Saturday, April 12, 2014

Milonga BuenOnda playlist, 4/11/2014

Since this month's date of Buen'Onda fell on the eve of the International Space Flight Day, I added the Cosmonaut theme to the cortinas :)
The warm-up / after-class tanda is Canaro's instrumentals for a change:
01. Francisco Canaro - Instrumental "La melodia de nuestro adios" 1938 3:03
02. Francisco Canaro - Instrumental  "Pampa" 1938 2:50
03. Francisco Canaro - Instrumental  "El chamuyo" 1933 3:11
The signature track from Red Elvises 1999 "Russian Bellydance" album (they are a Russian American band from LA who famously sang "Cosmonaut Petrov" at a Red Square benefit concert in 2006). You're right, I wouldn't have known about it without the kids :)
04. Russian Elvises  "Cosmonaut Petrov 1 (-3dB)"  0:28
05. Juan d'Arienzo "El Cencerro" 1937 2:40
06. Juan D'Arienzo - Instrumental  "Ataniche" 1936 2:31
07. Juan D'Arienzo - Instrumental Soundtrack "El flete" 1936 2:58
Maya Kristalinskaya's bio in Russian
The 1966 Nezhnost' (Tenderness) is Maya Kristalinskaya's most famous of many famous hit songs, its star appeal only magnified when the song was included in the 1967 cult-following movie classic, "Three Poplars on Plyuschikha Street" (trust me, in Russian "Plyuschikha" sounds very mellifluous and old-Muscovite charming, but I realize that when Americans struggle to pronounce it, it comes out sorta Klingon harsh ;) ). Soon afterwards, Maya's Jewish roots got her blacklisted, and for the last 10 years of her very short life she was restricted to performing in small-town clubs, off TV and radio waves.  Maya's grave at Moscow's de facto Jewish cemetery, the beautiful and quaint Donskoe, is right next to the Pruss family plot. Her headstone reads, "You aren't gone, you just stepped out, you'll be back with a song". And yes, "Tenderness" is a space flight era song - it's about the void left when the dear one leaves Planet Earth.
08. Maya Kristalinskaya  "Nezhnost (Tenderness)"  0:17
09. Alfredo De Angelis - Carlos Dante - Julio Martel  "Pobre flor (1946)"  2:43
10. Alfredo de Angelis - Floreal Ruiz  "Mi novia de ayer" 1944-04-28 2:38
11. Alfredo de Angelis - Carlos Dante, Julio Martel  "Soñar y nada más" 1944-08-29 3:08
Trava u Doma (Grass Near the House) - the highlight of the 1982 Space Day celebration has been officially anointed as the anthem of Russian Space Agency in 2009. A long road for a song which started from a nostalgic ballad about the parents' house in a faraway village, the sad eyes of their cow, and, yes, grass near the house - with the space theme added, and the cow hastily deleted, just before the first performance. The 1982 version was still a mellow, nostalgic tune; but the following year, Zemlyane (The Earthlings Band) "rockified" it and powered it up, and the rest is history.
12. Zemlyane  "Trava u Doma 1"  0:19
13. Carlos Di Sarli Alberto Podesta "Junto a tu corazon"  3:00
14. Carlos Di Sarli Alberto Podesta "Nido Gaucho"  3:22
15. Carlos Di Sarli Alberto Podesta "Nada"  2:45
16. Zemlyane  "Trava u Doma 2"  0:17
17. Miguel Calo  "Corazon No Le Hagas Caso"  3:00
18. Miguel Calo  "Tristezas De La Calle Corrientes"  2:46
19. Miguel Calo  "Al Compas Del Corazon"  2:48
"Bravo" group was one of the pioneers of Russian rock revival of the 1980s (drawing much inspiration from the American 1950s), reaching nation-wide fame even before the Soviet powers-that-be finally allowed it to sell records (and their first post-black market disk sold 5,000,000 copies). Ahh, those were the days. The "Space Rock-n-Roll" is a later period record though, from the times when the group may have lost its trailblazer appeal - but remained faithful to its early-years sound. It must be added that April 12th, the Space Day, is also the unofficial birthday of Rock-n-Roll: the Comets recorded "Rock around the Clock" on this date in 1954.
20. Bravo "Space Rock-n-Roll" 1993 0:12
21. "Orquesta Tipica Victor - Milonga De Los Fortines - Mariano Balcarce" 1937,2:52
22. Orquesta Tipica Victor  "Cacareando"  2:45
23. "Emilio Pellejero - Mi Vieja Linda - Enalmar De Maria - 1941" 2:26
24. Zemlyane  "Trava u Doma 3"  0:27
25. Edgardo Donato  "Carnaval De Mi Barrio" 2:25
26. Donato, Edgardo "La Melodía Del Corazón" 1940 3:18
27. Edgardo Donato - Lita Morales - Romeo Gavio  "Mi Serenata" 1940 3:02
"I am Mother Earth" is a song from a 1963 movie about a heroic rescue of a marooned alien spaceship - as it happens, a rather unremarkable movie launched to fame several quite remarkable songs. 
28. Olga Voronets  "Ya - Zemlya (I am Mother Earth)" 0:18
29. Rodriguez, Enrique Enrique Rodriguez "En la buena y en la mala" 1940 2:26
30. Rodriguez, Enrique Enrique Rodriguez "llorar por una mujer" 1941 2:51
31. Rodriguez, Enrique Enrique Rodriguez "Danza Maligna" 1940 2:27
32. Maya Kristalinskaya  "Nezhnost (Tenderness)"  0:17
33. Edgardo Donato  "Quien Sera - vals" 2:15
34. Edgardo Donato  "Estrellita Mia - vals" 2:36
35. Edgardo Donato  "La Tapera - vals" 2:54
36. Zemlyane  "Trava u Doma 1"  0:19
I planned for a 2nd, even more powerful Laurenz tanda, but alas, run out of time for it...
37. Pedro Laurenz Juan Carlos Casas "No me extrana"  2:44
38. Pedro Láurenz - Juan Carlos Casas  "Vieja Amiga" 1938-05-12 3:12
39. Pedro Láurenz - Juan Carlos Casas  "Amurado" 1940-07-29 2:30
40. Olga Voronets  "Ya - Zemlya (I am Mother Earth)" 0:18
I had most reservations about my second Calo tanda for the night, beautiful and poetic but not energizing due to its brooding, melancholic quality. Still wanted to play "April Rains" (Lluvia de Abril) to conjure up some more precipitation ;) To my relief, the tanda played well in the energy flow. And the rain is to come on Sunday?
41. Miguel Caló - Raúl Iriarte  "La vi llegar" 1944 3:24
42. Miguel Calo - Raul Iriarte  "Lluvia de abril" 1945 2:42
43. Miguel Caló - Raúl Iriarte  "Cada día te extraño más" 1943 2:35
44. Russian Elvises  "Cosmonaut Petrov 1 (-3dB)"  0:28
45. Francisco Canaro - Instrumental  "Milonga de mis amores" 1937 3:03
46. Francisco Canaro "La Milonga de Bs As (Milonga)"  2:48
47. Francisco Canaro - Roberto Maida "Milonga criolla" 1936 3:05
48. Maya Kristalinskaya  "Nezhnost (Tenderness)"  0:17
49. Osvaldo Fresedo Roberto Ray "En la huella del dolor" 1934 2:48
50. Osvaldo Fresedo Roberto Ray "Sollosos" 1937 3:27
51. Osvaldo Fresedo Roberto Ray "Recuerdo de bohemia" 1935 2:36
52. Zemlyane  "Trava u Doma 3"  0:27
A mix of energetic, laughter-filled valses from three orchestras - we used the first track from the birthday dance for Jenna, so the tanda grew to 4 valses for everybody to join.
53. Enrique Rodriguez - Roberto Flores  "Salud Dinero Y Amor (vals)"  2:39
54. Francisco Lomuto - Fernando Diaz  "Cuando estaba enamorado" 1940 2:19
55. Orquesta Típica Víctor Orquesta Tipica Victor "Sin Rumbo Fijo (vals)" 2:18
56. Enrique Rodriguez - Roberto Flores  "Fru Fru (vals)"  2:57
57. Bravo - "Space Rock-n-Roll" 1993 0:12
58. Biagi, Rodolfo  "Humiliacion" 1941 2:42
59. Rodolfo Biagi Andrés Falgás "La Chacarera " 2:24
60. Rodolfo Biagi Andrés Falgás "Son Cosas del Bandoneon " 2:44
61. Zemlyane  "Trava u Doma 1"  0:19
62. Francisco Canaro Roberto Maida "Condena (S.O.S.)" 1937 2:39
63. Francisco Canaro  "Recuerdos De Paris - Roberto Maida - 1937" 3:12
64. Francisco Canaro - Roberto Maida  "Solo una novia" 1935 3:23
65. Russian Elvises  "Cosmonaut Petrov 2 (-2 dB)"  0:20
66. Carlos Di Sarli Roberto Rufino "La Mulateada"  2:22
67. Carlos di Sarli - Roberto Rufino  "Cuando un viejo se enamora" 1942 2:14
68. Carlos Di Sarli Roberto Rufino "Pena Mulata" 2:27
69. Maya Kristalinskaya  "Nezhnost (Tenderness)"  0:17
70. Alfredo de Angelis - Instrumental  "Mi dolor" 1957 2:51
71. Alfredo de Angelis - Carlos Dante  "Carillon de La Merced" 1957 2:50
72. Alfredo De Angelis  "Pavadita 1958" 1999 2:53
73. Russian Elvises  "Cosmonaut Petrov 1 (-3dB)"  0:28
74. Osvaldo Pugliese - Instrumental  "Gallo ciego" 1959-07-23 3:33
75. Osváldo Pugliese "Farol" 1943 3:22
76. Osvaldo Pugliese "Malandraca" 1949 2:52
77. Juan D'Arienzo - Instrumental  "La cumparsita" 1951 3:49
78. Arabesque  "Midnight Dancer"  3:42
79. Red Elvises "Cosmonaut Petrov" 1999 3:10
(79 total)

