Sunday, April 26, 2015

Salt Lake Tango Fest, Milonga Trasnochanda, April 2015

Call it a baptism by fire if you want. Somehow I ended up DJing a milonga without any homework preparation. And it was a fairly long one. A festival milonga actually, to make the matters more grave. And with several great DJs in attendance, too. It definitely stressed me out at first, but in the end of the day everything worked well (OK, make it "in the end of the night" ;) ).
At the Grand Milonga of the SLTF. Patrick Marsolek's photo.
Before we get to the playlist and the thoughts about it, let me explain how it all transpired. We've been involved in volunteering and co-organizing tango events in Salt Lake for quite some time, but only assumed the roles of principal planners and organizers of a big event last August, with the Mountain Milonga Retreat 2014. 

WWPD? (What would Pugliese do?)

Facing the budget projections, the interim numbers, or the final balance sheets, I often can't help thinking, "What would Saint Pugliese do?" Our unstated financial goal for the nonprofit club's events, "to be fair to everybody, to net as little money as possible, but not to lose any", sounds quite noble but it is a tough, fine balancing act. When it comes to the questions of money and fairness in tango, nothing can be compared with the legendary experience of Osvaldo Pugliese' coop orchestra. How could Pugliese do it? People insist that everyone in his tango orchestra, including himself, was paid the same amount of money, and that it ensured great loyalty and gratitude of all participants. But the reality was more nuanced. In a recent interview, Pugliese's widow Lydia tells that Osvaldo's share of the profits has been fixed at 16.5%, clearly exceeding his musicians' shares. Was it because of how they accounted for contributed time? I tried modeling different scenarios and couldn't come up with a satisfactory model of fair sharing. But maybe one day?
Lydia Elman de Pugliese at their home at
Av Corrientes 3742 (from El Abasto interview)
A retreat is a very special kind of a tango event, in any case - a weekend of communal living, of preparing meals together, spending free hours together, and of a very strong community spirit and volunteering generosity. The logistics of organizing a retreat may be hard, but once you get it rolling, it sort of acquires its own moment and just keeps rolling. And it's just totally awesome and rewarding for the organizers to watch.

A regular city fest has a subtly different social dynamics. Many guests pick their classes and milongas a la carte, many of them live and eat and socialize separately, and the energy level of the event may ebb and flow. It requires a degree of a more precise energy management to keep it rolling and rolling, to ratchet the excitement level up and up without burning out. It also takes packing the schedule tighter with more activities, because different hours work for different guests. I actually find it harder because there are fewer things which you can take for granted than in a loosely self-organizing atmosphere of a retreat. 

Still I hoped that I can apply some of the same magic which helped us with the Mountain Milonga Retreat - to sign in a core group of truly dedicated guests early with a recruiting campaign and deep, limited discounts; to put together a crew of strongly dedicated and generously rewarded volunteers and hosts; to inject a greater dose of togetherness by housing as many guests as possible in groups and in the Tango House; and to keep the spirit of unwavering generosity no matter what. And then it helps to be lucky, too :)
The Tango House of the Salt Lake Fest
didn't just give the tangueros the
living spaces under one roof, but
also housed the musicians' tango jam -
and even had a dance flor! 
So after Opening and Alternative and Grand and Sunday night milongas, we planned the 5th "milonga element", a smaller-floor late-nighter lasting into Monday morning, which we dubbed Milonga Trasnochanda. Yet I remained prepared to "balance it out of equation" if the $$ or the projected attendance came short. Or prepared to cut the Trasnochanda's hours short if the milonga runs out of energy (the old country's classic line, "the music stops once we have fewer than 3 couples on the floor!"). (We never had Sunday night allnighters in this community before, so who knew how it will fly?)

That's how I kept the Trasnochanda ready-to-be-canceled, with no supplies and no DJ until Sunday morning, when it's become clear that the SLTF has acquired an unstoppable momentum. The energy wave from Felipe's and John's night milongas is about to be powered up by Tommy's DJing on Sunday evening, and to roll strong past midnight! And yet, all DJs I could have called to run the Trasnochanda are working on Monday, and can't stay so late!

