Wednesday, April 8, 2015

San Miguel Tango Festival, March 2015

The festival

A tango festival in San Miguel, Mexico, is to a large degree a brainchild of "Tango Clay" Nelson who has a penchant for out-of-the way locations with a special vibe. Clay started the Thanksgiving tango gathering in Ashland OR (presently known as Tango Connect), and he continues to run a retreat in a tiny Mt Shasta hamlet of McCloud CA (pop 1,000) called Burning Tango. We've been privileged to attend both, and it gave us a lot of inspiration for turning Wasatch Mountain Club's traditional Mountain Milonga into a multi-day retreat. And, at last, we also got to visit San Miguel Tango Festival (which is now run by the co-founder of the festival, Nancy Roberts)!

Toasting tango at the balcony
of the rustic McCloud ballroom.
Oh the events Clay Nelson does!
Last year some of our friends visited Nancy's festival, and told great exciting stories about San Miguel, but we were also alarmed by the difficult logistics of getting there, and generally by fears of travel in Mexico. But then Nancy came to our Mountain Milonga Retreat 2014, and stayed for Mystic Milonga afterparty ... much talk, much dance, a good deal of good wine ... anyway she insisted that we must, absolutely must join San Miguel tangofest the following year :). And here we come, to return as true believers!

But before I start talking about the festival, I think I need to talk about the town:

San Miguel de Allende, Guanajuato, Mexico
San Miguel de Allende is a very special oasis of preserved colonial history and tranquility less than 150 miles from the bustling and chaotic mega-metropolis of Mexico City. One of the largest cities of North America during its XVIII century heyday, when it had greater population than either Boston or New York, SMA (as it is universally known) hasn't gained much population by the XXI century. But over 10% of its residents are the expats now!
Cobblestone lanes, ornate doors, wrought-iron balconies, traditional tin star lamps,
and throngs of foreigners day and night
San Miguel de Allende is the cradle of Mexican independence. The 1810 Insurgency began in the nearby hamlet of Dolores Hidalgo, and San Miguel became the first liberated town (and earned the second half of its name, "de Allende", after a leader of the independence fight). But the independence disrupted the same colonial silver mine supply routes which propelled the town to its prominence under the Spanish rule. Decades of the economic downturn turned SMA into a virtual ghost town. The nearly-deserted town has been given a new license to life after the revolution of the 1910s, when the narrative of the Insurgency has become one of the key ideological threads of the new regime. San Miguel de Allende has been declared a historic and protected landmark, a living museum of the Insurgency, with its famous cobblestone streets ordered to remain unpaved in perpetuity. Gradually, the protected town started turning into a holiday destination for the capital city residents, and a magnet for the history aficionados.

Then, starting from the 1930s on, came the foreign artists, and San Miguel's art schools reached international fame. David Siqueiros taught in SMA; many Americans on GI bill studied arts there in the 40s and 50s. Then, in the '60s and '70s came hippies, backpackers, and New Age wanderers retracing the footsteps of Carlos Castaneda. 1980s are remembered as a decade of rowdiness and drinking on the cheap. And then all along a steady stream of retirees from the North, especially women, poured into the town. The XXI century with the internet and ever-shrinking size of the globe brought more people there, and San Miguel is now pretty expensive by the Mexican provincial standards. No paved streets allowed there - only cobblestone. No traffic lights, nor fast food chains and neon signs. New construction has to fit in architecturally. The town remains remarkably safe and tranquil. UNESCO declared it World Heritage site in 2008.

The experience
We arrived from Mexico City airport on Bajio shuttle the night before the festival, to the usual welcome hugs from tango friends in hotel lobby - and the less usual tango hugs at the town streets (in fact we bumped into Alexei the DJ on a quiet dark lane off the beaten path!). Had a fantastic Mazatlan-style seafood dinner at Mario's just steps from the hotel, stocked up on ripe guavas and mangos at a little bodega at a side of San Antonio church, and walked through the heart of town. Wow! In the morning we took a cab to La Gruta (~~ the Grotto) hot springs (some 6 miles and USD 15 round trip North of town) and to Galeria Atotonilco with its halls and halls of folk crafts.
San Antonio parish, octopus, lobster, and marlin at Mario's, and bright blue waters of The Grotto

We now think of the bandoneon as of the quintessential sound of tango, but the 1800s and the early 1900s tangos didn't have this sound yet - they relied on guitar, violin, flute, occasionally piano. Vincente Loduca (who, like "El Tano" Esposito, also started playing bandoneon in tango duets and trios in 1908) recalled in 1913 that the instrument was at first perceived as vulgar and inappropriate for the dancing salons. It really started to catch on only around 1910, at the same time as the tempo of tangos slowed down and legato supplanted sharp staccato of Loduca's bandoneon. Genaro "El Tano" Esposito has become one of tango's most talented bando pioneers, even recording solo bandoneon tangos as early as in 1912-1913.
"El Tano" with his Parisian orchestra in the 1920s.
His work permit was issued for the "folklore genre",
requiring them to dress in faux gaucho costumes
In 1920 "El Tano" moved to France with the fellow bandoneon player Manuel Pizarro, first playing in Marseilles for pennies, then gradually moving "up the food chain" in Paris, organizing ever-more professional and renown orchestras. In the beginning of WWII Pizarro managed to escape to Argentina on a roundabout way through Egypt, losing all his life's savings. Genaro Esposito had two little sons by his recently deceased French wife, and her grave at the Cimetière de Thiais near Paris, and his French citizenship and misplaced faith in the strength of the Allied troops - so he stayed put, and as the Nazi occupation dragged on, he was forced to sell his possessions to feed his kids, and to play music for scraps of food. In winter 1943 he managed to get on a tour but came down with pneumonia on the trip, and returned home to his sons to die just months before the D-day.

His younger son, Claude R. Esposito, grew to be an avid dancer - but with only a faint memory of tango - until he finally rediscovered tango half a century later, and then reconnected to the music of his father with the help of the French music collectors. Please visit Claude's website for more twists of this story, pictures, and records!

John Gair played the following selection of Genaro Esposito's Parisian songs at San Miguel:
Viejo amor (1931) - Borrachita (1935) - Ninita - Mi pobre corazon (1935)
A bit more wandering around town and it's time for the opening milonga. The DJ played an unusual and captivating selection of records and I instantly jumped to a conclusion that we must be listening to an old Argentine. Only to find out that he was John Gair from Port Townsend WA, the home of an Encuentro I hope to visit one day, and to learn more about organizing retreats from the experience! So nice to meet you, John! One of the milonga's musical highlights was a tanda old records of a pre-WWII tango orchestra from Paris, introduced by the son of the bandoneonist and the leader of the orchestra who was in attendance. It was a great story of tango's formative years and indeed of the arrival of bandoneon into tango - please check the inset for "El Tano" Esposito's story!
Just like the local North American expat community at large, el gente was noticeably gender imbalanced. And as it is often the case in the places South, cabeceo sort of worked, but it works a lot better once you get acquainted and accepted in the group, once you rub shoulders and engage in small talk, It takes a bit of time, and do not hesitate to spend this time, it really pays. Just like in the town at large, there are even more non-local Mexicans than gringos at the milonga, first of all the Mexico City residents known as chilangos, but also better-off city folk from all other centers of commerce and culture around the Bajio (~~ the Lowlands, as the grand swath of Mexico North of the capital city is known - from Querétaro, Guadalajara, Morelia etc.). (And not to forget, half-dozen more Latin American nations were represented as well). Keep in mind that even the remarkably sophisticated chilango weekenders may be prone to look down at the gringos, at least at the first glance - spoiled, lazy Americans, unable and unwilling to respect social proprieties to the verge of indecency, generally far too free-spirited for their own good. And conversely, we often perceive them as too concerned with the outward proprieties, too preoccupied by the matters of class and decorum, maybe even too hard-working. So be nice, dress nice, play along. Once we get on the dance floor, every facet of cultural differences fades away, and the language of tango is spoken and understood by us all. (Speaking of which, at least 2/3rds of the guests speak English well). Attending classes together is also a great way to get to know people (and when you get to know them, then cabeceo starts working even if you don't share any other language other than the body language of tango). And as the last resort for the impatient ones, there were half-dozen taxi dancers from a tango school in Querétaro, some of them really great dancers, charging about as much as a taxi ride downtown, like 2 or 3 US dollars!
The weather forecast promises rainstorms, absolutely unusual for this time of the year - probably the same unusual weather pattern which also brought freak snowstorms to the US North-East and equally unusual endless rains to Puerto Rico where we tangoed in February. So while the weather s still nice, we skip all the classes and go wandering around town.
A panorama of the pastel-hued town from the hills of Chorro,
with the white egrets nesting on the tallest trees