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Milonga Sin Nombre "Homenaje a Rodolfo Biagi y Enrique Rodriguez" playlist, March 22 2014

This marks the second time when we theme Milonga Sin Nombre after "tango orchestras of the month" (in January, it was the birthday month of Di Sarli and Tanturi, and DJ Mark rather elegantly marked Di Sarli and Tanturi tandas by displaying different color roses at the DJ table). It is the tango DJ's perennial quandary, how to educate the tangueros about the music without being didactic or boring or non-danceable. Just how does one nudge the dancers to think about the music titles, orchestras, epochs, and singers without distracting them from the dance?

I'd love to hear your suggestions. Personally, I believe that a good milonga doesn't lend any possibilities for lecturing or quizzing of any sort ... but once a milonga is over, then it may be great to give the tangueros a chance to re-visit the music they liked, and to ask more questions about it. That's how I started my own path into understanding tango music and poetry - by asking DJs such as Dan "Red Fox" Boccia or Homer Ladas about the records they played.

For bios of Rodolfo Biagi and Enrique Rodriguez and my thoughts about their role on tango's history and present, please check the milonga flyer. And now, to the playlist:

01. Carlos Di Sarli - Instrumental "El ingeniero" 1952 3:25
02. Carlos Di Sarli - Instrumental "El Once" 2:48
03. Carlos Di Sarli - Instrumental "El amanecer" 1951 2:30
04.   "Bremenskie Lullaby Cortina"  0:31
Do you notice how Enrique Rodriguez hushes the final beat of each tango? There are two schools of thought about it... some think that it's still perfectly OK to finish a dance with a flourish on the non-existent note; others maintain that it's uncool to underscore what's not there in the music, and so, if you are in the know, then you'll stop on Rodriguez's actual final beat, rather than on the one which "sort of makes sense" except it isn't there.
A sampler of the more lyrical Rodriguez tangos:
05. Enrique Rodriguez - Armando Moreno "Como Se Pianta La Vida"  2:25
06. Enrique Rodriguez - Roberto Flores  "Son cosas de bandoneon"  2:42
07. Enrique Rodriguez - Andres Falgas  "Alma en pena" 1946 3:05
08. Russian Folk  "Kalinka-Malinka 2 (cortina)"  0:25
09. Francisco Canaro - Roberto Maida "Milonga del corazon" 1938 2:48
10. Francisco Canaro - Ernesto Fama  "Milonga del 900" 1933 2:55
11. Francisco Canaro - Roberto Maida "Milonga criolla" 1936 3:00
12. Carmen Piculeata  "Vien, Tzigane" 2013 0:24
13. Ricardo Tanturi - Enrique Campos  "Oigo Tu Voz" 3:07
14. Tanturi, Ricardo  "Madame Ivonne" 1942 2:18
15. Ricardo Tanturi  "Que Nunca Me Falte"  2:42
16. "Malysh i Karlson Cortina"  0:22
Vintage Biagi,  powerful, primal, vibrant. These records came from my very first tango CD, "Alex 4 Shorey":
17. Rodolfo Biagi - Jorge Ortíz "Humillación" 1941 2:42
18. Rodolfo Biagi - Jorge Ortíz "Indiferencia" 1942 2:33
19. Rodolfo Biagi -  Andrés Falgás "La chacarera" 1940 2:24
20. Russian Folk  "Kalinka-Malinka 1 (cortina)"  0:25
The trio of Enrique Rodriguez's most light-hearted valses ... it was too short a milonga to add another tanda of his more complex, folk song-based valses such as "Los Piconeros", "Las Espigadoras", or"En el Volga yo te espero".
21. Enrique Rodriguez - Roberto Flores  "Salud Dinero Y Amor (vals)"  2:39
22. Enrique Rodrigues "Tengo mil novias-Roberto Flores-1939(Vals)" 3:06
23. Enrique Rodriguez - Roberto Flores  "Fru Fru (vals)"  2:57
24. Carmen Piculeata  "Vien, Tzigane" 2013, 2013 0:24
25. Lucio Demare - Hector Alvarado  "Malena" 1951 3:13
26. Lucio Demare - Juan Carlos Miranda  "Manana zarpa un barco" 1942 3:22
27. Lucio Demare - Juan Carlos Miranda  "No te apures, Carablanca" 1942 3:29
28. Victor Tsoy  "Gruppa Krovi (cortina)"  0:36
"Llorar por una mujer" may be the most famous of Enrique Rodriguez's tango compositions; Cadicamo's lyrics of "En la buena y en la mala" are to die for; and "Danza Maligna" is the truest manifesto of tango: "Let's live together for the quarter of an hour // Of this oldtime and evil dance", or how about these lines: "Ungodly pleasure, the perverted dance // the tango is a rite and a religion"
29. Enrique Rodriguez - Armando Moreno  "Llorar por una mujer" 1941 2:51
30. Enrique Rodriguez - Armando Moreno "En la buena y en la mala" 1940 2:26
31. Enrique Rodriguez - Armando Moreno "Danza Maligna" 1940 2:27
32. Lidiya Ruslanova  "Valenki 3 (cortina)"  0:24
Cut for live music!
Brian and Dave playing at Milonga Sin Nombre

