Markus Allan is a living legend of Finnish Tango.
Born in 1945, he started giving concerts during Finnish Tango’s golden years. With the support of Toivo Kärki, composer and grand master of Finnish Tango, Allan was the first singer of Roma origin to start a successful career in Finland.
With the success of beat music in the 1970s, public interest in tango waned and Allans career took a downward turn. Rediscovered in the 1990s by film director Aki Kaurismäki, his soft and full voice make him one of the big stars of today’s Finnish Tango scene.
“For many of us, it was difficult times when rock and pop pushed tango aside. But now, it´s growing again, new small dance locations pop up, and the young are interested in tango again.”
In Kaurismäki’s movie “Drifting Clouds”, there’s a beautiful sequence where a bankrupt restaurant owner tells her sad employees that they need not come back the next day. She had to sell her beloved restaurant “Dubrovnik” to a franchise chain, and those heartless capitalists have no use for the old workforce. The jobs are gone, winter is looming in Helsinki – what could be more soothing than a really sad Finnish Tango?
So, on the last evening of “Dubrovnik”, there´s an old man on stage, chubby and silver-haired, and sings lines like: “Our vanished dreams send tears to my eyes. The winds of fate have blown them all away.” This man is Markus Allan, on set and in real life. His performance is not refined but a thousand teardrops deep.
The years have not made a dent in this great artist voice nor in his charm. In 2013, he won the Tango Finlandia Award. His 70th birthday was celebrated with a big jubilee national Tour in 2016.