Chorro views, with the jacaranda-ringed Parquia San Miguel in the center pane. 
We go to its oldest neighborhood, Chorro, near the hillside springs which gave birth to the town in the XVI c., and which continued to provide SMA with all its drinking water until recently. We pass Parque Juarez where the town's famous white egrets used to nest on tall cedars - until a few years ago the city government tried to expel them to make the park quieter and cleaner, and cut down some of the largest old trees in the park. The remaining egrets are tightly packed on a few remaining tall trees further upslope in Chorro,
Doors of San Miguel
We wander across the town center, check La Esquina Toy Museum, grab freshest fruit liquados and seafood tostadas at the vegetable market stands at the Colegio entrance to Mercado de Artesanias, and then of course spend all the rest of the time in the artisans' shops there... Time to retreat to the hotel and to stay put for couple nights, until the rain's over! (A least, now I feel vindicated for my decision to stay right at the festival hotel, instead of potentially far cheaper AirBnB places around: this way we don't have to have our feet wet to get to the classes and milongas!).
Pretty cool floor solution BTW - a regular
laminate floor assembled on the spot with
the edges held down by duct tape!
Most of the rest of the milongas are DJ'd by our old dear friends, Alexei from the Bay Area (a few memorable unusual jewels of records there!), and Tara and Dean from Colorado (Dean's alternative milonga had a superb  variety and quality of the music, yet, anyhow, fewer dancers than needed to fill the floor... perhaps it was the way it has been scheduled, wedged tightly between 3 (!) classes and the late night milonga ... or, perhaps, since many folks down there are indeed more formal and more concerned about "decorum and propriety", they just won't dance to alternative? Tara's was truly a DJ revelation, building up a perfect wave of tango bliss ... and the way she solves one of the most classic tango DJ quandaries of tinkering with the beloved-yet-sorely-overplayed milonga tanda of Cacareando-Fortines-Vieja Linda is totally spectacular). And the Grand Saturday Ball with performances, DJ'd by Santa Fe's Fer, had a palpable vibe of a Latin American festival milonga tinged with the later-period music, the drama, and the beautiful vocals. More friends found with every class, with every milonga. Better and better tandas. How I wish now that it lasted longer! Next time, maybe? Back up North, I just watch the amazing vids and break into a warm smile. Muchas gracias, Nancy!!

Hot spring "caves" along the highway to
Dolores Hidealgo, ca, km 10:
Red - La Gruta, Blue - Escondido (Black - Galeria Atotonilco)
ATMs: there is one at the hotel, also Azteca on the main drag just past the sharp corner with Codo on the right (we needed it when the hotel ATM was out of order)
Money exchanges: abound around Correo - but a passport is required
Booze: occasion retail blue-law restrictions apply, like on national holidays ... but you can talk eateries into serving it "out".
Cabs: 35 pesos across downtown. When going to a more remote location, ask the driver about picking you up for a return trip (regreso). You may also ask for driver's business card with the phone number for your piece of mind.
Old town SMA. Red - Mario's Seafood; Blue - artisans passages:
Black - El Jardin; Green - El Chorro egrets
Businesses locations on Google maps: they are in an unbelievable disarray! If I ever find myself on a lazy vacation in SMA, then I'll spend a lot of time fixing the Google maps craze.
Clothes optional hot springs: few if any options ... reportedly Escondido hosted some women-only nights, and possibly Mayan offers it with its private bookings but one needs to set an appointment like months in advance!
Fruit juices and fresh local food in the airport: Mexicans tend to be crazy about pizzas, fried chicken, hamburguesas, sweet pastries, and sweetened drinks, and that's what you find at the rest stops etc. But we were pleasantly surprised to find a good selection of more appealing foods in the giant food court of Terminal 2 of MEX.

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Practica del Centro playlist, March 9 2015

I had an ambitious plan to play 3 hours of music without any overlaps with the previous Friday's playlist, and now I think I should have checked my ambition. DJ's table is simply not the right place for a "show of provess"! I definitely see how I could have rounded several of these tandas more smoothly if I stopped worrying about repeating what I played 3 nights earlier. But then it still worked quite well both for the dancers and for expanding my horizon. It could have made me really happy if we had better attendance. I guess after the first work day after $%#^@ daylight savings time switch, too many tangueros feel too sleepy for a practica :)

So eager to retry this tanda again mid-milonga, with couples on the floor! It's a funny quandary, one doesn't want to play so-so music and one doesn't want to expend good music for the sacrificial opening tanda which isn't being danced :)
01. Orquesta Típica Víctor (dir. Adolfo Carabelli) - Instrumental  "El chamuyo" 1930 2:46
02. Orquesta Tipica Victor (dir. Adolfo Carabelli)  "Nino bien" 1928 2:43
03. Orquesta Tipica Victor, A. Gomez  "Ventarron" 1933 3:03
04. Carlos di Sarli - Instrumental  "Nobleza de arrabal" 1940 2:07
05. Carlos di Sarli - Instrumental  "Catamarca" 1940 2:23
06. Carlos di Sarli - Instrumental  "La trilla" 1940 2:21
quickly adding two more tandas of "lesson-appropriate music" per Julianne's request:
07. Carlos Di Sarli Instrumental "9 Puntos" 3:25
08. Carlos Di Sarli Instumental "Viviani" 3:00
09. Carlos Di Sarli Instrumental "El Ingeniero" 3:16
10. Francisco Canaro - Ernesto Famá  "Al subir al bajar" 1939 3:05
11. Francisco Canaro - Ernesto Famá  "Tormenta" 1939 2:38
12. Francisco Canaro - Ernesto Famá  "Te quiero todavia" 1939 2:54
13. Juan D'Arienzo - Instrumental  "El esquinazo" 1938 2:34
14. Juan D'Arienzo - Instrumental  "Milonga vieja milonga" 1937 2:41
15. Juan D'Arienzo - Instrumental  "De pura cepa (milonga)" 1935 2:41
16. Osvaldo Fresedo Roberto Ray "No quiero verte llorar" 1937 2:42
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 - Roberto Ray  "Tu piel de jazmin" 1950 3:09
I already wrote about Francisco Canaro's earliest quintet here. Really slick instrumentals!
20. Quinteto Don Pancho - Instrumental "El garron" 1938 2:27
21. Quinteto Don Pancho - Instrumental  "El flete (clean)" 1939 2:55
22. Quinteto Don Pancho - Instrumental  "Derecho viejo" 1938 2:28
Francisco Rotundo
An adventurous 1950s vals tanda. Rotundo's one-of-a-kind "Viejo vals" is often paired with Biagi's Adoracion, but what else to add to complete a tanda? As it is often the case with mixed-orchestra tandas, one is tempted to look amid other rare hard-to-match pieces, and that's how Salamanca's unusual vals "Ansiedad" got my attention here. I wrote a bt about Fulvio Salamanca before; let me introduce Rotundo now.
Francisco Rotundo taught piano in a conservatory before turning his passion for tango, and especially for tango singers, into a career. We don't play Rotundo's records too often, but in his glory days (late 1940s and 1950s) he was all the rage, especially famed for luring fantastic vocalists from the far better established orchestras - such stars as "Tata" Floreal Ruiz (after shelling tens of thousands pesos to RCA Victor to compensate them for the singer's termination of contract with Troilo) and Enrique Campos from Tanturi's orchestra (the Campos-Ruiz duet produced the best selling ever record of Rotundo's - this amazing vals). Close ties with the Peronism and personally with Peron's family got Rotundo banned from the airways and the music scene (and his wife, jailed), and so he's far less known to the older generation of today's Argentines than to the previous generation.
(+ Today is the birthday of Enrique Campos, a great occasion to showcase one of his most successful records!)
23. Rodolfo Biagi - Hugo Duval y Carlos Heredia  "Adoracion (vals)" 1951 2:52
24. Francisco Rotundo - Enrique Campos y Floreal Ruiz "El viejo vals" 1951 2:56
25. Fulvio Salamanca - Armando Guerrico "Ansiedad" 1959 2:41
26. Pedro Laurenz - Alberto Podestá  "Garua" 1943 3:09
27. Pedro Láurenz - Alberto Podestá  "Nunca tuvo novio" 1943 3:14
28. Pedro Laurenz - Alberto Podestá  "Recien" 1943 2:43
29. Pedro Laurenz - Hector Farrel  "Abandono" 1937 2:32
30. Juan D'Arienzo - Alberto Echagüe  "Mandria" 1939 2:26
31. Juan D'Arienzo - Alberto Echagüe  "Ansiedad" 1938 2:38
32. Juan D'Arienzo - Alberto Echagüe  "No mientas" 1938 2:39
33. Pedro Laurenz - Alberto Podestá  "Yo soy de San Telmo" 1943 2:32
34. Pedro Laurenz - Juan Carlos Casas "Milonga compadre" 1938 2:42
35. Pedro Láurenz - Martín Podestá "La vida es una milonga" 1941 2:25
36. Edgardo Donato - Horacio Lagos, Romeo Gavioli, Lita Morales "Sinfonía De Arrabal" 1940 3:07
37. Edgardo Donato - Horacio Lagos  "Te busco" 1941 2:26
38. Edgardo Donato - Romeo Gavioli "La Melodía Del Corazón" 1940 3:18
Beautiful oldies!
39. Sexteto Carlos di Sarli - Ernesto Famá "La estancia" 1930 3:25
40. Sexteto Carlos di Sarli - Ernesto Famá "Flora" 1930 2:38
41. Sexteto Carlos di Sarli - Ernesto Famá "Chau pinela" 1930 2:36
42. Ricardo Tanturi - Alberto Castillo  "La serenata (Mi amor)" 1941 2:32
43. Ricardo Tanturi - Alberto Castillo  "Recuerdo" 1941 2:24
44. Ricardo Tanturi - Alberto Castillo  "Mi romance" 1941 2:19
45. Francisco Canaro - Roberto Maida "Condena (S.O.S.)" 1937 2:39
46. Francisco Canaro - Roberto Maida "Recuerdos De Paris" 1937 3:12
47. Francisco Canaro - Roberto Maida "Solo una novia" 1935 3:23
48. Francisco Lomutoo - Fernando Diaz  "Quiero verte una vez mas" 1940 2:29
49. Francisco Lomuto - Jorge Omar  "Por la vuelta" 1939 2:34
50. Francisco Lomuto - Jorge Omar  "Nostalgias" 1936 3:05
Yes, the voice of Jorge Maciel makes Pugliese's Remembranza outshine all the other versions for me ... but in a tanda built around "Gitana Rusa", doesn't Malerba's Remembranza hit the spot?(I wrote about the tragic story of "Gitana Rusa" before)
51. Ricardo Malerba - Orlando Medina "Remembranza" 1943 2:52
52. Ricardo Malerba - Orlando Medina "La piba de los jazmines" 1943 2:44
53. Ricardo Malerba - Orlando Medina "Gitana rusa" 1942 2:47
the final song of de Angelis's tanda didn't really match up with the strength of the opening classics
54. Alfredo de Angelis - Instrumental  "Mi dolor" 1957 2:51
55. Alfredo de Angelis - Instrumental  "Pavadita" 1958 2:55
56. Alfredo De Angelis Oscar Larroca "Noche De Locura" 1954 2:28
I continue to ponder Momo Smitt's Albuquerque 2014 playlist, and two of the more modern records of this high-energy tanda came from there:
57. Fervor de Buenos Aires  "E.G.B." 2007 2:26
58. The Alex Krebs Tango Sextet  "La Yumba" 2011 2:57
59. Ojos De Tango  "El Adios"  3:13
Slow, dreamy milongas
60. Alfredo de Angelis - Roberto Mancini  "La milonga celestial" 1964 3:22
61. Erskine Maytorena Qtango  "Milonga Triste" 2011 4:17
62. Paco Mendoza & DJ Vadim  "Los Ejes De Mi Carreta" 2013 3:23
63. Osvaldo Pugliese "Rondando Tu Esquina" 1945 2:49
64. Osvaldo Pugliese "Recuerdo" 2:54
65. Osvaldo Pugliese "Gallo Ciego"  3:34
66. Alfredo de Angelis - Instrumen  "La cumparsita (Matos Rodriguez)" 1961 3:33
67. 17 Hippies  "Marlène" 2005 3:54
(67 total)

