Argentine Tango Blog

  • Marcelo Solis - Escuela de Tango de Buenos Aires.
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    Have you consider taking private lessons?
    May 10, 2019
    Private lessons have several advantages.
  • Enrique Cadícamo. Música en Escuela de Tango de Buenos Aires.
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    "Garúa" by Pedro Laurenz y su Orquesta Típica with Alberto Podestá in vocals, 1943.
    July 15, 2018
    "An everlasting boy —wrote León Benarós—, Cadícamo seems to live counter clockwise."
  • Dancing Argentine Tango at milongas
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    What do I need in order to be able to go to milongas?
    July 14, 2018
    A milonga is a social gathering that has the main goal of facilitating the dance of Argentine Tango among its participants.
  • Travel to Buenos Aires and learn about Argentine Tango.
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    Dance Argentine Tango in Buenos Aires
    July 12, 2018
    You need to know this about Argentine Tango: Buenos Aires is where Tango is at home.
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    "Guapeando" by Anibal Troilo y su Orquesta Típica, 1941.
    July 11, 2018
    He was spellbound by the bandoneon when he heard its sound at cafés in his neighborhood.
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    "Sin lágrimas" by Osvaldo Pugliese y su Orquesta Típica, 1946.
    July 7, 2018
    In his important work as composer of rare ability to musically express human drama and romantic rapture, the following tunes stand out
  • Marcelo Solis Bailando con Monica Paz
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    July 6, 2018
    Dance is a manifestation of our essential freedom of being, making existence beautiful.
  • San Francisco Milonga
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    What is "Milonga"?
    July 6, 2018
    Nowadays the word “milonga” has two meanings: 1. A particular rhythm and musical genre. 2. A Tango dance party.
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    "Almagro" by Alfredo de Ángelis y su Orquesta Típica with Oscar Larroca in vocals, 1951.
    July 5, 2018
    Baritone-like voice, good intonation and diction, plus good-looking appearance.
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    "Silbar de boyero" by Osvaldo Pugliese y su Orquesta Típica with Roberto Chanel in vocals, 1944.
    July 2, 2018
    «I always got along very well with Pugliese in spite of his political ideas.»
  • Milongueando with Suzanne
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    Dancing Argentine Tango
    June 1, 2018
    My desire to get better was shaped through decades of patient learning, careful observation of dancers who inspired and guided me, and passionate dancing in milongas, to challenge others to dance better and to be challenged to better myself.
  • Eduardo Arolas. Argentine Tango music. Escuela de Tango de Buenos Aires
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    "Viborita" by Francisco Lomuto y su Orquesta Típica, 1944.
    March 20, 2018
    “Viborita” is other of Arolas' delicate tangos, with the peculiarity of having only two parts, without a trio, as was his custom. Recorded in 1920 for the first time by the Orquesta Típica Select of Osvaldo Fresedo. Its music sheet was not published until after 1930, when the nephew of Arolas received a pack with manuscripts. That is why it appears published as posthumous work. Wonderful rendition of this tango to dance at the milongas is the one recorded by Francisco Lomuto in 1944
  • Enrique Maroni. Argentine music at Escuela de Tango de Buenos Aires.
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    "Cicatrices" by Juan D'Arienzo y su Orquesta Típica with Héctor Mauré in vocals, 1942.
    March 17, 2018
    Enrique Maroni Lyricist, journalist and theater author (17 March 1887 - 30 December 1957) He wrote a hundred lyrics. Gardel committed to record twelve of them: the tangos “Callecita de mi barrio”, “Cicatrices”, “Compañero”, “Chola”, “La borrachera del tango”, “Micifuz”, “Virgencita de Pompeya (Medallita de los pobres)”, “La cumparsita (Si supieras)”, the foxtrot “La hija de japonesita”, the zambas “La salteñita”, “Machaza mi suerte”, the waltz “Rosal de amor” and the milonga “Tortazos”.
  • Alfredo Gobbi. Argentine music at Escuela de Tango de Buenos Aires.
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    "El andariego" by Alfredo Gobbi y su Orquesta Típica, 1951.
    March 16, 2018
    Alfredo Gobbi Violinist, leader and composer (14 May 1912 - 21 May 1965) Unequalled name, with more than six decades of unaltered force throughout two generations, is Alfredo Gobbi's. When that indefatigable pioneer of the difficult beginnings of the tango conquest, called D. Alfredo Eusebio Gobbi, culminated his prolonged artistic performing career, his son, Alfredo Gobbi as well, was sticking out towards consecration, as the proper continuer of an illustrious popular artistic tradition of ours. He dedicated this tango to his father.
  • Osvaldo Pugliese with Alberto Morán. Argentine music. Escuela de Tango de Buenos Aires. Dance classes.
