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)