Pedacito de BsAs :)
But I'm, like, oh, it's gonna be two hours of music tops. Surely I can find a spare hour between the class studio cleanup and the evening milonga to do some DJ homework & to play the music myself? (Ever practiced wishful thinking, guys?)  But first it's off to a certain hip grocery store to get my secret ingredient for the Trasnochanda, what will become our "2 AM medialunas" :) They are frozen, about $4.50 a pack of four. I set them to rise on countless buttered trays in the back of the van, fix a lunch for our house guests and ourselves, grab a laptop and head off. But the final day of the Fest, which already started out in a time warp, isn't about the change its frenzied pace. Mopping and packing at the studios runs behind the schedule, and then reconciling the balance sheets takes surprisingly long time. Milonga del Centro is in full swing and I haven't opened the laptop yet. Too few tandas later, I get a frantic call: at the studios, we must have accidentally thrown away some rental goods into a dumpster. Who's got this fantastic idea to put the stuff into a black garbage bag anyway?
... too few tandas but mmm good ones ... (Patrick Marsolek's photo)
So I return to the dark desolate lot behind the studio, don a headlight and dive into the dumpster full of identical black bags. An hour later, having fished out the one right bag, I briefly stop at the milonga again, just to give a thank-you speech to the teachers, DJs, and volunteers. It leaves me with exactly 15 minutes to "prime the DJ's pump" with the first 10 tandas - the rest to be added on the fly as the medialunas sit in the stove, and mate is being brewed. The guests arrive en masse by quarter to midnight, and Milonga Trasnochanda is on!

01. Osvaldo Fresedo - Instrumental  "Derecho viejo" 1941 2:31
02. Osvaldo Fresedo - Instrumental  "Pimienta" 1939 2:52
03. Osvaldo Fresedo - Instrumental  "Arrabalero" 1939 2:32
some of the cortinas didn't get properly saved but I'm sure the first one was from Million Scarlet Roses.
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  "Sabado Ingles" 1946 2:38
I'm afraid Jose Luis will kill me if I ever play this short but rousing cortina again :/
07. Canaro - Hugo del Carril  "Marcha Peronista cortina"  0:16
08. Pedro Láurenz - Alberto Podestá  "Paisaje" 1943 2:51
09. Pedro Láurenz -  C. Bermudez y J. Linares "Mendocina" 1944 2:35
10. Pedro Láurenz -  Juan Carlos Casas "Mascarita"  2:53
11. Carmen Piculeata  "Egy kis cigainy dal" 2013 0:29
12. Carlos Di Sarli Alberto Podesta "La Capilla Blanca"  2:55
13. Carlos Di Sarli Alberto Podesta "Junto a tu corazon"  3:00
14. Carlos Di Sarli Alberto Podesta "Tu!...El cielo y tu!"  2:59
15. Carlos Di Sarli Alberto Podesta "Al compas del Corazon"  3:19
16. Aníbal Troilo - Francisco Fiorentino  "Yo soy el tango" 1941 2:26
17. Aníbal Troilo - Francisco Fiorentino  "El bulín de la calle Ayacucho" 1941 2:30
18. Aníbal Troilo - Francisco Fiorentino  "Una carta" 1941 2:50
19. Leonid Utesov  "S Odesskogo kichmana (cortina)" 1935 0:22
Three things impacted my DJing experince the most because of the lack of prep time. First of all, of course I had to stick, mostly, to the well-trodden terrain (and to easier-to-assemble 3-song sets too). But I also worried that the sequence of the songs within the tanda may be imperfect - normally I play quite a bit with this factor to make sure the opening bars pull you into the floor, the middle transitions are smooth, and the closing bars are like a crescendo). And order of the tandas in the "meta-tandas" of the undulating energy waves worried me too - like I already decided to put Di Sarli's super-rhythmics next to Pirincho's mid-paced milongas, but which one should come first? Normally I might listen to the songs and transitions a few times before making my choice.
20. Quinteto Pirincho - Instrumental "La cara de la luna (milonga)" 1959 2:29
21. Quinteto Pirincho - Instrumental "Corralera" 1956 2:05
22. Quinteto Pirincho - Instrumental "Milongon" 1952 2:29
23. Lidiya Ruslanova  "Valenki 3 (cortina)"  0:24
24. Carlos di Sarli - Instrumental  "Shusheta" 1940 2:22
25. Carlos di Sarli - Instrumental  "Catamarca" 1940 2:23
26. Carlos di Sarli - Instrumental  "La trilla" 1940 2:21
27. Goran Bregovic  "Old Home Movie" 1993 0:25
28. Miguel Caló - Raúl Berón "Que te importa que te llore" 1942 2:44
29. Miguel Caló - Raúl Berón "Corazon No Le Hagas Caso" 1942 3:00
30. Miguel Caló - Raúl Berón "Jamas Retornaras" 2:31
31. Lidiya Ruslanova  "Valenki 4 (cortina)"  0:24
32. Enrique Rodriguez - Armando Moreno "En el volga yo te espero" 1943 2:40
33. Enrique Rodriguez - Roberto Flores "Las Espigadoras (vals)"  2:47
34. Enrique Rodriguez - Roberto Flores "Los Piconeros (vals)"  2:47
35. Donato Racciatti Nina Miranda "Gloria " 1952 2:44
36. Donato Racciatti - Olga Delgrossi "Sus Ojos Se Cerraron" 1956 2:47
37. Donato Racciatti - Nina Miranda "Tu corazón" 1960 2:32
38. Maya Kristalinskaya  "Nezhnost (Tenderness)"  0:17
Alfredo Gobbi (May 14, 1912 - May 21, 1965)