The three classic Biagi milongas:
33. Rodolfo Biagi - Alberto Amor  "Flor de monserrat" 1945 2:16
34. Rodolfo Biagi - Teófilo Ibáñez  "Campo afuera" 1939 2:08
35. Rodolfo Biagi - Carlos Saavedra "Por la huella" 1948 2:47
36. Carmen Piculeata  "Vien, Tzigane" 2013, 2013 0:24
I whispered to Irina, "Could you believe it that in the music I selected, there is no Fresedo and no Laurenz?", and she was, like, "No way, can it be fixed?" :)
37. Osvaldo Fresedo - Roberto Ray  "Isla de Capri" 1935 3:17
38. Osvaldo Fresedo - Roberto Ray  "En la huella del dolor" 1934 2:49
39. Osvaldo Fresedo - Roberto Ray  "Niebla del Riachuelo" 1937 2:25
40. Lidiya Ruslanova  "Valenki 4 (cortina)"  0:24
41. Donato, Edgardo Various Artists "La Melodía Del Corazón" 1940 3:18
42. Edgardo Donato - Lita Morales - Romeo Gavio  "Mi Serenata" 1940 3:02
43. Donato, Edgardo  "El Adios" 1938 3:09
44. Carmen Piculeata  "Egy kis cigainy dal" 2013, 2013 0:29
So many exhilarating, energetic valses of Biagi's orchestra! One tanda is far too little to give proper credit to them - Biagi's "Lagrimas y Sonrisas", "Amor y Vals", "La Loca de Amor", "Lejos de Ti","Viejo Porton" and others are a good milonga's must-play. For this tanda, I picked 3 records united by the vocal of Andres Falgas; the 2nd one has a special place in my memory, of an ornate slope-side veranda perched high amid the vineyards of Prague, where shadows of the dancers swirled to the sound of the vals on its ceiling.
45. Rodolfo Biagi - Andres Falgas  "El ultimo adios (vals)" 1940 2:09
46. Rodolfo Biagi - Andres Falgas  "Dejame amarte aunque sea un di (vals)" 1939 2:55
47. Rodolfo Biagi - Andres Falgas  "Dichas que vivi (vals)" 1939 2:17
48. Carmen Piculeata  "Vien, Tzigane" 2013 0:24
49. Miguel Caló - Raúl Berón  "Jamás retornarás" 1942-10-09 2:31
50. Miguel Caló - Raúl Berón  "Corazón no le hagas caso" 1942-09-29 3:00
51. Miguel Caló - Raúl Berón  "Al compás del corazón" 1942-04-29 2:48
An assortment of years and vocalists to showcase Biagi's gentler, more lyrical side (and sorry for the DJ's oops moment with a missing cortina):
52. Rodolfo Biagi - Andrés Falgás "Queja Indiana" 1939 2:24
53. Rodolfo Biagi - Jorge Ortíz "Todo Te Nombra" 1940 3:33
54. Rodolfo Biagi- Carlos Acuña "Tu Voz" 1944 2:29
55. Lidiya Ruslanova  "Valenki 1 (cortina)"  0:24
As I already mentioned, it may be hard to play a milonga tanda of Enrique Rodriguez if you aren't up to interpreting tangofox as a kind of a milonga. And El Rey de Fox has myriad excellent tangofox records of all moods and sounds! But tangueros tend to be too shy to dance to them, often consigning these tracks to alternative milongas despite their most classic, vintage BsAs sound. In fact the first time I had a chance to dance to "Para Mi Eres Divina" was at an alternative milonga DJ'd by Varo in ABQ (thanks, man!!) In the following sampler, the first tune is a remixed (and faithfully translated) New York Yiddish pop record, immortalized by Andres Sisters in the 1920s; the second one remixes Brahms classic; and the final one is came from von Geczy's operetta which molded a fox after Hungarian folk czárdás. Be warned, tangofoxes may be highly addictive - it may take a long time to get a tune out of your head!
56. Enrique Rodriguez - Roberto Flores  "Para mi eres divina" 1938 2:28
57. Enrique Rodriguez  "Danza Hungara no 5" 1947 2:43
58. Enrique Rodriguez "Amor en budapest"  2:43
59. Carmen Piculeata  "Vien, Tzigane" 2013, 2013 0:24
60. Carlos Di Sarli - Alberto Podestá  "Lloran las campanas" 1944-09-20 2:58
61. Carlos Di Sarli - Alberto Podesta "La Capilla Blanca"  2:55
62. Carlos Di Sarli - Alberto Podesta "Junto a tu corazon"  3:00
63. Russian Folk  "Gypsy Girl (cortina)"  0:22
64. Edgardo Donato - Horacio Lagos - Lita Morales "Sinsabor" 1939 2:53
65. Edgardo Donato "Sinfonia de arrabal"  2:55
66. Edgardo Donato  "Carnaval De Mi Barrio" 2:25
67. "Bremenskie Lullaby Cortina"  0:31
68.  Osváldo Pugliese - Jorge Maciel "Remembranzas" 1956 3:41
69. Osváldo Pugliese - Roberto Chanel "Rondando Tu Esquina" 1945 2:49
70. Osváldo Pugliese - Instrumental "Recuerdo" 1943 2:45
71. Juan D'Arienzo - Instrumental  "La cumparsita" 1951 3:49
72. Israel Kamakawiwo'ole  "Over The Rainbow" 2001 3:32
(72 total)

Let's celebrate Rodolfo Biagi and Enrique Rodriguez!

-A Milonga Sin Nombre flyer -

March is the birthday month of Argentine Tango orchestra leaders Rodolfo Biagi and Enrique Rodriguez!

Rodolfo Biagi
March 14, 1906, Buenos Aires – September 24, 1969

Arguably the most handsome of the great tango orchestra organizers, Biagi was an insatiable piano prodigy who started playing at the movie halls of Buenos Aires at 13, keeping it a secret from his disapproving parents. At 15, he already played with the Tango Old Guard legend, Juan Maglio “Pacho”. 
Biagi’s fingers can be instantly recognized when we hear the trademark scattering of crystal chimes of his piano keys, even before he formed his own orchestra. From 1935 to 1938, Rodolfo Biagi famously played with Juan D’Arienzo, the revolutionary of the tango music, making tango vibrantly rhythmic, youthfully energetic, and in this way, many historians say, laying the foundation for the Golden Age of Argentine Tango.  

In Biagi’s and D’Arienzo’s lifetimes, though, their contribution to tango has often been dismissed and even berated. They were blamed for supposedly simplifying the tango, for “kowtowing to the base instincts of the wild dancing youth”. I don’t know how the critics could say it; to my ear, Biagi is simply irresistible, yet musically, not simple at all.  It’s a crazy pleasure to dance to Biagi with someone who shares your understanding of his music!

