fun to get all the families together, and for them to share what where they come from. And I’m learning lots about of other Latin American countries. So that’s taking most of my time at the moment. I’m also teaching Spanish at the school. So since like six months ago, I started doing that. And it’s quite interesting because it’s more like a formal setting. I also sing in a trio with other two ladies who sing Latin American Music. So, we rehearse and we sing at the festivals. What else I do? I do play groups for mums and bubs and I work at events for children in different like hotels in Brisbane. I do school holidays programs. So yeah, I do quite a variety of things and I try to like, just whatever I’ve learned along the way. I tried to pass that on to the new generation,
A very busy woman.
So, you mentioned, you were seven years old in your grandfather’s taxi when you first heard tango music. How old were you when you discovered Tango dance or saw Tango dance?
Well, I was at Uni, I was studying musical theater and we had all of the different styles. So we had one year of Tango dancing and I already had a friend who was dancing to tango so she took me to the festivals and I saw that from the outside and call it. Wow, that looks amazing. But when I first experienced it with my body I felt like there was this connection with the other person. That was really interesting to have because I always dance
but it was more like stage dancing, or individual dancing. So it was the first couple dance that I’ve tried and I fell in love with it.
So other than that connection that you felt within the dance. What else fascinates you about Tango?
Well, it’s a good opportunity for me to listen more to my body and the other person’s body. And I love the fact that I have to shut my mind off and I can just like be there with my body and my perceptions and listen to the music and it’s that combination of music and movement and connection that I think it makes it unique.
Would you say that your taste in tango music has changed over the years?
Actually. Yeah. The more I listen to the more I like a broad variety of things and I value more like the acoustic versions all the versions where you can hear the musicians playing with detail like over the more like robotic computerized kind of music.
So how important is Tango to you in your life at this point in time?
It’s becoming more and more important over the past five years. It’s been growing in importance. I even did a special diploma in Tango in Argentina like I did online during covid and I just found that there’s such huge variety of musicians and orchestras, and it’s an endless world, like, it would take forever to explore in detail. So just spending more time now in doing that.
You mentioned before about traveling overseas working? Tell me a bit more about that.
Yeah, well the first time I was traveling around Argentina with a theater play. And we went to the countryside where near Argentina like in Latin America first and then I had the opportunity to travel by myself in Europe and I was like in my early twenties and I thought, like I started listening to other languages and I started tasting some new food. And I thought, this is something I should keep doing. I have to do it but I didn’t have the money. So that’s when I started looking for jobs. That will enable me to travel and work at the same time. So, I’ve been in America and I’ve been working in a cruise ship in Brazil and then in Europe and I got to meet like 27 different countries. Some of them even one day or a few hours but just getting that variety and exploration inspire me lots and I started learning new languages such as Portuguese or Italian being able to communicate with those people. Like it was the whole new world for me to explore. And that’s one of the things I enjoyed the most like being exposed to new things and curiosity, and just surprising myself with new things.
At what point did you start teaching performance and singing?
I was around 25 and I had a friend who owned a school and she didn’t have the time to teach anymore. So, she gave me some groups that she was teaching and I was teaching musical theater there. And I remember like the enjoyment of seeing others getting better at what they do and what they love doing. So that’s when I realized I had the teacher seed in me and I always thought education. It’s a great news to grow, and make people more aware of themselves and pursuing their own dreams. So, I always wanted to encourage that in others,
You mentioned before that you play piano for your children. Are there any other instruments that you play?
I play ukulele which is a good friend to take with in travels. I actually bought it in Thailand before coming to Australia, I was in Thailand for a few months working in a hotel. So, it was the only instrument I could carry with me and it’s been fun playing ukulele, it’s simple but still it’s good.
So how long have you been in Australia now?
Seven years. So, when you first come across Tango in Australia, what was your first impression in Brisbane more specifically?
I was amazed like I didn’t expect Tango to have a scene in Brisbane. I was like, so surprised because dances were very professional, musicians were very professional and I felt I was in Buenos Aires for a second. It was like mind-blowing.
So, you’re singing with Mendoza quartet as well as other Tango ensembles.
And you mentioned meeting Stephen Cuttriss, was that five years ago?
Yes, six years ago, he was in Buenos Aires when I first got here in 2016. So, I sent an email to Mendoza Tango saying. I’m a senior I’m from Buenos Aires. I’d love to meet you guys and they didn’t reply back until he was back from Buenos Aires in November that year and we got together for a coffee and he was like yeah let’s jam. Let’s try what’s there. So, we connected right away and he has such a sweet personality and he introduced me to Liz and Chloe and we remember our first gig with Liz and Stephen at the Willis Club Milonga and I was like overwhelmed with all these people dancing to what we were singing. It was the first time I was singing to dance so it was so interesting when we made those pauses and people hold on to them. And that’s so interesting that connection we had.
