It was December, and dark already at 3.30 pm. Sitting down with a cup of tea and homemade Swedish ginger biscuits, I began thinking about the new piece promised for some ESTA workshops in February, in York. How to capture some local character in the music? Romans? Vikings? VIKINGS! Jorvik is the Viking name for York, so ‘Jorvik……..Tango’! 
Bit whacky I know, and there’s no actual evidence of tangos that far back in the mists of time, but Vikings certainly knew how to party.  An exciting range of sounds came to mind as I crunched my way through the biscuits, which (appropriately) had just arrived from Scandinavia that very morning. Lots of low sounds – we had double basses, so let the piece begin with them… The cup of tea was hastily finished, the computer switched on, and slowly the dancers took to the floor.    
The workshop was great fun - Tango rhythms were mastered quickly and we achieved several increasingly enthusiastic playthroughs. And it was lovely to hear that Jorvik Tango was performed again at an end of term summer concert. 
The scoring is in four parts: violin/viola/cello/double bass - the violins all on one part to counterbalance the low instruments. Lots of younger pupils had asked to join in the workshop, so at the last minute I produced an easy optional violin 2 part - but the piece sounds the same without it. It is written for around grade 2-3 but more advanced players will enjoy it too – so it’s a good piece for all the strings to join forces in a school concert.
You can find Jorvik Tango in Mary’s Music Cupboard. It comes as a single download of score and parts, with a licence to create up to ten copies; and there is a preview audio mp3 too. 
Did Vikings Tango? Well they do now!