Amarras Is...

Photo by John Davidson

Clint Popetz is a Bandoneón Player and founding member of the quintet Amarras.  His love of tango arose during his time as a radio DJ, where he stumbled upon an album of Argentine Tango music and immediately fell in love with the sound of the bandoneón.  That same week he also first witnessed the dance at a local milonga, and ever since then this rich music and the movements made to its textures by couples in an embrace have been the dominant artistic forces in his life.  Clint brings to Amarras a decade of experience immersed in the study of the bandoneón, the musical form, the dance, the culture, and the language, including studies with teachers of each of these aspects in the US and Argentina.  He hopes to build a vibrant scene in which the musical tradition of Argentine Tango is refracted through the lens of this city of immigrants, and where the resulting new sounds can move dancers and listeners as a living music expressing a vital resistance to cultural hegemony.

Aparna Halpé (L.R.S.M.) studied violin performance from the age of three in Sri Lanka, earned a Licentiate of the Royal Schools of Music (London), and played as the assistant concertmaster in the Sri Lanka Philharmonic at the age of seventeen. She completed an undergraduate degree with a focus on ethnomusicology at Hobart and William Smith Colleges in Geneva NY, then migrated to Canada. She lives and works in Toronto as a professor of English literature. During her doctoral studies, Aparna discovered Argentine Tango, a passion that fused her violin performance with her scholarly interest in ethnomusicology. For Aparna, tango is an essential way of life, a celebration of the possible in an impossible world; she is glad to share this passion with her fellow musicians in the Amarras Quintet.

Double bassist Daniel Lalonde has made his mark in the Toronto music scene having recently performed with the Toronto Symphony Orchestra, The Canadian Opera Company, Kitchener-Waterloo Symphony, Windsor Symphony and various Jazz events around the GTA with his Trio. In 2015-16 Daniel was a member of the world touring crossover ensemble,  Barrage 8, performing concerts, musical outreach and recording an album. Daniel's musical experience stretches beyond classical having performed electric and double bass in progressive metal bands, folk ensembles, and pop cover bands. His love for Tango music has brought him to work and perform with the Amarras Quintet. 

Korean-Canadian cellist Soohyun Nam has appeared as soloist with the Toronto Symphony Orchestra and Sinfonia Toronto, among others, and performed across North America, Asia, and Europe. Her performances have been broadcast on CBC as well as national broadcasting networks in South Korea. As a musician with a passion for tango, Soohyun has performed with members of Forever Tango and master bandoneónist Daniel Binelli, and has appeared at all major international tango festivals in Toronto as well as on tours in Montreal and Calgary. She studied at the New England Conservatory in Boston, and is based in Toronto.

Originally from Aguascalientes, Mexico, Luis Ramirez began an early career as a pianist, and his interest in composition emerged as a result of his curiosity and enthusiasm for performing contemporary music. Luis has received numerous scholarships and performed across Mexico, Canada, Italy, and Serbia. Recently his work Chido was premiered by the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra during the Winnipeg New Music Festival in 2018. An eclectic musician, Luis has toured as a classical pianist, performed in Jazz festivals as a member of the Latin music group Indestructible Band, conducted the Brandon Community Orchestra, and is currently a member of the Amarras Tango Quintet. He studied at Brandon University and is currently pursuing a Ph.D. in Composition with Randolph Peters at York University.