And that’s what you think live music adds to a milonga?
Yeah, I think there’s such a special connection between music when its live, because everything is being created at the moment. Like, it’s not recorded, it’s not improvised, but it’s alive and I think dancers can connect to that. And from a dancer’s perspective, I can connect to that energy because there’s an energy that we are putting when we play and it if dancers can sense and can use that in their bodies, that creates a beautiful connection.
So, you’ve been in Australia seven years what brought you to Australia initially?
Well with my pattern we thought that a different country would give us a better opportunity to plan for our future especially when we were at that stage and we wanted to start a family, we now have two children. So also, I always wanted to be near nature. So, this is a perfect scene for us to have that balance of family life and being around nature, and work opportunities, and more stability than Argentina.
Oh, I think there are many countries around the world that would offer those things, why Australia?
Yeah, well because it was the only country that didn’t have a reason to say no to. So, it was the only country like we had like three countries in mind like Spain or America and United States, Canada. But we always had reasons like too cold nah, there are not enough employment opportunities but Australia we didn’t know anything about it was just everything to explore.
So, is there anything new that you’re working on at the moment or you’re planning the next two or three years?
Well, I would love to bring more people together just to be able to create an artistic projects. I would love to create like a cultural center where everyone can like deliver workshops and then we can have some shows performances and dancing and so I envision myself working towards that.
It’s a big vision.
Is there somewhere in the world that you would most like to perform or dance?
I’m very curious about the Tango scene in different countries because now that I have done here, I’m very curious about New Zealand or Japan or Europe. So, I always hope that we can get to travel more.
All right, I’ve got a few quick questions here for you. Your answers. Don’t necessarily need to be quick, but here we go.
What is an Indulgence for you?
Well, you have to translate Indulgence for me.
Indulgence, something that is uhm a pleasure. A pleasure.
Yes. Well, I think nowadays being at the beach and getting to see the sea coming and going with the sun in my skin and just reading.
Do you have a favorite Tango movie or favorite movie overall?
Well, that’s a hard question because I like lots of movies and I honestly, I haven’t seen any Tango movies so maybe you have to recommend me one.
But there’s one I really like, which is _______ but I can’t remember the English it’s like beautiful life or something like that.
No, it’s a story about I think the main actor is Italian and he’s at the World War Two with a child and he always creates this story about why people are fighting and to create that imaginary world for their time not to be aware of what war means.
So, it gives me goosebumps when I talk about it because I would love to be able to live life in such a way, you know, you create your own reality, as you tell yourself the truth about what you see. That’s why I love it.
Who is your favorite Tango composer?
Wow, well, I love Troilo. Because it’s a combination of many things.
That I think Tango should have. And my favorite song is my Malena. Because it’s this painting about a woman that has deep suffering from her past but she still there. Her presence and every time I seen that I wish I don’t become that person, you know but playing that character on stage gives me the opportunity to feel okay. What does this good would feel like you know so it’s that opportunity to connect with the music and that depth that I really like.
Do you have any favorite Tango musicians?
Yeah. Well, at the moment, I would say my favorite are the Brisbane Tango Musicians because I feel that they’re doing such a great job, at improving their skills and connecting with others. And they even went to study abroad and they’re really committed to the tango music. So yeah, I love them.
What music do you listen to when not Tango?
I love listening to Jazz. Especially jazz singers like Sarah Morgan. What how they play with the voice? You know? Ella has this unique style and I really like listening to her.
Finally, what is your most memorable memory of an early Christmas?
Well, I come from a Jewish background, so my family didn’t really celebrate Christmas, but we always got together with my father’s side of the family because we wouldn’t see them in New Year’s Eve and I remember coming out of my grandfather’s house and leaving the house with a present and there was this boy on the streets who didn’t have any present. And I asked my mom, why is that, like, why do I have a present and he doesn’t and that was my first memory of what Christmas meant for me. And I felt like, okay, should give this to him, you know, this is not fair. So, every time even when I sing to waltz, I always think about those kids who are living in the streets and it makes me really sad. So even though Christmas should be a cheerful time of the year, I think it’s also a moment when I am aware of how grateful I am and how lucky I am to be, where I am and be who I am.
Well, a lovely place to finish. Thanks very much for your time today, Sol and being very insightful. Thank you.