In 1938, Rodolfo Biagi struck on his own. Today, the most popular Biagi’s tangos, valses, and milongas are from this earliest, purest, exuberant period, which lasted roughly from 1938 to 1940. Later in the decade, his music grows slower, more subdued, and more melodic, before returning to driving, yet more complex, rhythm in the late 1940s.

Enrique Rodriguez
March 8, 1901 - September 4, 1971

Another great tango orchestra leader whom the highbrow tango critics loved to hate, Enrique Rodriguez was the true dancer’s musician who understood the rhythms of the dancing bodies like few others. Yet unlike Biagi, decades after his death, Enrique Rodriguez remains shut out from the best dance floors of Buenos Aires; his popularity is the strongest abroad. The supposed “sins” of Enrique Rodriguez include a widespread use of foreign music motifs (he remixed a great deal of classic, popular, and folk music from all over the world into dance tunes), the many non-tango dancing genres he played (earning to himself – oh horror! – the title of El Rey Del Fox!), his eagerness to add strange musical instruments into tango music, and even the supposedly ever-upbeat mood of his music. In other words, Rodriguez is found guilty of exactly the things which make him so dear to my heart!

First and foremost a bandoneonist who played with Pacho and Canaro in the Old Guard days, Enrique Rodriguez was also a fluent piano and violin player, and a wonderful composer. His rhythmic style developed in the mold of Edgardo Donato’s orchestra, after Rodriguez played with Donato in the late 1920s.

When Enrique Rodriguez convened his own grand orchestra in 1936, he pointedly refused to name it a Tango Orchestra. Instead, it was christened “an orchestra of all rhythms” which also played foxtrots, rancheras, pasodobles, polkas for the dancing public which didn’t just tango. Today, we often choose to dance to these very tango-flavored, fast-paced pieces in the rhythm of a spicy milonga. In fact, despite having recorded wonderfully rhythmic tangos and exuberant valses, Enrique Rodriguez’s orchestra didn’t leave us good milonga records … if you want to dance milonga to Rodriguez, you better not be shy about doing it to the sound of Argentine foxtrot!

For the music selection of our Biagi and Rodriguez night and more comments about the music, check Milonga Sin Nombre's playlist for March 22, 2014

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Flor de Narciso Milonga playlist, March 8th 2014