Violinist and occasionally a piano player, Alfredo Gobbi was born in France to a couple of Uruguayan singers during the antebellum blooming of tango in Paris. The WWI struck soon, and the young family had to return to South America. Alfredo grew up in poverty in Buenos Aires, starting his violin studies at 6. In his late teens, he played tango with then-also young and still unknown Troilo and Pugliese, before rising to the first violin position with the orchestra of Pedro Laurenz. In 1942, Alfredo Gobbi started his own orchestra, which rose to its greatest fame in the late 1940s and 1950s, when they recorded for Victor. Tango music historians often describe Gobbi's style as "Decaroist" but to me he sounds very differently!
Possibly the most exploratory tanda for the night - I never played Gobbi before, but I sensed that his romantic and beautifully complex pieces may hit the spot for the tango crowd which was primed by the three nights of dancing, and full of energy at two in the morning! Felipe stopped by after the Gobbi tanda to say that it did work. What do you think?
39. Alfredo Gobbi  "Jueves" 2:43
40. Alfredo Gobbi  "Independiente Club" 3:12
41. Alfredo Gobbi  "Sin vuelta de hoja" 3:16
42. Bravo - Zhanna Aguzarova  "Space Rock-n-Roll" 1993 0:12
Time to add the set's only two alt tandas. By the way my guess that the music will last for just couple hours was clearly way, way wrong!
43. Otros Aires dos  "Los Vino"  2:41
44. Otros Aires  "Un Baile De Beneficio" 2010 3:42
45. Otros Aires  "Rotos en el Raval" 2005 3:53
46. The Blues Brothers  "Theme From Rawhide 3" 1980 0:20
47. Fool's Garden  "Lemon tree" 1995 3:09
48. Israel Kamakawiwo'ole  "Over The Rainbow" 2001 3:32
49. Souad Massi  "Ghir Enta" 2008 5:06
50. "Lady Be Good - Sol Hoopii Trio" 0:23
51. Carlos di Sarli - Jorge Durán  "Sonatina" 1956 3:11
52. Carlos di Sarli - Argentino Ledesma  "Fumando espero" 1956 4:02
53. Carlos di Sarli - Oscar Serpa  "Verdemar" 1955 3:01
54. Carrapicho  "Tic Tic Tac cortina 1" 2007 0:17
55. Angel D'Agostino Angel Vargas "Esquinas porteñas" 1942 2:51
56. Angel D'Agostino Angel Vargas "Tristeza Criolla" 1945 2:27
57. Angel D'Agostino Angel Vargas "Que me pasara (vals)" 1941 2:29
58. Goran Bregovic  "Old Home Movie" 1993 0:25
59. Lucio Demare - Raúl Berón  "Canta pajarito" 1943 3:33
60. Lucio Demare - Raúl Berón "Como se hace un tango" 1943 3:14
61. Lucio Demare - Raúl Berón "Una emocion" 1943 2:42
62. Francisco Canaro - Roberto Maida "Recuerdos De Paris" 1937 3:12
63. Francisco Canaro - Roberto Maida "Ciego" 1935 2:57
64. Francisco Canaro - Roberto Maida "Invierno" 1937 3:26
The final (I suppose) milonga tanda for the night is the aces of candombe. John stopped by to ask about the final track in this set, IMVHO the best milonga candombe ever. Gotta give it to the Uruguay's natives!