Sunday, March 8, 2015

Milonga Nuestra Playlist, March 6 2015

Congratulations to Maria & Atakan & all the students and guests for the very successful launch of the newest Utah milonga!! So glad to have been there to help! WTG DF Studio!

People prodded me to break the "habit" of starting playlists from Di Sarli's rich instrumentals, like "this stuff is so good, why not save it for later at night" :) So we have 1930s Fresedo here:
01. Osvaldo Fresedo - Instrumental  "Tigre viejo" 1934 3:01
02. Osvaldo Fresedo - Instrumental  "Arrabalero" 1939 2:32
03. Osvaldo Fresedo - Instrumental  "Pimienta" 1939 2:52
04. Juan D'Arienzo - Instrumental  "La viruta" 1936 2:20
05. Juan D'Arienzo - Instrumental  "Champagne tango" 1938 2:26
06. Juan D'Arienzo - Instrumental  "El choclo (2)" 1937-07-26 2:35
A cortina tune too familiar to the Russian ear. This Brazilian 1996 hit was soon spoofed / remixed in Russian, its refrain line "Bate forte o tambor" (Hit the drums hard ) becoming a sound-imitating nonsensical "Мальчик хочет в Тамбов". A fiery beat combined with preposterous lyrics and a superb voice of an ethnic Uyghur crooner Murat Nasyrov made it a super-hit of Russia's hard times. 

07. Carrapicho  "Tic Tic Tac cortina 2" 0:18
(and BTW I needed slightly longer cortinas than I used ... North Church's usual 20-second clips didn't cut it for DF's hall, maybe because of the geometry of the room, maybe because of the attendance... I'll need 30-35 seconds next time)
08. Pedro Laurenz - C. Bermudez y J. Linares "Mendocina" 1944 2:35
09. Pedro Laurenz - Juan Carlos Casas "Mascarita" 1940 2:53
10. Pedro Laurenz - Martin Podesta  "Flores del alma (vals)" 1942 2:55
11. Goran Bregovic  "Old Home Movie" 1993 0:25
12. Enrique Rodriguez - Armando Moreno  "Mi piba linda" 1943 2:51
13. Enrique Rodriguez - Instrumental  "El morochito" 1941 2:34
14. Enrique Rodriguez - Armando Moreno "Como Se Pianta La Vida" 1940 2:25
15. Carlos di Sarli - Alberto Podestá  "No está" 1942 2:45
16. Carlos di Sarli - Alberto Podestá  "Volver a vernos" 1942 2:48
17. Carlos di Sarli - Alberto Podestá  "Tu el cielo y tu" 1944 2:59
18. Carrapicho  "Tic Tic Tac cortina 2" 0:18
I haven't played these classic Canaro's milongas for so long, I was almost surprised much complexity one can find there!.
19. Francisco Canaro - Roberto Maida  "Larga las penas" 1935 3:09
20. Francisco Canaro - Roberto Maida  "Silueta Porteña" 1936 2:58
21. Francisco Canaro - Roberto Maida "Milonga criolla" 1936 3:00
22. Goran Bregovic  "Old Home Movie" 1993 0:25
23. Aníbal Troilo - Francisco Fiorentino  "Una carta" 1941 2:50
24. Aníbal Troilo - Francisco Fiorentino  "Pa'que bailen los muchachos" 1942 2:49
25. Aníbal Troilo - Francisco Fiorentino  "El bulín de la calle Ayacucho" 1941 2:30
26. Various Artists  "Lady Be Good - Sol Hoopii Trio" 1992 0:23
27. Miguel Caló - Raúl Berón  "Jamás retornarás" 1942 2:31
28. Miguel Caló - Raúl Berón "Tristezas De La Calle Corrientes"1942 2:46
29. Miguel Caló - Raúl Berón "Corazón no le hagas caso" 1942 3:00
An alternative tanda, just one, by Atakan's request. It takes me quite a bit longer to put these together - memory just doesn't serve up the possibilities as quickly as with the classics. I love these records and at the same time I don't have an instant vision where and how they fit together!
30. Fool's Garden "Lemon tree" 1995 3:09
31. Israel Kamakawiwo'ole  "Over The Rainbow" 2001 3:32
32. Souad Massi  "Ghir Enta" 2008 5:06
... and finally the 50s Di Sarli's, except I couldn't get past these incredible vocal pieces
33. Carlos di Sarli - Jorge Durán  "Sonatina" 1956-10-19 3:11
34. Carlos di Sarli - Argentino Ledesma  "Fumando espero" 1956-02-03 4:02
35. Carlos di Sarli - Oscar Serpa  "Verdemar" 1955-09-16 3:01
36. Carrapicho  "Tic Tic Tac cortina 1" 0:17
37. Angel D'Agostino - Angel Vargas "Esquinas porteñas" 1942 2:51
38. Angel D'Agostino - Angel Vargas "Tristeza criolla" 1945 2:27
39. Angel D'Agostino - Angel Vargas  "Que me pasara (vals)" 1941 2:29
40. Goran Bregovic  "Old Home Movie" 1993 0:25
41. Lucio Demare - Raúl Berón  "Canta pajarito" 1943 3:33
42. Lucio Demare - Raúl Berón "Como se hace un tango" 1943 3:14
43. Lucio Demare - Raúl Berón "Una emocion" 1943 2:42
44. Rodolfo Biagi - Andrés Falgás  "La chacarera" 1940 2:24
45. Rodolfo Biagi - Andrés Falgás "Cielo!" 1939 2:31
46. Rodolfo Biagi - Andrés Falgás "Son cosas del bandoneon" 1939 2:44
47. Carrapicho  "Tic Tic Tac cortina 1"  0:17
48. Carlos Di Sarli - Roberto Rufino "Pena Mulata" 1941 2:27
49. Carlos Di Sarli - Roberto Rufino "La Mulateada" 1941 2:22
50. Carlos Di Sarli - Roberto Rufino "Zorzal" 1941 2:40
First time I played "Envidia", its tragic darkness is really striking
51. Francisco Canaro - Roberto Maida "Envidia" 1936 3:18
52. Francisco Canaro - Roberto Maida "Invierno" 1937 3:26
53. Francisco Canaro - Roberto Maida  "Nada mas" 1938 3:00
Maruja Pacheco Huergo (1916-1983)