This time I tried to do lots of homework, trying less familiar records, listening, reshuffling, again and again. I hope I didn't overdo the "new and unfamiliar" part, and ended up with the mix which remains rich on tango's best hits. But I really need your feedback and criticism! The cortinas here came, mostly, from a Montreal Gipsy Orchestra, courtesy of Keith Elshaw.
01. Carlos Di Sarli  Instrumental  "9 Puntos" 3:27
02. Carlos di Sarli - Instrumental  "El ingeniero" 1955 3:18
03. Carlos di Sarli - Instrumental  "Indio manso" 1958 2:53
04. Cortina Carmen Piculeata  "Egy kis cigainy dal" 2013, 0:29
05. Biagi, Rodolfo  "Humiliacion" 1941 2:42
06. Biagi, Rodolfo Jorge Ortíz "Indiferencia"  2:33
07. Biagi, Rodolfo  "La chacarera" 1940 2:24
(we'll have much more Biagi on the 22nd when we celebrate his birthday at the upcoming Milonga Sin Nombre!)
08. Cortina Carmen Piculeata  "Variation Corelli" 2013, 0:28
09. Edgardo Donato  "Quien Sera - vals" 2:15
10. Edgardo Donato  "La Tapera - vals" 2:54
11. Edgardo Donato  "Estrellita Mia - vals" 2:36
12. Cortina Carmen Piculeata  "Vien, Tzigane" 2013, 0:24
13. Carlos Di Sarli Alberto Podesta "No esta"  2:45
14. Carlos Di Sarli  Alberto Podesta"La Capilla  Blanca" 2:57
15. Carlos Di Sarli Alberto Podesta "Al compas del Corazon"  3:19
16. Cortina Carmen Piculeata  "Egy kis cigainy dal" 2013, 0:29
17. Osvaldo Fresedo Roberto Ray "Recuerdo de bohemia" 1935 2:36
18. Osvaldo Fresedo Roberto Ray "Yo no se llorar" 1933 2:36
19. Osvaldo Fresedo "Sollozos"  3:27
20. Cortina Carmen Piculeata  "Minor Blues" 2013, 0:23
All three slow milongas below have impeccable Argentine pedigrees, yet of course people don't quite dig them. Rodolfo was openly fuming, "no es tango"! Es milonga, Rodolfo ... es milonga muy lente. But can I play them in three-track tandas at all? Maybe later in the course of a night? Anyway the dancers told me nice things about my traditional tandas, but only complained about the very first non-traditional set I played ... so I think I'll stick with the classics for the rest of the night :)
21. Erskine Maytorena Qtango  "Milonga Triste" 2011 4:17
22. Hugo Diaz   "Milonga Para Una Armonica" 1973 4:25
23. Paco Mendoza & DJ Vadim  "Los Ejes De Mi Carreta" 2013 3:23
24. Cortina Carmen Piculeata  "Vien, Tzigane" 2013, 0:24
Love Di Sarli's rhythmics as much as his melodic and dramatic pieces! 
25. Carlos di Sarli - Roberto Rufino  "Corazón" 1939 2:46
26. Carlos di Sarli - Instrumental  "Nobleza de arrabal" 1940 2:07
27. Carlos di Sarli - Instrumental  "Catamarca" 1940 2:23
28. Cortina Carmen Piculeata  "Egy kis cigainy dal" 2013, 0:29
29. Ricardo Tanturi - Enrique Campos  "Oigo Tu Voz" 3:07
30. Tanturi, Ricardo  "Madame Ivonne" 1942 2:18
31. Ricardo Tanturi  "Que Nunca Me Falte"  2:42
32. Russian Folk  "Gipsy Girl (cortina)"  0:22
33. skipped Montreal cortina track
34. Juan D'Arienzo - Instrumental  "Pabellon de las rosas" 1935 2:50
35. Juan D'Arienzo - Instrumental  "Valsecito de Antes" 1937-08-31 2:19
36. Juan D'Arienzo  "Lágrimas y Sonrisas (Vals)"  3:12
37. Cortina Carmen Piculeata  "Egy kis cigainy dal" 2013, 0:29
38. Donato, Edgardo  "El Adios" 1938 3:09
39. Edgardo Donato - Lita Morales - Romeo Gavio  "Mi Serenata" 1940 3:02
40. Edgardo Donato  "Sinfonia de Arrabal" 3:07
41. Cortina Carmen Piculeata  "Vien, Tzigane" 2013, 0:24
42. Enrique Rodriguez "En la buena y en la mala" 1940 2:26
43. Enrique Rodríguez "Llorar por una mujer" 2:47
44. Enrique Rodriguez "Alma en pena" 1946 3:05
(Come to Milonga Sin Nombre on the 22nd for much more Enrique Rodriguez - we're going to celebrate his birthday along with Biagi's)
45. Cortina Carmen Piculeata  "Minor Blues" 2013, 2013 0:23
46. Juan D'Arienzo "La Punalada (Milonga)"  2:02
47. Juan D'Arienzo - Instrumental  "El esquinazo" 1938-01-04 2:34
48. Juan D'Arienzo "Milonga De Mis Amores"  2:26
49. special requested! Actually, as the milongas played, Raina suggested that Sadie Hawkins / International Women's Day chica's choice tanda be next ... but all of a sudden the plan morphed into something completely different: birthday valses for Alice, our generous, fearless organizer of Salt Lake's very first milonga in this very new dance venue "on the other side of the tracks". 
Aaah I'm scrambling for valses now - for starters, it's Pugliese 1943 instrumental, "Desde el Alma", the absolute standout among Pugliese's few vals records. 
Followed by "Waltlz of the Butterfly", a cryptic record widely circulated among tangueros who danced in Turkey. The disks claim to have been recorded by St. Petersburg Lyric Ensemble of Seitkaliev (sometimes Seyitkaliyev), but there is no record of such group or musician (there is a young ballroom tango dancer by the same last name in Kazakhstan but any connection is murky). Most of Seitkaliev's records are waltzes, including some classic Argentine valses, but also some tangos. All tracks have been renamed in English or French. For example, Corazon de Oro is called "Sympathique" on their "Dance with me" CD. Intriguingly, I just found the 2012 youtube clip, which hints that Azamat Seitkaliev's group may be Konya University Chamber Ensemble, at former historic
Roman Iconium in Anatolia (in Turkish, Konya Üniversitesi Oda Müziği Topluluğu)?
The last record in this special set of dramatic, accelerating and slowing down waltzes, is "Valse Boston" interpreted by Ukraine's Sergey Luchko, a waltz with an actual St Petersburg pedigree. Originally sung to guitar by Alexander Rosenbaum, an Petersburger EMT turned a bard, it was a hit in Russia of our youth, a campfire must-sing. How strange that Luchko's 2011 record only turned up in my quest for tanda-mates for Pugliese's"Desde el Alma" last week!
50. Carlos di Sarli - Roberto Rufino  "Patotero sentimental" 1941 2:34
51. Di Sarli, Carlos  "Charlemos" 1941 2:31
52. Carlos Di Sarli Alberto Podesta "Junto a tu corazon"  3:00
53. Cortina Carmen Piculeata  "Vien, Tzigane" 2013 0:24
54. Pedro Laurenz - Alberto Podesta  "Recien" 1943 2:43
55. Pedro Laurenz - Alberto Podesta  "Todo" 1943 2:37
56. Pedro Laurenz - Alberto Podesta  "Garua" 1943 3:09
57. Russian Folk  "Gypsy Girl (cortina)"  0:22
My third Tanturi vals choice was, originally, Desde el Alma, but I already played Pugliese's mindblowing version in an impromptu Vals Special set. So to keep with the proprieties of tango DJing, I frantically searched for a different vals to complete this tanda ... whew!
58. Ricardo Tanturi - Enrique Campos  "Al pasar (fast)" 1943 2:10
59. Ricardo Tanturi - Alberto Castillo  "A mi madre (Con los amigos) (fast)" 1943 2:35
60. Ricardo Tanturi - Enrique Campos  "Me beso y se fue" 1945 2:36
61. Cortina Carmen Piculeata  "Vien, Tzigane" 2013, 0:24
62. Juan D'Arienzo "Yapeyu" 1951 2:26
63. Juan D'Arienzo "Dime mi amor"  2:40
64. Juan d'Arienzo "Pensalo Bien" 1938 2:17
65. Cortina Carmen Piculeata  "Egy kis cigainy dal" 2013 0:29
When it comes to Canaro's tangos, I guess I belong to the Maida Generation :). It is indeed a generational shift which followed the runaway popularity of Maida's "Poema" abroad. In Buenos Aires, Ernesto Famá remains "the" Canaro vocalist. I tried playing Canaro-Famá before and wasn't convinced. But this time, I totally fell for "Te quiero todavia" with its unusual, and IMHO unforgettable, melody: 
66. Francisco Canaro - Ernesto Fama  "Tormenta" 1939 2:38
67. Francisco Canaro - Ernesto Fama  "Te quiero todavia" 1939 2:54
68. Francisco Canaro - Ernesto Fama  "Yo no se porque te quiero" 1934 3:10
69. Cortina Carmen Piculeata  "Minor Blues" 2013, 0:23
70. "Orquesta Tipica Victor - Milonga De Los Fortines - Mariano Balcarce" 1937, 2:52
71. Orquesta Tipica Victor  "Cacareando"  2:45
72. Varios Artists  "Emilio Pellejero - Mi Vieja Linda - Enalmar De Maria - 1941" 2:26
73. Cortina Carmen Piculeata  "Vien, Tzigane" 2013, 2013 0:24
Juan Carlos Miranda was Demare orchestra's first, and really defining, vocalist (they recorded "Malena"!). But their work together didn't last long, and Demare later criticized Miranda for being, suposedly, a "chansonnier" rather than a true "tango singer". They cut just over a dozen recordings. Horacio Quintana's career with Demare later in the mid-40s was even more short lived, and I find it hard to play Demare-Quintana without combining them with Miranda or Beron: 
74. Lucio Demare - Juan Carlos Miranda  "No te apures, Carablanca" 1942 3:29
75. Lucio Demare - Juan Carlos Miranda  "Manana zarpa un barco" 1942 3:22
76. Lucio Demare - Horacio Quintana "Torrente" 1944 3:10
77. Cortina Carmen Piculeata  "Egy kis cigainy dal" 2013, 0:29
78. Miguel Caló - Raúl Berón  "Jamás retornarás" 1942 2:31
79. Miguel Caló - Raúl Berón  "Corazón no le hagas caso" 1942 3:00
80. Miguel Caló - Raúl Berón  "Al compás del corazón" 1942 2:48
81. Carmen Piculeata  "Vien, Tzigane" 2013, 2013 0:24
Did I say, Generation Maida ;) ?
82. Francisco Canaro  "Recuerdos De Paris - Roberto Maida" 1937, 3:12
83. Francisco Canaro - Roberto Maida "Nada mas" 1938 3:00
84. Francisco Canaro - Roberto Maida "Condena (S.O.S.)" 1937 2:39
less than 15 minutes remaining means that it's time for the crescendo, juxtaposing late De Angelis with Pugliese
85. Alfredo De Angelis  "Pavadita 1958" 2:53
86. Alfredo De Angelis  "Felicia 1969" 2:48
87. Osvaldo Pugliese - Instrumental  "El monito" 1945 2:19
88. Osváldo Pugliese "Farol" 1943 3:22
89. Alfredo de Angelis - Instrumental  "La cumparsita (Matos Rodriguez)" 1961 3:33

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Practilonga del Centro playlist, Jan 27 2014