65. Miguel Caló - Raúl Berón  "Azabache" 1942-09-29 3:05
66. Alberto Castillo  "El Gatito en el Tejado" 2:37
67. Romeo Gavioli y su orquesta típica  "Tamboriles" 1956 2:56
68. Orquesta Típica Víctor (dir. Adolfo Carabelli) - Instrumental  "El chamuyo" 1930 2:46
69. Orquesta Tipica Victor (dir. Adolfo Carabelli) - "Nino bien" 1928 2:43
70. Orquesta Tipica Victor, A. Gomez  "Ventarron" 1933 3:03
71. Victor Tsoy  "Gruppa Krovi (cortina)"  0:36
Three in the morning, and lots more then 3 couple on the floor ... I sheepishly ask people if we can wrap it after a few more tandas, but the answer is a resounding "No", "Where is our Pugliese??", "Mas D'Arienzo!!"...
72. Alfredo de Angelis - Instrumental  "Mi dolor" 1957 2:51
73. Alfredo De Angelis  "Felicia" 1969 2:48
74. Alfredo De Angelis  "Pavadita" 1958 2:53
75. Olga Voronets  "Ya - Zemlya (I am Planet Earth)" 1977 0:18
76. Orquesta Tipica Victor - Lita Morales "Noches de invierno" 1937 2:47
77. Orquesta Típica Víctor - Ángel Vargas "Sin Rumbo Fijo (vals)" 1938 2:18
78. Orquesta Tipica Victor, M. Pomar  "Temo" 1940 2:55
79. Osvaldo Fresedo - Roberto Ray "Nieblas del riachuelo" 1937 2:25
80. Osvaldo Fresedo - Roberto Ray  "En la huella del dolor" 1934 2:48
81. Osvaldo Fresedo - Roberto Ray "Sollosos" 1937 3:27
Felipe spotted a mistake in the assembly of this tanda - "Recuerdo" actually belonged to Lalo Schifrin's soundrack to Saura's "Tango" rather than to the Pugliese's orchestra. The sparse annotation wasn't really wrong - it is Pugliese's composition and it is instrumental - just woefully incomplete. Uh oh.
82. Osvaldo Pugliese - Instrumental "Recuerdo" 2:54
83. Osváldo Pugliese Osvaldo Pugliese "Farol" 1943 3:22
84. Pugliese, Osvaldo Various Artists "Rondando Tu Esquina" 1945 2:49
85. Russian Folk  "Gypsy Girl (cortina)"  0:22
Edgardo Donato's birthday fell on the opening day of the Salt Lake Tango Fest & I hope to find a chance to celebrate it before the months is over!
86. Donato, Edgardo - Romeo Gavioli, Lita Morales  "Mi Serenata" 1940 3:02
87. Donato, Edgardo  "El Adios" 1938 3:09
88. Donato, Edgardo- Horacio Lagos, Romeo Gavioli, Lita Morales "Sinfonía De Arrabal" 1940 3:07
And at last I find an excuse, however lame, to play the last tanda by 4 AM: it's time for Joni and Val to leave for their early-morning flights home, and we shoulsn't deny them the Cumparsita. Wow, that's been a crazy night!!
89. Maya Kristalinskaya  "Nezhnost (Tenderness)"  0:17
90. Juan D'Arienzo - Instrumental  "La torcacita" 1971- 2:31
91. Juan D'Arienzo - Instrumental  "Bar Exposición" 1973 2:33
92. Juan D'Arienzo - Instrumental  "Zorro gris" 1973 2:03
93. Alfredo de Angelis - Instrumental "La cumparsita (Matos Rodriguez" 1961 3:33

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