Responsible for blasting traditional acoustic tango into the 21st century, Orquesta Tipica Fernandez Fierro has turned tango on its head in Buenos Aires and around the world. While the ensemble's formation is indeed typical (four bandoneons, three violins, viola, violoncello, double-bass, piano and a singer), the sound they make is aggressively modern, taking inspiration from the great tango orchestras of the past and infusing it with a rock attitude. Sporting Ramones t-shirts and hair that's evaded the barber's shears for many a month, Orquesta Tipica Fernandez Fierro plays with an intensity and sense of drama that this already intense and dramatic music hasn't witnessed before. Aided by dramatic light shows, the 12-piece band furiously pushes and pulls; delightfully discordant one moment, full of glorious ensemble playing the next. This bold music machine is organized as a cooperative, its repertoire comprised of newly arranged traditional tangos and, most of all, pieces composed by some of its players.
Originally shunned by the mainstream tango venues for their outspoken radical views, the musicians took to the streets, which is where the film director Nicolas Entel saw them. In 2005, the film, Orquesta Tipica (Tango or Death), went on to win multiple awards at festivals around the world. The band's edge has been maintained throughout their fourteen years of independent existence, during which time they've continually spurned the overtures of big record companies and official arts organizations. Since its inception, Orquesta Tipica Fernandez Fierro has been in charge of editing its own records, managing its own shows and running its own club, "Club Atlético Fernandez Fierro" (Fernandez Fierro Athletic Club), where the ensemble plays each Wednesday for an almost cult-like audience - no compromises! no prisoners!