"Triqui trá", the final and the most most mischievous tango of the following tanda, has been created specially for Lita Morales by Maruja Pacheco, one of the most versatile female talents of tango. An actress, a musician, a singer, a poet, and a composer who left a very strong mark on the masterpieces of Donato's orchestra. Alas, Maruja also left the world of tango for good after Lita was made to leave it. She made the second career as an author of children's songs.
"Triqui tra" may be too light-hearted to be easily mixed into a tanda, and it isn't commonly played. Here I start from a slightly more bitter "Sinsabor" before continuing to Lita's more playful records,
54. Edgardo Donato - Horacio Lagos - Lita Morales "Sinsabor" 1939 2:53
55. Edgardo Donato  "Yo Te Amo (Lita Morales)" 1940 2:50
56. Edgardo Donato - Horacio Lagos, Lita Morales, Romeo Gavioli "Triqui trá" 1940 2:34
57. Carrapicho  "Tic Tic Tac cortina 2" 2007, 2007 0:18
58. Rodolfo Biagi - Andres Falgas  "El ultimo adios (vals)" 1940 2:09
59. Rodolfo Biagi - Alberto Amor  "Paloma (vals)" 1945 2:29
60. Rodolfo Biagi - Alberto Lago  "Amor y vals" 1942 2:48
61. Goran Bregovic  "Old Home Movie" 1993 0:25
62. Osvaldo Fresedo Roberto Ray "Sollosos" 1937 3:27
63. Osvaldo Fresedo Roberto Ray "Vida mia" 1933 3:23
Momo Smitt rapping tango
64. Osvaldo Fresedo Roberto Ray "Nieblas del riachuelo" 1937 2:25
The lyrics of "Mañana zarpa un barco" has just been translated into English by Michael Krugman
65. Lucio Demare - Juan Carlos Miranda "Malena" 1942 2:57
66. Lucio Demare - Juan Carlos Miranda "Mañana zarpa un barco" 1942 3:22
67. Lucio Demare - Juan Carlos Miranda "No te apures, Carablanca" 1942 3:29
68. Alfredo de Angelis - Instrumental  "El Tango Club" 1957 2:40
69. Alfredo de Angelis - Instrumental "Felicia" 1969 2:47
70. Alfredo de Angelis - Instrumental "Mi dolor" 1957 2:51
71. Juan D'Arienzo - Instrumental  "La cumparsita" 1951 3:49
The closing post-Cumparsita track is from Momo's breathtaking Albuguerque Tango Festival 2014 playlist - thanks, Momo!
72. Feist and Ben Gibbard  "Train Song"  3:03
(72 total)

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Cabeceo and its flip side, the power of the peripheral vision

Focusing our vision all the way across the dance halls, seeking an eye contact with the one and the only one we want to spend the proverbial quarter of an hour of a tanda ... I'm sure all of us remember the thrill of a successful cabeceo. The meeting of the eyes, the soft spark. We also remember the occasional misfires, those embarrassing moments when your supposedly laser-precise line of sight hits an unintended "target". Ouch!

But in this post I am going to concentrate on a different side of cabeceo: on our ability to see without focusing our vision. When I look around a milonga floor, checking who is around and who is up for what, it feels as if my vision stays purposefully slightly unfocused. Have you ever noticed that? Have you noticed that whenever your eyes meet, by chance, with the eyes of someone you don't intend to dance with, you end up slightly unfocusing and shifting your gaze with a very peculiar haste? The task there is not to see anything other than by using your peripheral vision. The direct look is strictly reserved for just one (but extremely important) target. Must not focus on anything else.
The whole world becomes a blur as the magic of the dance unfolds
"Mia en la Milonga" by Mauro Moreno
The feeling gets even stronger once I actually get on the dance floor, once we start moving in a ronda. There are so many people moving around, maybe approaching you too fast from behind, maybe taking a far too risky back step when they are in front of you, maybe shifting out of their lane to the side, or possibly spinning in a wild windmill of a spirited giro and who knows how tightly controlled it is. Dangerous feels, dangerous feet, dangerous speed, dangerous moments of the music, you gotta be watching it all (at least if you are a leader :). But wait, that's not all. A friend is sitting at a front row of tables, and your eyes meet, is it time for a smile and a silent promise of a conversation or a tanda soon? And who just walked through the door and stopped there momentarily, appraising the dance floor or looking for a place to sit? Oh, and look at this couple in the middle of the pista, fooling around as if nobody's watching? Wait, and what about this Mr. Celebrity dancing over there, with an unbelievably sour expression on his bored face - who is there with him, who's making him suffer? The point is, you can do a lot of people-watching at a milonga, and it may be really tempting to keep doing it as you dance.

Dave Donatiu with  Talyaa Liera
at their wedding reception/
cancer fundraising last month 
But is it even a good idea to focus on all the other people as you dance? I can't get one "attention / focus" tango class experience out of my head. It was many years ago, but I remember it as if it was yesterday. The instructor has been Dave Donatiu, then an itinerant tango psychologist, and his workshop topics were all crazy and enlightening at the same time. For the attention & focus class, one exercise was for the leaders or the followers to watch, intently, a dancer from another pair, as we tangoed around the room. Another one was to keep a conversation about something important you've done recently. You couldn't believe how much it ruined the quality of dance! It really helped me understand that intention and listening aren't some abstract tango metaphors. Fully focusing on your partner and yourself is so critically important!

Ideally, it means that one should be able to appraise the dangers, to navigate, and to keep my partner safe, with the peripheral vision alone, almost without shifting the focus. And if our eyes meet someone else's gaze, then we can let it slip out of focus right away... Indeed, I find it hard to observe who is doing what when I dissolve in the music and in the moment of dance. Take a look at Mauro Moreno's painting again. Do you see what I see? The world around blurs out of focus as the couple is overcome by togetherness and being in the moment.

On top of the fortress walls of Kumbalgarh, India
This complete, undivided attention thing, which is so intense that it makes the outside distractions disappear, always reminds me of a fable I read in a popular psychology book as a kid. It was about a Maharajah in India trying to fill a Grand Vizier vacancy at his court. The candidate's test was to circle the city, walking on top of its fortress walls, carrying a brimming full bowl of milk without spilling. All of them fail soon, except for one hopeful who keeps on walking. The Maharajah sends his soldiers to the walls to yell and to shoot in the air, but still the guy with the bowl of milk doesn't spill a drop. Afterwards, the ruler asks his new chief minister: "Have you seen the soldiers trying to scare you? Have you heard their shots?" - "No, my lord, I haven't seen anything, I was watching the milk".

More recently, I discovered that the fable originally came from a grownup book ... a book which can actually teach us a lot more about tango. "An Actor Prepares"is Konstantin Stanislavski's original intro into his "System" of acting, and it includes an amazing chapter on creative attention. There, Stanislavski's alter ego teacher introduces the concept of 3 circles of attention to his acting students. The smallest circle of focus / of attention is roughly equivalent to being alone in public, not seeing anything beyond the footprint of one's body. The medium circle, perhaps the size of a small room, allows us to pay attention to people and objects surrounding us, without losing the complete focus on what we are doing; but when the circle of attention increases even further, our attention escapes and drifts away, and only refocusing on something very small and very close by will restore your attentiveness. If my tango focus escapes into the Stanislavski's largest circle of attention, I often try to refocus my complete attention on a single flashpoint - on the tip of the heel of my partner's free leg. (And to me, tango has a lot in common with improvisational acting, where the music, the verse, and the emotion provide a loose blueprint to what will unravel through the expressive interaction of our physical bodies, and where we experience becoming other, imaginary people in the same way as the actor lives a role).