Just the day before, Wasatch Tango Club approved my crazy idea of turning our traditional August Mountain Milonga retreat into a 2-night event, and put me in charge of this soon-to-be defined festathon. The very first thing I discovered was that almost all August weekends at the WMC Lodge were already booked! A frantic activity ensued, quizzing people who attended similar events in other states (such as Saltwater or Burning Tango), hammering a custom reservation agreement with the Lodge Foundation, scoping potential guest DJs... and so when I showed up at Squatters at half past six, I still haven't done a second of DJ's homework. Don't get me wrong, I can probably play hours of tango music off my memory, or occasionally checking notes, but I don't want to miss my chances of learning something new, and trying something new, and listening to a lot of tracks which don't come up naturally in my mind, and putting the puzzle pieces together. But not this time, alas. Tonight I gotta stay in the more familiar terrain for all 3 hours of it.
01. Carlos di Sarli - Instrumental  "Indio Manso" 1958 2:57
02. Carlos di Sarli - Instrumental "El amanecer" 1951 2:30
(cut to two tracks ... I consider these Di Sarli instrumentals great for a warm-up, but it's just me and Julianne in the loft now, and personally, I'd rather warm upto D'Arienzo :) )
03. Juan D'Arienzo - Alberto Echagüe  "Mandria" 1939 2:26
04. Juan D'Arienzo - Alberto Echagüe  "Ansiedad" 1938 2:38
05. Juan d'Arienzo "Que Importa" 1939 2:08
06. Anibal Troilo - Alberto Marino/Floreal Ruiz  "Palomita Blanca (Vals)"  3:22
07. Anibal Troilo Floreal Ruiz "Flor De Lino"  2:55
do you guys remember the days when Romance de Barrio was Quinteto Noir's hit? I'm getting nostalgic...
08. Anibal Troilo Floreal Ruiz "Romance De Barrio"  2:38
09. Rodolfo Biagi - Jorge Ortiz  "Quiero verte una vez más" 1940 3:00
10. Rodolfo Biagi - Andres Falgas  "Queja indiana" 1939 2:24
11. Rodolfo Biagi "Todo te nombra" 1940 3:33
12. Pedro Laurenz Alberto Podestá "Todo"  2:35
13. Pedro Laurenz Alberto Podestá "Garua"  3:12
14. Pedro Laurenz Alberto Podestá "Alma de Bohemio"  2:45
I said, staying in the familiar terrain, and so I'm not gonna by shy about playing favorite, fleshy milongas of Di Sarli yet again!
15. Carlos Di Sarli Roberto Rufino "Zorzal"  2:40
16. Carlos di Sarli - Roberto Rufino  "Pena mulata" 1941 2:27
17. Carlos Di Sarli Roberto Rufino "La Mulateada"  2:22
18. Francisco Canaro Instrumental "Pampa" 1938 2:49
I don't hear it too often at the milongas, yet I hear it too often inside my head ... so nice to be out on the dance floor when it sounds:
19. Francisco Canaro -Roberto Maida  "Recuerdos De Paris" 1937 3:12
20. Francisco Canaro - Roberto Maida "Invierno" 1937 3:26
A nod in Julianne's direction:
21. Alfredo de Angelis - Instrumental  "Mi dolor" 1957 2:51
22. Alfredo de Angelis - Instrumental  "Felicia" 1969 2:47
23. Alfredo De Angelis  "Pavadita 1958"  2:53
24. Enrique Rodriguez "Tengo mil novias-Roberto Flores-1939(Vals)" 2002 3:06
25. Enrique Rodriguez - Roberto Flores  "Fru Fru"  2:57
26. Enrique Rodriguez  "En El Volga Yo Te Espero - Armando Moreno" 1943 2:40
27. Edgardo Donato  "El Adios" 1938 3:09
28. Edgardo Donato - Lita Morales - Romeo Gavio  "Mi Serenata" 1940 3:02
29. Edgardo Donato  "Sinfonía De Arrabal" 1940 3:07
30. Osvaldo Fresedo - Roberto Ray  "Isla de Capri" 1935 3:16
31. Osvaldo Fresedo Roberto Ray "Vida mia" 1933 3:23
(a quick on-the-fly reordering ... thank you foobar 2000 for all the flexibility ... as you can see, instead of milongas I got another, much loved vals tanda. To tell you a little secret, it's just Larisa and Andrey just got on the dance floor minutes ago, and so I'd rather save a milonga tanda for a bit later ;) )
32. Roberto Firpo Various Artists "El Aeroplano" 1999 2:14
33. Roberto Firpo  "Olga"  2:10
34. Orquesta Tipica Victor - Lita  "Noches de invierno" 1937 2:47
35. Lucio Demare - Juan Carlos Miranda  "No te apures, Carablanca" 1942-10 3:34
36. Lucio Demare - Juan Carlos Miranda  "Manana zarpa un barco" 1942 3:22
37. Lucio Demare "Cómo se hace un tango - Raul Beron" 1943 3:14
38. Ricardo Tanturi - Enrique Campos  "Oigo tu voz" 1943 3:07
39. Ricardo Tanturi - Enrique Campos  "Que nunca me falte" 1943 2:42
40. Ricardo Tanturi - Enrique Campos  "Una emocion" 1943 2:37
41. Juan D'Arienzo - Instrumental  "Milonga vieja milonga" 1937 2:41
42. Juan D'Arienzo - Instrumental  "De pura cepa" 1935 2:41
43. Juan D'Arienzo - Instrumental  "El esquinazo" 1938 2:34
44. Rodolfo Biagi  "Humiliacion" 1941 2:42
45. Rodolfo Biagi Jorge Ortíz "Zaraza"  2:42
46. Rodolfo Biag Jorge Ortíz "Indiferencia"  2:33
47. Carlos Di Sarli Alberto Podesta "Junto a tu corazon"  3:00
48. Carlos Di Sarli Alberto Podesta "Tu!...El cielo y tu!"  2:59
49. Carlos Di Sarli - Oscar Serpa  "Verdemar" 2001 3:01
50. Francisco Canaro - Roberto Maida "Milonga brava " 1938 2:32
51. Francisco Canaro - Ernesto Fama, Angel Ramos  "Milonga sentimental" 1933 3:10
52. Francisco Canaro - Ernesto Fama  "Milonga del 900" 1933 2:55
53. Ángel D'Agostino  "Ángel D'Agostino - Ángel Vargas / Tres Esquinas"  3:08
54. Ángel D'Agostino  "Ángel D'Agostino - Ángel Vargas / Mano Blanca"  2:43
55. Ángel D'Agostino  "Ángel D'Agostino - Ángel Vargas / Ninguna"  2:59
We are running far past the scheduled closing time, and there are big cuts in my quickly cobbled together draft playlist. On Hans's insistence I let go of the "too-classic" valses of de Angelis ... but then, not a minute later, Julianne talks me into adding it back :) :) :) Let's roll!
56. Alfredo de Angelis - Carlos Dante, Julio Martel  "A Magaldi" 1947 2:50
57. Alfredo de Angelis - Carlos Dante, Julio Martel  "Soñar y nada más" 1944 3:08
58. Alfredo de Angelis - Carlos Dante, Julio Martel  "Pobre flor (Primera ilusión)" 1946 2:41
59. Francisco Canaro - Roberto Maida  "Ciego" 1935 2:57
60. Francisco Canaro - Roberto Maida "Ojos negros que fascinan" 1935 2:51
61. Osvaldo Pugliese "Rondando Tu Esquina" 1945 2:49
62. Osvaldo Pugliese "Gallo Ciego"  3:34
63. Osváldo Pugliese "Farol" 1943 3:22
64. Juan D'Arienzo - Instrumental  "La cumparsita" 1951 3:49
(64 total)
... and back from where we started: Mountain Milonga is on track! Mark you calendars for Aug 8-10 2014 ... yes, a BIG party, all Friday. all Saturday, all Sunday, and hopefully add to it another Monday night for a tangover party at Squatters! Special thanks to Guadalupe for the images used in this collage:

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Prague Tango Alchemie, Summer Solstice 2013

Praha! To chutná jak hlt vína,
Opakuji si stokráte

Prague’s heady like a gulp of wine,
I keep repeating and repeating

Jaroslav Seifert, “Wreath of Sonnets”

Argentine Tango is an art of mastering your own body and the body of your partner
to be able to compose a unique musical conversation on the dance floor.
MilaGrosa Vigdorova

6 Chapters of Magic:
White Night
Red Night
Celestial Night
No longer Black Night
Grobovka Vineyards
The final Element
Tangueros of the world are a gypsy caravan-like community, or a secret society if you will – people who understand one another and communicate without words, relying solely on the language of bodies and eyes, and who sometimes struggle to remember foreign-sounding names of their dance partners with whom they just shared a tanda, the proverbial 15 minutes of motion, music, and heart-to-heart connection.