Keeping our focus on ourselves and our dance, and devoting just enough peripheral vision to the surroundings without spreading our creative attention thin, is about more than just navigating the floor and being aware of the physical objects around us. I also try hard to keep all the social disappointments and slights, all the unfriendly gossip and caustic remarks, outside of my circle of attention, where they barely register in my peripheral vision. The cabeceo power of laser-sharp focusing on a point can make all the bad stuff fade from out of focus!

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Milonga Sin Nombre playlist, Feb 21 2015

Milonga Sin Nombre has just become a four-hours party, and you may notice that my playlist track count has become 3-digital! And what a nice crowd it was!

We started a few minutes behind schedule and the first tanda (of course late instrumental Di Sarli again!) didn't have anyone on the floor yet, but then guest after guest joined in quick succession.
001. Carlos di Sarli - Instrumental "Rodríguez Peña" 1956 3:18
002. Carlos di Sarli - Instrumental "Bahia Blanca" 1957 2:54
003. Carlos di Sarli - Instrumental "Indio Manso" 1958 2:57
It surprised me quite a bit when a guest without any Russian roots recognized the tune of this cortina, made out of an all-times Soviet hit, originally a Latvian song with the new lyrics by a renowned Russian poet retelling a legendary episode of life of a Georgian artist who covered a whole city street with flowers to prove his devotion to his beloved.
004. Alla Pugacheva "Million Scarlet Roses" 1982 0:19
005. Enrique Rodriguez - Armando Moreno "Mi piba linda" 1943 2:51
006. Enrique Rodriguez - Roberto Flores  "Son cosas de bandoneon" 1936 2:42
007. Enrique Rodriguez - Armando Moreno "Como has cambiado pebeta" 1942 2:37
And this cortina, as well as the following one, come from one of the pioneers of Russian rock - the most mysterious and the least known of them all, Zhanna of aliases and reportedly fake ids and surprising disappearings and returns to public life:
008. Zhanna Aguzarova "Cats" 1987 0:21
I think it wouldn't be an exaggeration to claim that "the" tango vals of the 1990s and early 2000s was "Corazon de oro", "The heart of gold", a tune originally recorded by Francisco Canaro in 1928 in tribute to his mother Rafaela. We all grew in the shadow of this grand slow vals, but few people know that for his present to Mom, Canaro recycled an unsuccessful tango he recorded less than a year earlier. Listen starting from 33 seconds on:
Early on, the slow Canaro valses with their deliberate main beat were the only ones I understood; then I left them behind, but more recently I discovered a lot more nuance in these old records, and I
am tempted to play them again. Here is a tanda with Ada Falcón, the green-eyed muse of Canaro's 1930s. Canaro changed the tempo and the musical structure of his tangos to showcase Ada's powerful voice, but he wouldn't leave his wife to be with her. By 1942, the not-too-well-hidden affair came to light, with Canaro's wife threatening divorce and financial ruin to Francisco, and death to Ada. The singer quit, never to perform again, locking herself in a convent and staying there for ... 60 years! She died at the age of 96, having far outlived all her famed suitors. (The last of the tree records may be too complicated for one of the starting tandas of a milonga... as early as in 1933, Canaro already appears to be concerned more about showcasing Ada's voice than about satisfying the dancers' tastes).
009. Francisco Canaro - Ada Falcón "Yo No Se Que Me Han Hecho Tus Ojos" 1930 3:24
010. Francisco Canaro - Ada Falcón "Corazon de Oro (Vals)" 1930 3:15
011. Francisco Canaro - Ada Falcón "El trovero" 1933 2:57
012. Zhanna Aguzarova "Old Hotel" 1987 0:22
013. Osvaldo Fresedo - Roberto Ray "Yo no se llorar" 1933 2:36
014. Osvaldo Fresedo - Roberto Ray  "En la huella del dolor" 1934 2:48
015. Osvaldo Fresedo - Roberto Ray "Isla de Capri" 1935 3:16
016. Alla Pugacheva "Million Scarlet Roses" 1982 0:19
017. Carlos di Sarli - Instrumental  "La trilla" 1940 2:21
018. Carlos di Sarli - Instrumental  "El Pollo Ricardo" 1940 2:25
019. Carlos di Sarli - Instrumental  "Marejada" 1941 2:32
020. Zhanna Aguzarova "Cats" 1987 0:21
021. Edgardo Donato - Horacio Lagos  "De punta a punta (milonga)" 1939 2:21
022. Edgardo Donato - Horacio Lagos "Sácale punta" 1938 2:18
023. Edgardo Donato - Horacio Lagos "Ella Es Asi - milonga" 1938 2:35
024. Zhanna Aguzarova "Old Hotel" 1987 0:22
Of course "Invierno" is the most famous record of the following Canaro's tanda, but I'm getting more and more affectionate to "Mi noche triste", the best remix of the 1915 guitar classic which forever changed the world of tango by introducing sadness, loss, and nostalgia to its lyrics:
025. Francisco Canaro - Roberto Maida "Yo tambien sone" 1936 3:09
026. Francisco Canaro - Roberto Maida  "Mi noche triste" 1936 2:45
027. Francisco Canaro - Roberto Maida "Invierno" 1937 3:25
028. Alla Pugacheva "Million Scarlet Roses" 1982 0:19
029. Ricardo Tanturi - Alberto Castillo "La vida es corta" 1941 2:25
030. Ricardo Tanturi - Alberto Castillo  "Noches de Colón" 1941 2:38
031. Ricardo Tanturi - Alberto Castillo "Decile Que Vuelva" 1942 2:33
032. Zhanna Aguzarova "Cats" 1987 0:21
033. Orquesta Típica Víctor - Ángel Vargas "Sin Rumbo Fijo (vals)" 1938 2:18
034. Orquesta Típica Víctor (dir. Adolfo Carabelli) - Carlos Lafuente  "Dulce cariño" 1932 2:38
035. Orquesta Tipica Victor - Lita Morales "Noches de invierno" 1937 2:47
036. Zhanna Aguzarova "Old Hotel" 1987 0:22
037. Francisco Lomuto - Jorge Omar  "Nostalgias" 1936 3:05
038. Francisco Lomuto - Fernando Diaz  "Quiero verte una vez mas" 1940 2:29
039. Francisco Lomuto - Jorge Omar  "Caricias" 1937 2:52
040. Alla Pugacheva "Million Scarlet Roses" 1982 0:19
041. Lucio Demare - Juan Carlos Miranda  "Manana zarpa un barco" 1942 3:22
042. Lucio Demare - Juan Carlos Miranda "Pa' mi es igual" 1942 3:15
043. Lucio Demare - Juan Carlos Miranda  "No te apures, Carablanca" 1942 3:29
044. Zhanna Aguzarova "Cats" 1987 0:21
045. Carlos Di Sarli - Alberto Podestá "Entre Pitada Y Pitada" 1942 2:33
046. Carlos Di Sarli - Roberto Rufino "Zorzal" 1941 2:40
047. Carlos Di Sarli Roberto Rufino "Yo Soy De San Telmo" 1943 2:20
048. Zhanna Aguzarova "Old Hotel" 1987 0:22
049. Francisco Canaro - Ernesto Fama  "Te quiero todavia" 1939 2:54
050. Francisco Canaro - Ernesto Fama  "Lo pasao paso" 1939 2:36
051. Francisco Canaro - Ernesto Fama  "Al subir al bajar" 1939 3:05
052. Alla Pugacheva "Million Scarlet Roses" 1982 0:19
053. Juan D'Arienzo - Instrumental  "Derecho viejo" 1939 2:24
054. Juan D'Arienzo - Instrumental  "Champagne tango" 1938 2:26
055. Juan D'Arienzo - Instrumental  "El flete" 1936 2:58
056. The Blues Brothers  "Theme From Rawhide 3" 1980 0:20
I quizzed the event-goers ahead of time if we should include a chacarera (I think for the first time in local milonga history!) but I didn't see some of these chacarera-lovers in attendance, so I asked for a show of hands again. Looks like we got 4 couples ready to roll? So it's a go! (If you ever needs mnemonics for the chacarera sequence of steps, then I suggest D8OZOZO+ as in diamonds - two small circles - full circle - zapateo+sarandeo etc.)
057. "Chacarera del Rancho"  2:21
(break for announcements and raffle, then on to valses) 
058. Aníbal Troilo - Francisco Fiorentino  "Temblando" 1944 3:06
059. Aníbal Troilo - Francisco Fiorentino  "Pedacito de cielo" 1942 2:50
060. Aníbal Troilo - Instrumental  "Un placer" 1942 2:19
061. Zhanna Aguzarova "Old Hotel" 1987 0:22
062. Carlos di Sarli - Alberto Podestá  "Al compás del corazón" 1942 3:18
063. Carlos di Sarli - Alberto Podestá  "Tu el cielo y tu" 1944 2:59
064. Carlos di Sarli - Alberto Podestá  "Volver a vernos" 1942 2:48
065. Alla Pugacheva "Million Scarlet Roses" 1982 0:19
066. Francisco Lomuto - Jorge Omar "A la gran muñeca" 1936 3:01
067. Francisco Lomuto - Jorge Omar  "Por la vuelta" 1939 2:34
068. Francisco Lomuto - Jorge Omar  "Gólgota" 1938 2:23
069. Zhanna Aguzarova "Cats" 1987 0:21
070. "Orquesta Tipica Victor - Milonga De Los Fortines - Mariano Balcarce" 1937 2:52
071. Orquesta Tipica Victor  "Cacareando" 1933 2:45
072. "Emilio Pellejero - Mi Vieja Linda - Enalmar De Maria" 1941 2:26
073. Zhanna Aguzarova "Old Hotel" 1987 0:22
074. Donato Racciatti - Olga Delgrossi "Hasta siempre amor" 1958 2:57
075. Donato Racciatti - Olga Delgrossi "Sus Ojos Se Cerraron" 1956 2:47
076. "Donato Racciatti - Nina Miranda / Gloria" 1952 2:47
077. Alla Pugacheva "Million Scarlet Roses" 1982 0:19
078. Miguel Caló - Raúl Berón  "Tristezas de la calle Corrientes" 1942 2:46
079. Miguel Caló - Raúl Berón  "Trasnochando" 1942 3:04
080. Miguel Caló - Raúl Berón  "Corazón no le hagas caso" 1942 3:00
081. Zhanna Aguzarova "Cats" 1987 0:21
The third of De Angelis valses in this tanda has an unusual texture and powerful drive, and it turns out to be... not quite Argentinian.aThe composer is Argentine, and the first guitar recording has been made there in the 1930s, only to be promptly forgotten. The score got a second chance in the 1950s, when a Peruvian-inspired "vals criollo" was suddenly all the rage. Soon it was discovered by a visiting Frechwoman, Edit Piaf, and never lost its popularity in the decades which ensued. Lots of modern remixes, often not waltz-y at all. Edit Piaf's French lyrics version below:
082. Alfredo de Angelis - Carlos Dante, Julio Martel  "Soñar y nada más" 1944 3:08
083. Alfredo de Angelis - Carlos Dante "A Magaldi" 1947 2:50
084. Alfredo de Angelis - Carlos Dante "Que nadie sepa mi sufrir" 1953 2:50

085. Zhanna Aguzarova "Old Hotel" 1987 0:22
086. Ángel D'Agostino - Ángel Vargas"Ahora No Me Conocés" 1941 2:35
087. Ángel D'Agostino - Ángel Vargas "Ninguna" 1942 2:57
088. Ángel D'Agostino - Ángel Vargas (glosas: Julián Centeya) "Café "Dominguez"" 1955 2:59
089. Zhanna Aguzarova "Old Hotel" 1987 0:22
090. Donato, Edgardo - Romeo Gavioli "La Melodía Del Corazón" 1940 3:18
091. Donato, Edgardo  - Romeo Gavioli, Lita Morales "Mi Serenata" 1940 3:02
092. Donato, Edgardo - Horacio Lagos, Romeo Gavioli, Lita Morales "Sinfonía De Arrabal" 1940 3:07
093. Alla Pugacheva "Million Scarlet Roses" 1982 0:19
094. Alfredo de Angelis - Instrumental "Mi dolor" 1957 2:51
095. Alfredo de Angelis - Instrumental "Felicia" 1969 2:47
096. Alfredo de Angelis - Carlos Dante "Carillon de La Merced" 1957 2:50
097. Goran Bregovic  "Old Home Movie" 1993 0:25
Before the last tanda rolls out, there is a belated request for a birthday vals, and I have a one-of-a-kind vals just for this purpose:
098. Osváldo Pugliese - Instrumental  "Desde el alma" 1985 3:07
099. Osváldo Pugliese - Roberto Chanel "Rondando Tu Esquina" 1943 2:48
100. Osváldo Pugliese - Roberto Chanel "Corrientes Y Esmeralda" 1944 2:49
101. Osváldo Pugliese - Jorge Maciel  "Remembranza" 1956 3:41
102. Juan D'Arienzo - Instrumental  "La cumparsita" 1951 3:49
103. Kayah & Bregovic  "To Nie Ptak [Not a Bird]" 1999 4:40
(103 total)

Monday, February 2, 2015

Milonga del Centro playlist, Feb 1 2015

I reviewed the previous Del Centro playlist thinking how many facets of Di Sarli's 42 years of music I've left unexplored. Closing a few of those gaps today, starting from his mature period's instrumentals (rather than from the 1950s beautiful instrumental records which I've played in the opening tandas too many times!)
01. Carlos di Sarli - Instrumental  "Ensueños" 1943 2:44
02. Carlos di Sarli - Instrumental  "Marejada" 1941 2:32
03. Carlos di Sarli - Instrumental  "Siete Palabras" 1945 2:44
04. Goran Bregovic  "Old Home Movie" 1993 0:25
For the classic D'Arienzo tanda, I tried to pick a few of the "relatively" more melodic pieces
05. Juan D'Arienzo - Instrumental  "Derecho viejo" 1939 2:21
06. Juan D'Arienzo - Instrumental  "Melodia porteña" 1937 2:48
07. Juan D'Arienzo - Instrumental  "Que noche" 1937 2:30
The milonga just barely started yet the dancing pairs
already begin to fill Del Centro's beautiful space

08. Victor Tsoy  "Gruppa Krovi (cortina)"  0:36
The other day, a linguist facebook friend has posted an image of a Russian icon of Simeon's Prophecy (Luke 2:29–35) and ... it instantly reminded me that I haven't played Troilo's valses for a long time! Yes, the connection here is in the third of the valses, which sings of Our Lady of Sorrows and the tears of the heart pierced by the seven blades of the Prophecy. That's how my own heart cries of pain of not seeing you, continue the verses!
09. Aníbal Troilo - Floreal Ruiz, Alberto Marino  "Palomita blanca" 1944 3:21
10. Anibal Troilo - Floreal Ruiz  "Lloraras, Lloraras" 1945 2:52
11. Aníbal Troilo - Floreal Ruiz, Edmundo Rivero  "Lagrimitas de mi corazón" 1948 2:59
12. "Lady Be Good - Sol Hoopii Trio" 0:23
13. Enrique Rodriguez - Armando Moreno "Como Se Pianta La Vida" 1940 2:25
14. Enrique Rodriguez - Armando Moreno  "El encopao" 1942 2:34
15. Enrique Rodríguez - Armando Moreno "Llorar por una mujer" 1941 2:47
16. Goran Bregovic  "Old Home Movie" 1993 0:25
Podesta was still a teenager when he recorded these hits with Di Sarli, but what depth of talent!
17. Carlos Di Sarli - Alberto Podestá  "No esta" 1942 2:45
18. Carlos Di Sarli - Alberto Podestá  "Lloran las campanas" 1944 2:58
19. Carlos Di Sarli - Alberto Podestá  "Nada" 1944 2:45
20. The Blues Brothers  "Theme From Rawhide 3" 1980 0:20
The slower milongas, including the two Canaro - Famá 1933 classics which literally blazed the trail of the rebirth of milonga dance - before the dancers and the musicians got even more courageous and the tempos accelerated
21. Francisco Canaro - Ernesto Famá  "Milonga sentimental" 1933 3:10
22. Francisco Canaro - Ernesto Famá  "Milonga del 900" 1933 2:55
23. Francisco Canaro - Roberto Maida  "Larga las penas" 1935 3:09
24. "Lady Be Good - Sol Hoopii Trio" 0:23
I love the intensity and drive of these more rhythmic Donato records (even though I'm always torn between played them and choosing more romantic Donato's ... so much great music, so few tandas in a night!). It may be the first time I played "A media luz", probably the most famous of Edgardo Donato's compositions, so popular with the musicians that it's got a zillion of "not for the dancers" versions. But for us tangueros, I think Donato's original recording of this ballad of a downtown drugs-and-vice den of hushed lights is absolutely the best.
25. Edgardo Donato - Horacio Lagos "Lagrimas" 1939 2:50
26. Edgardo Donato - Lita Morales, Romeo Gavioli "Yo Te Amo" 1940 2:50
27. Edgardo Donato - Horacio Lagos "A Media Luz" 1941 2:31
28. Goran Bregovic  "Old Home Movie" 1993 0:25
Whenever I played Demare's tangos, I was always drawn to the dramatic vocals with Juan Carlos Miranda, and overlooked Demare's other excellent records with Horacio Quintana. This tanda tries to fix this omission: 
29. Lucio Demare - Horacio Quintana "Torrente" 1944 3:10
30. Lucio Demare - Horacio Quintana "Igual que un bandoneon" 1945 3:02
31. Lucio Demare - Horacio Quintana "Solamente ella" 1944 3:15
32. Victor Tsoy  "Gruppa Krovi (cortina)"  0:36
33. Alfredo de Angelis - Floreal Ruiz "Mi novia de ayer (vals)" 1944 2:36
34. Alfredo de Angelis - Carlos Dante  "A Magaldi" 1947 2:50
35. Alfredo de Angelis - Carlos Dante, Julio Martel  "Soñar y nada más" 1944 3:08
36. "Lady Be Good - Sol Hoopii Trio" 0:23
"Watch out for the cops!" - "Ahh, they caught me!!" - "Yes, I've been imprisoned by her beautiful eyes, and I may never see freedom again" - that's about how the opening verse of "Araca la cana" would sound in English...
37. Osvaldo Fresedo - Roberto Ray  "Araca la cana" 1933 2:26
38. Osvaldo Fresedo - Roberto Ray "Vida mia" 1933 3:23
39. Osvaldo Fresedo - Roberto Ray "Nieblas del riachuelo" 1937 2:25
40. Goran Bregovic  "Old Home Movie" 1993 0:25
Some of my favorite Di Sarli's in this 1940 tanda, energetic and literally bursting with rhythm:
41. Carlos di Sarli - Instrumental  "La trilla" 1940 2:21
42. Carlos di Sarli - Instrumental  "Shusheta" 1940 2:22
43. Carlos di Sarli - Instrumental  "Nobleza de arrabal" 1940 2:07
44. The Blues Brothers  "Theme From Rawhide 3" 1980 0:20