Viviremos los dos el cuarto de hora
de la danza nostálgica y maligna

Let’s live together, the two of us, for a quarter of an hour
Of this evil and nostalgic dance
Claudio Frollo, “Danza Maligna”

It is a rite and religion, goes on the verse. And we have no doubt about it. Throughout the year, across the globe, tangueros of all languages and ages gather in large halls of tango festivals and marathons to mingle together and to dance their fill.
Some are locals, some travel hundreds kilometers, and a few, like us, cross continents and oceans

Solstice Magic of Prague

Prague Tango Alchemie festival is a relative newcomer to the Old Continent’s Argentine Tango scene (where some tango meet-ups date back to the very early years of Argentine Tango revival world-wide, like the festival in Sitges, Catalonia, or the tango camp in Nijmengen, the Netherlands, which boast a 20-year history).
The Alchemie has been running since 2007, but it already build a worldwide reputation for magic and splendor.
The milonga balls are styled after Elements and astrological Symbols, the venues are a succession of ever-more-stunning historic palaces, and the performances are something special, a fusion of tango and elemental symbolism.
And … it is the beautiful Prague, where the magic of ages is palpable – and nowadays, supplemented by a Vegas undertone of a Sin City which Never Sleeps (to a degree, Prague is to Germany what Vegas is to California, a strange city a short distance away, where the rules fade and where laissez-faire rules.

Alchemie 2013 started from a few disappointments … some of the gala milongas were scheduled to be in a beautiful but very modern shopping center at the edge of the Old Town; and then, flood damage took the Red Chateau (Trojsky Zamek) off the venue list; so the Red Gala Milonga would have to be in the same Slovansky Dum as well. But then the organizers added open-air street events to the mix - so we get a chance not just to see Prague, but also to show the city what we dance. And since there will be tango until 7 in the morning almost every night, we won't even have to switch to the European time zone; the plan is to sleep by the day, dance by the night.

White Night of the Moon

White Gala photo by Kristin Bjarnadottir

Clam Gallas Palace, an early XVIII c baroque edifice in Old Town which once saw grand balls with Mozart himself, and was more recently used to house city archives, is all splendor of white and gold. No wonder that it’s traditionally used by Tango Alchemie for the White Milonga. An enfilade of ornate halls leads to the main ballroom – but the white-clad tangeros are dancing in every room, big and small! And one of the first dancers to greet is Balbeska, a long-time virtual acquaintance who first introduced me to Poemas del río Wang, and whose poetic Prague travelogue of 2012 prompted us to go to Alchemie-2013. So nice to meet you in realspace at last!

At midnight, in the fountain courtyard of the Palace, the tangueros greet the change of Zodiac signs with a magic dance of lights of La Brujeria of St. Petersburg, Russia, which culminates when the candles pass from the hands of the dancers into the hands of their bewitched spectators who then join in and pass on the light – and when the music is finally over, all of us return upstairs for more tango and chat with new friends.

Red Night of the Sun

In 2013, the rest of the Gala Balls of the Alchemie got shifted to “daytime hours” – they were over by 9 in the evening, unfashionably early for the dyed-in-the-wool tangueros like us. So we usually showed up just for the last hour or two. But it was only the beginning of the night when you could keep on dancing until after sunrise. Before the Gala Milonga, there was, at last, a chance to dance on the streets of Prague, and to live bandoneon music of Maximiliano (the city’s resident street bandoneonist) at that! We met “at the Horse at Venceslaus Square” – the one which is standing upright near the National Museum, not the other horse which is suspended upside down with Saint Venceslaus perched over its belly, inside a famous pub just down the square.

The Red Night program included a walking-and-dancing tour of the Old Town which got quietly canceled and replaced by a rooftop reception and milonga at the Terrasa at Namesti Respubliki. In a typical chaotic Prague fashion, nobody quite knew the whole story, but still, soon we made our way to this beautiful perch overlooking the whole city, got drinks and gave up on getting food in this scenic but totally overwhelmed establishment, danced a few tandas and went home for a little rest before returning to Slovansky Dum to dance some more, till dawn.

Celestial Night of the Stars

The street dance of the day was supposed to happen at Mustek, “Little Bridge” which once stood over the moat separating Old and New Towns, but at the last moment it was shifted over to Uhelny Trh, a more intimate square just a block away (laissez-fair is how things work in Prague – and with unexpected baskets of strawberries from the organizers this time!) There, Maximiliano’s bandoneon captivated attention of a passerby who happened to be an accordion and garmon collector from Russia, who until this moment didn’t have a clue that such a sister instrument exists. So in a break between dances, I ended up giving a detailed history lecture in Russian, how the German instrument-designer, Herr Band, named bandoneon after himself, how he marketed it for church services as an inexpensive organ replacement, and how, instead of churches, the bandoneon found its calling in the dockside pubs and bordellos of Buenos Aires, where its sound has become synonymous with the sound of tango.

The Celestial Milonga – colored mostly starry silver and gold rather than celestine blue – ended with an exuberant chacarera dance, a spirited folk dance which has become “almost” a part of the pantheon of the dance forms accepted at tango events (the classic trio of tango proper, swirly vals, and light-hearted nimble milongadance). Then the insatiable crowd filed to Jam Cafe just down the street, indeed jamming the tables and the little dance floor really tight.

Madeleine & Jorga in Jam Cafe, J.T. Jorg's photo
Compared to a slightly hyper-formal ambiance of the Gala, the sweaty crowd and patched-up floor at the Jam created just the right vibe for me. I best remember a sweet tanda which ended with Volnushka telling me, "You are crazy" ... here I must explain that the tango etiquette virtually prohibits a polite after-dance "thank you"; the "thanks" is a codeword for ultimate disapproval, for get-lost. So we tangueros must express our gratitude by any other words but never "gracias" - sometimes it happens to be ambiguous words - and so for the next 24 hours I was left wondering if I was crazy in a good or a bad way :)
The last tanda was over, but el gente (as the milonga-going public may be called) still lingered in the loft of the cafe, and then the DJ played a non-tango track, and the already-crazy scene turned truly deranged (and now I knew by heart whose glance I must try catching in a silent dance invitation rite of cabeceo next time!)