Milonga lover's tanda (the strange cackling sounds in "Cacareando" are actually an old one-eyed tired rooster's cock-a-doodle-doo, and an old hen's cluck-cluck, which sound "quiquiriquí" and "co-có" in Spanish)
45. Orquesta Tipica Victor - Mariano Balcarce "Milonga De Los Fortines" 1937 2:52
46. Orquesta Tipica Victor - Carlos Lafuente "Cacareando" 1933 2:45
47. Emilio Pellejero - Enalmar De Maria "Mi Vieja Linda" 1941 2:26
48. "Lady Be Good - Sol Hoopii Trio" 0:23
Ledesma and Lesica sing together, with Varela behind them
(from Tangos al Bardo)
I think I spent the longest time piecing together this dramatic tanda, then worrying that it won't fly - only to see the floor full of dancers, phew :) It must have been my only 2nd time to play either Varela or Ledesma, and the very first tanda where they appeared together. But we've just celebrated Hector Varela's 101th anniversary on Jan. 29th, and it was absolutely worth a tribute. Varela had a long career as a bandoneonist and arranger for Juan D'Arienzo, and when he assembled his own band in the 1950s, most people expected a kind of D'Arienzo remixed. But the sound of Varela's tangos turned out to be very, very different, and his melodic and dramatic tangos are much loved by many older Argentines who grew up listening to radio and TV in the 1960s and 1970s. Varela's orchestra was truly blessed by the voice of Argentino Ledesma, one of the most talented singers of Argentine tango. In 1956 Ledesma left Varela to join the Di Sarli's orchestra; their collaboration was nothing short of stunning and it could have produced our best tandas ever, had it lasted. But after just a few months, Columbia Records realized just how much it lost with the departure of Ledesma from their orchestra (led by Hector Varela), and they made the singer a generous counter-offer he couldn't resist. Carlos Di Sarli understood. But he regretted the lost opportunity until his death.

María Olivera & Gustavo dance to "Fueron tres años"
in a video Maria posted as a tribute for Varela's birthday

49. Héctor Varela - Argentino Ledesma  "Fueron tres años" 1956 3:28
50. Héctor Varela - Argentino Ledesma "Muchacha" 1956 3:19
51. Héctor Varela - Argentino Ledesma "Si me hablaras corazon" 1956 3:18
52. Goran Bregovic  "Old Home Movie" 1993 0:25
53. Ricardo Tanturi - Enrique Campos "Oigo Tu Voz" 1943 3:07
54. Ricardo Tanturi - Enrique Campos "Que nunca me falte" 1943 2:42
55. Ricardo Tanturi - Enrique Campos "La Abandone Y No Sabia" 1944 2:47

56. Victor Tsoy  "Gruppa Krovi (cortina)"  0:36
57. Rodolfo Biagi - Alberto Lagos  "Amor y vals" 1942 2:48
58. Rodolfo Biagi - Teofilo Ibanez  "Viejo porton (vals)" 1938 2:27
59. Rodolfo Biagi - Jorge Ortiz  "Cuatro palabras (vals)" 1941 2:20
60. "Lady Be Good - Sol Hoopii Trio" 0:23
61. Lucio Demare - Juan Carlos Miranda  "Malena" 1942 2:57
62. Lucio Demare - Juan Carlos Miranda  "No te apures, Carablanca" 1942 3:29
63. Lucio Demare - Juan Carlos Miranda  "Manana zarpa un barco" 1942 3:22
64. Goran Bregovic  "Old Home Movie" 1993 0:25
65. Pedro Laurenz - Alberto Podestá  "Alma de bohemio" 1943 2:43
66. Pedro Laurenz - Alberto Podestá  "Recien" 1943 2:43
67. Pedro Laurenz - Alberto Podestá  "Todo" 1943 2:37
68. The Blues Brothers  "Theme From Rawhide 3" 1980 0:20
And the final milonga tanda is ... the Aces of Candombe!
69. Miguel Caló - Raúl Berón  "Azabache" 1942 3:05
70. Alberto Castillo  "El Gatito en el Tejado" 1957 2:37
71. Romeo Gavioli y su orquesta típica  "Tamboriles" 1956 2:56
72. "Lady Be Good - Sol Hoopii Trio" 0:23
73. Carlos di Sarli - Roberto Rufino  "Adiós te vas" 1943 2:30
74. Carlos di Sarli - Roberto Rufino  "Charlemos" 1941 2:30
75. Carlos di Sarli - Roberto Rufino  "Patotero sentimental" 1941 2:34
76. Goran Bregovic  "Old Home Movie" 1993 0:25
... then cutting straight to Pugliese and the Gran Finale.
77. Osváldo Pugliese - Instrumental "Chique" 1943 3:14
78. Osvaldo Pugliese - Roberto Chanel  "Rondando tu esquina" 1945 2:48
79. Osvaldo Pugliese - Jorge Maciel  "Remembranza" 1956 3:41
80. Alfredo de Angelis - Instrumental "La cumparsita (Matos Rodriguez)" 1961 3:33
81. Goran Bregovic  "Maki Maki" 2009 3:33
(plus another post-Cumparsita track, by a special request from Jose Luis)
82. Hugo Diaz   "Milonga Para Una Armonica" 1973 4:25
(82 total)

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Practilonga del Centro playlist, Jan 12, 2015