The party continued in Slovansky Dum, and it was already light when we finally left and walked the deserted lanes of Old Town to Tyn and Charles Bridge - stopping for some gyro at the only eatery open at this early hour, a Turkish stand operated by a Yerevan Armenian, eager to be complemented - in Russian - on the beauty of his hometown. But Prague, it's like a gulp of wine, its beauty would leave Paris in the dust! Have you ever walked Charles Bridge alone - without any crowds? Have you seen the slanted rays of rising Sun play under its XIV c. arches? But we now needed to get home for a bit of sleep!

at Hybernia Theater
The Black Milonga, of the Element Earth, used to be a part of Alchemie's tradition, but color black is already so overused in tango costumes, the organizers replaced it with a Pure Pleasure Gala, whatever colors you prefer. But first of all it was time for a street dance, this time at Hybernia Theater. Maximiliano the bandoneonist was nowhere in sight, and we danced a bit to Volnushka's keychain mp3 player, until an angel (as Alchemie volunteers are known) brought the word that the location changed again ... a sculptural installation was being unveiled at Charles Square, and the Alchemie organizers joined in for the event.

By the time we got to Charles Square, the scheduled dancing was almost over, but since everybody was late, Maximiliano played for another half an hour. Still it didn't feel like the right time to retire into the stolid atmosphere of Slovansky Dum, and we hatched a plan to walk towards the river and Charles Bridge, dancing along the way. Volnushka had the music, and I worked as a navigator (since our route traversed the very New Town neighborhood where we stayed, and which has already become familiar to me). We danced under a lone tree Na Struze, then walked into the courtyard of the National Theater where we found a Czech rock group finishing a gig - but they agreed to play some more after a brief beer break, and then we danced. Then to Vltava embankment and Children's Island Bridge, where we danced to a crooner of a riverside cafe (In the Pines, made known to the whole world by the Nirvana, yes).
at Charles Square
And on to Charles Bridge where we momentarily created a pedestrian traffic jam when we joined a blues band and doubled the crowd of spectators. That was sweet and very Earth-elemental, as in, having real ground underfoot. But it was, finally, time to retreat indoors, to Slovansky Dum and Jam Cafe again. It was a parting night of many last hugs, yet it didn't really feel like a final night for us because we still stayed in Prague for two more nights of dancing - and so did a few other festival-goers.
The Guerrilla tangueros at Charles Bridge


Rain clouds were gathering strength but I still managed to tour the Jewish Quarter before it started pouring.

Grobovka Pavillion, nested
in the vineyards of
Vinohrady overlooking

And we were heading all the way to Vinohrady (Vineyards neighborhood) for a long walk across the estate park of Grobovka to a beautiful Art Nouveau pavilion perched on a slope in the real vineyards. The rain was unrelenting, and we had to leave our street shoes at the doorstep so as not to bring moisture to the dance floor. The place felt truly surreal, suspended between the Earth and the low clouds beyond the veil of rain. And as we danced, our interconnected shadows danced on the ornate wooden ceiling of the pavilion, as in the Pasternak's verse coming alive.
На озарённый потолок
Ложились тени -
Сплетенья рук, сплетенья ног,
Судьбы сплетенья

Distorted shadows fell
Upon the lighted ceiling:
Shadows of crossed arms,of crossed legs-
Of crossed destiny.

On our last night in Prague, the rain stopped at last, and we walked across the river to Smichov to a basement tango pub called El Element - since we already danced four nights consecrated to the Four Elements of Alchemie, this surely must have been the Fifth. The Alchemie crowds mostly dissipated by now; but the dances were very good, and so were the conversations. La Cumparsita, the signature closing tune of a tango night, came almost too soon, and we kept walking along the deserted streets and talking until it was truly time for the last embraces. We're gonna dance in Budapest tomorrow!

Friday, November 29, 2013

Empanadas, beef and vegetarian

As tasted at Milonga Sin Nombre, Especial el la Gitana Rusa :)

Relleno de carne (inspired by Frida Franco)
Makes a dozen large beef empanadas, more smaller ones

4 medium-to-small onions, chopped
2 4 oz organic beef patties (Trader Joe's)
1/2 cup frozen green peas
2 small potatoes, peeled and cooked
1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
Salt, black pepper, olive oil, green olives

Sautee onions on high heat till lightly golden brown, reduce heat and add beef, keep stirring until it browns, but not any longer. Remove the pan from the burner now. Add spices, salt, and peas (no need to cook them, they'll thaw in the remaining heat of the frying pan and that's all you need to do with them). Add mashed taters and olives. All done now. 

Frida says that one can't make relleno de carne any worse by adding even more onions; that olives are better added whole rather than sliced as we did; that hardboiled chopped eggs are a great addition; and that, although I totally made up the peas and the potatoes, these are legit ingredients in some Argentinian provinces.

Killer ginger spinach tofu empanada filling (inspired by Tho Bui)

Makes two dozen small spinach empanadas. Be warned that this recipe doesn't actually contain any spinach. I mean I'm OK with the classic Argentine empanadas de espinaca, but I thought that our vegetarian-minded tangueros deserve a more savory version. Oh, and I chose amaranth because it settles down less when it wilts in the heat. You'd need a taller pile of fresh spinach to get the same end volume, and it may be too hard for me to stir enough of it to fill two dozens empanadas.

pinkie-size chunk of ginger root
half clove of garlic (hey we are all tangueros here and we use the stuff very sparingly)
half cap chopped zucchini
1 small onion, chopped
1 sweet red pepper, chopped
12 oz amaranth (Amaranthus gangeticus), carefully washed and cut into half-inch pieces, stems and leaves but of course no roots.
1/2 pack medium-firm tofu
extra light olive oil
sauces per description

Finely chop ginger and garlic, sautee until very lightly browned (ginger hits the pan first and garlic, a short while later). Scoop them out and set aside. Now we are getting into a frantic stir-fry mode, with onions first, zukes and red pepper next, and finally amaranth a.k.a. Taiwanese spinach topped with previously set aside roasted ginger and garlic. Last goes tofu, soy sauce, and your fav flavorings such as oyster sauce, a couple drops of sesame oil, a few drops of Sriracha... I did a very unthinkable thing and cut on sauces but used salt to reduce juices (in the Far East, all salt must come from sauces or pickles, and you should never use straight salt, but I was afraid that my relleno will have too much liquid). Perhaps next time I'll throw in some finely scissors-cut, undercooked sweet potato thread noodles to soak in the juices?

And what about the dough?
Do not sweat it. A tanguero isn't supposed to work "too" hard. Get frozen jumbo white rolls dough in a store. Set them on flour-dusted trays in a reasonably warm place, covered by plastic lest their surface dries, for 2+ hours. Once they thaw and start rising, divide each roll into 4 parts for a small empanada, or 3 parts for a biggie. 

Shape each piece into a ball and let them rise, under plastic, for another half an hour. Now it's time to roll (palm size for smallies, two palms for biggies) and fill (try your best to rope-pinch the edges, otherwise Frida won't accept your handiwork). We would like to call our pastries empanadas rusas (pirozhki would be another name),  and we have enough Argentine spirit to leave the rope-pinch edges in plain sight - please do not turn the pastries upside-down like you might have done to hide the seam in the old country. Gotta have a bright golden color? Then, after setting your empanadas on a well-buttered baking tray, brush them with egg yolk before baking. Gotta have a pliable crust? Then smear them with a softened stick of butter after baking, and transfer the still-hot pastries into bowls lined, and covered, by towels.