Carlos di Sarli
Jan 7, 1903 - Jan 12, 1960
It's great to be back from the traditional New Year's break at San Diego Tango Festival and to mingle again with the hometown tango crowd! Of course as it happens on Del Centro's Monday nights, the impromptu class at the beginning of the practilonga stretched for good 40 minutes, and I kept shifting valses and milongas down the list, and adding more Di Sarli tandas. For it's El Señor del Tango's birth month, and the 55th anniversary of his death, too. But more on Di Sarli later...
01. Carlos di Sarli - Instrumental  "El jaguel" 1956 2:52
02. Carlos di Sarli - Instrumental  "Don Juan (El taita del barrio)" 1951 2:47
03. Carlos di Sarli - Instrumental  "Cara sucia" 1952 2:20
04. Juan D'Arienzo - Instrumental  "Champagne tango" 1938 2:26
05. Juan D'Arienzo - Instrumental  "El flete" 1936 2:58
06. Juan D'Arienzo - Instrumental  "La viruta" 1936 2:20
07. Carlos di Sarli - Roberto Rufino "Tristeza Marina" 1943 3:09
08. Carlos di Sarli - Roberto Rufino  "Adiós te vas" 1943 2:30
09. Carlos di Sarli - Roberto Rufino  "Otra vez carnaval (Noches de carnaval)" 1942 2:41
10. Edgardo Donato - Horacio Lagos  "Lagrimas" 1939 2:50
11. Edgardo Donato - Horacio Lagos  "A oscuras" 1941 2:48
12. Edgardo Donato - Horacio Lagos "Se Va La Vida" 1936 2:39
Street cars started running in Bahia Blanca when Carlos was 3
OK, time to start Di Sarli's story now, since we reached Bahía Blanca, Carlos di Sarli's hometown and an unsurpassed tango masterpiece he composed in its honor. A town where he got an eye injury in a childhood accident in his father's gun shop, condemning Carlos di Sarli to wearing dark sunglasses for the rest of his life. A town from where he ran away to Argentina's North at 13, to play tangos in defiance of his father's wish for his son to become a classical pianist. A town where he assembled the first of his many tango orchestras, at the age of 16.
13. Carlos di Sarli - Instrumental  "Bahía Blanca" 1957 2:52
Di Sarli kept playing tangos for 42 years, changing music styles so much that one might think that the records were done by completely different orchestras - and in a sense they were very different, but always achieved superb balance of rhythm and melody, of unwavering beat and complexity. I realize that I couldn't even attempt to cover "all Di Sarli terrain" in this playlist. So far we've got more rhythmic 1950s instrumental remixes of very old tangos in the first tanda; a classic vocal of Rufino in the 2nd; and more flowery 1950s instrumentals, withDi Sarli's own compositions. By the end of the list, we won't even have touched super-rhythmic, Juan D'Arienzo-influenced late 30s; famous vocals of Podesta and Duran; and really dramatic vocal records from the 1950s; and not a single vals of Di Sarli's here. It's just impossible to exhaust all his masterpieces!
14. Carlos di Sarli - Instrumental  "Comme il faut" 1951 2:28
15. Carlos di Sarli - Instrumental  "Indio manso" 1958 2:53
16. Orquesta Tipica Victor - Lita Morales "Noches de invierno" 1937 2:47
17. Orquesta Típica Víctor - Angel Vargas"Sin Rumbo Fijo (vals)" 1938 2:18
18. Orquesta Tipica Victor, M. Pomar  "Temo" 1940 2:55
19. Enrique Rodríguez - Armando Moreno "Llorar por una mujer" 1941 2:47
20. Enrique Rodríguez - Armando Moreno "Marinero" 1943 3:10
21. Enrique Rodríguez - Armando Moreno "Como has cambiado pebeta" 1942 2:37
22. Quinteto Pirincho - Instrumental "Milongon" 1952 2:29
23. Quinteto Pirincho - Instrumental "Corralera" 1956 2:05
24. Quinteto Pirincho (Francisco Canaro) "Orillera (Milonga)"  2:27
25. Ángel D'Agostino - Instrumental "Café Domínguez (palabras de Julian Centeya)" 1955 2:56
26. Ángel D'Agostino - Ángel Vargas  "Tres esquinas" 1941 3:05
27. Ángel D'Agostino - Ángel Vargas "Ahora No Me Conocés" 1941 2:35
The last of the three valses is what conjured up this tanda for me. The other day, gliding down, mile after mile, from a Uinta ski tour, I couldn't get one line of a verse from my head, "sangrar mi corazón por ti!". At first just recited without a tune, eventually it grew into a whole musical phrase and I still couldn't get what it was. At last, the previous section of the music floated up in my memory, and then it was - aha, old vals, I know you!
28. Rodolfo Biagi - Instrumental "Lagrimas Y Sonrisas (vals)" 1941 2:41
29. Rodolfo Biagi - Andrés Falgás "El ultimo adios (vals)" 1940 2:09
30. Rodolfo Biagi - Andrés Falgás "Dejame Amarte Aunque Sea un Dia (vals)" 1939 2:55
31. Miguel Caló - Raúl Berón Miguel Calo "Miguel Caló - Raúl Berón / Jamas Retornaras" 1996 2:31
32. Miguel Calo - Raul Beron  "Que te importa que te llore" 1942 2:44
33. Miguel Caló - Raúl Berón  "Corazón no le hagas caso" 1942-09-29 3:00
Di Sarli's Sextet in 1929
The first of many BsAs Di Sarli orchestras, the amazing sextet which he convened at 24, much under influence of Osvaldo Fresedo's Old Guard. But this sound surpasses most of the best of the Old Guard classics. For me, the powerful, slightly archaic Sexteto Carlos di Sarli may be the most beloved period of his music. Then the hard times of the Great Depression came and di Sarli had to quit in 1931, for 6 long years. Oldtimers remember that his competitors fanned rumors that his dark glasses were a yeta, a jynx bringing bad luck to the listeners, and even some superstitious Argentines are afraid to utter his name to this day - for them, Di Sarli can only be mentioned as El Tuerto, the One-Eyed. The superstitions never made it easier for El Tuerto to win audiences!
34. Sexteto Carlos di Sarli - Inst  "Racing Club" 1930 2:34
35. Sexteto Carlos di Sarli - Inst  "Belen" 1929 2:44
36. Sexteto Carlos di Sarli - Inst  "Pobre yo" 1929 2:12
A foxy tanda in lieu of the milongas :) Mostly Russian-themed this time, the middle tune being a great remix of a Russian Silver Age classic which I already described in this blog.
37. Enrique Rodríguez - Armando Moreno "Se ve el tren"  3:11
38. Enrique Rodríguez - Armando Moreno "No Te Apures Por Dios Postillon"  2:59
39. Enrique Rodríguez - Armando Moreno "Maruska" 1943 2:07
40. Francisco Canaro - Roberto Maida  "Mi noche triste" 1936 2:45
41. Francisco Canaro - Roberto Maida "Ojos negros que fascinan" 1935 2:51
42. Francisco Canaro - Roberto Maida "Invierno" 1937 3:26
43. Lucio Demare - Juan Carlos Miranda  "No te apures, Carablanca" 1942 3:29
44. Lucio Demare - Juan Carlos Miranda  "Manana zarpa un barco" 1942 3:22
45. Lucio Demare - Juan Carlos Miranda  "Malena" 1942 2:57
Second Pirincho tanda for the night. Why didn't I add Di Sarli's valses, for good measure ;) ?
46. Quinteto Pirincho (Francisco Canaro) "Desde el alma (Vals)" 1952 3:01
47. Quinteto Pirincho - Instrumental  "Maria esther (vals)" 1943 2:31
48. Quinteto Pirincho (Francisco Canaro) "Vibraciones del alma (Vals)" 1956 2:53
49. Ángel D'Agostino - Ángel Vargas "Mano Blanca" 1944 2:43
50. Ángel D'Agostino - Ángel Vargas "Ninguna" 1942 2:59
51. Ángel D'Agostino - Ángel Vargas "No Vendrá" 1945 2:30
52. Edgardo Donato - Horacio Lagos "El Adios" 1938 3:09
53. Edgardo Donato - Romeo Gavioli y Lita Morales "Mi Serenata" 1940  3:02
54. Edgardo Donato - Horacio Lagos, Lita Morales y Romeo Gavioli "Sinfonía De Arrabal" 1940  3:07
Di Sarli's thick, full-bodied milongas are my absolute favorites
55. Carlos Di Sarli - Roberto Rufino "La Mulateada" 1941 2:22
56. Carlos Di Sarli - Roberto Rufino "Pena Mulata" 1941 2:27
57. Carlos Di Sarli - Roberto Rufino  "Cuando un viejo se enamora" 1942 2:14
I always preferred Biagi's "Todo te nombra" but I begin to appreciate Canaro-Fama's...
58. Francisco Canaro - Ernesto Fama "Yo no se porque te quiero" 1934 3:10
59. Francisco Canaro - Ernesto Fama "Todo te nombra" 1939 3:07
60. Francisco Canaro - Ernesto Fama "Te quiero todavia" 1939 2:54
61. Osvaldo Fresedo Roberto Ray "Nieblas del riachuelo" 1937 2:25
62. Osvaldo Fresedo Roberto Ray "No quiero verte llorar" 1937 2:42
63. Osvaldo Fresedo Roberto Ray "Sollosos" 1937 3:27
64. Alfredo De Angelis - Instrumental "Pavadita 1958"  2:53
65. Alfredo De Angelis - Instrumental "Felicia 1969"  2:48
66. Alfredo de Angelis - Instrumental  "El Tango Club" 1957 2:40
67. Osváldo Pugliese "Nochero Soy" 1943 3:32
68. Osváldo Pugliese "Rondando Tu Esquina" 1943 2:48
69. Osváldo Pugliese "Recuerdo" 1944 2:39
70. Juan D'Arienzo - Instrumental  "La cumparsita" 1951 3:49
71. Carlos Libedinsky  "Otra Luna" 2006 3:43
(71 total)