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    "El abrojito" by Osvaldo Pugliese y su Orquesta Típica with Alberto Morán in vocals, 1945.
    March 15, 2018
    Morán, as many other singers, never studied neither music nor singing, what added to his impassioned style and his unconventional way of life, made him risk his voice to such an extreme that his voice declined very early
  • Itunes music
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    "Indiferencia" by Rodolfo Biagi y su Orquesta Típica with Jorge Ortiz in vocals, 1942.
    March 14, 2018
    Rodolfo Biagi Pianist, composer and leader (14 March 1906 - 24 September 1969) Gardel invited him to a tour of Spain but Biagi did not accept; he then joined the Juan Bautista Guido orchestra, later he was member of the orchestra of Juan Canaro, there he met Juan Carlos Thorry with whom he composed the tango “Indiferencia”.
  • Hector Maure. Escuela de Tango de Buenos Aires. Music
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    "Amarras" by Juan D'Arienzo y su Orquesta Típica with Héctor Mauré in vocals, 1944.
    March 13, 2018
    Héctor Mauré Singer and composer (13 March 1920 - 12 May 1976) «His interpretation was dramatic and at the same time, melodic. A peculiar voice, with a baritone-tenor range, pleasant timbre and clear diction, strong voice, melodious and with good intonation, clearly influenced by Gardel».
  • Itunes music
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    "Muchachos comienza la ronda" by Ricardo Tanturi y su Orquesta Típica with Enrique Campos in vocals, 1943.
    March 10, 2018
    Enrique Campos debuted on Radio El Mundo as Tanturi's orchestra singer and immediately he began to record discs. The first two numbers, cut on August 4, 1943, were the tango by Luis Porcell and Leopoldo Díaz Vélez, “Muchachos comienza la ronda”.
  • Argentine Tango classes with Marcelo Solis at Escuela de Tango de Buenos Aires. San Francisco Bay Area.
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    8 weeks training program is starting on...
    March 10, 2018
    Monday April 2, 2018 in San Jose. Wednesday April 4, 2018 in San Francisco.  Friday April 6, 2018 in Lafayette.
  • Itunes music
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    "Naipe marcado" by Francisco Canaro y su Orquesta Típica with Ernesto Famá in vocals, 1933.
    March 9, 2018
    Perteneciente a una familia ilustre del tango, que integraban además sus hermanos Vicente, Domingo, Elena y María y que ha quedado grabado con letras de oro en su historia.
  • Enrique Rodriguez. Escuela de Tango de Buenos Aires. Argentine music.
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    "Como has cambiado pebeta" by Enrique Rodriguez y su Orquesta Típica, with Armando Moreno in vocals, 1942.
    March 8, 2018
    Enrique Rodríguez Bandoneon player, leader and composer (8 March 1901 - 4 September 1971) His style was a breakthrough for the groups of the period, because he played all kinds of genres, introduced miscellaneous instruments and his repertoire, always assorted, only included merry or romantic tunes. But when he played tango, you heard the brilliant sound of a well-rehearsed orchestra, with simple nice arrangements and also with very good vocalists.
  • Itunes music
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    "Chiqué" by Juan D'Arienzo y su Orquesta Típica, 1942.
    March 7, 2018
    Ricardo Brignolo Bandoneonist, leader, composer and lyricist (7 March 1892 - 27 March 1954) This excellent musician left for our memory thirty-seven 78 rpm discs, with 74 numbers, most them with vocals. The passing of time and the evolution of tango gradually made him step aside and, in the early forties his name had been overshadowed by the younger ones. But his mark was left on those gems: “Chiqué” and “Intimas”, which by themselves are enough to deserve a place in the hall of fame of the greats of tango. Continue reading.
  • Lito Bayardo. Escuela de Tango de Buenos Aires. Música.
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    “Duelo criollo” by Carlos Di Sarli y su Orquesta Típica with Jorge Durán in vocals, 1946.
    March 6, 2018
    Este artista rosarino, se encontró con la música de adolescente, cuando los estribillistas estaban por asomar en las orquestas y, todavía, los hermanos De Caro no habían hecho la aparición renovadora que causaría otro momento de inflexión, el definitivo, en la historia musical del tango.
  • Itunes music
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    "Mishiadura" by Edgardo Donato y su Orquesta Típica, 1942.
    March 4, 2018
    Eduardo Arolas' musical language, as composer and as player, was purely Tango.
  • "Derecho viejo" of Eduardo Arolas. History of Tango by Marcelo Solis. Escuela de Tango de Buenos Aires.
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    "Derecho viejo" by Osvaldo Pugliese y su Orquesta Típica, 1945.
    March 2, 2018
    Between 1913 and 1916, Eduardo Arolas' musical composition and production showed evident improvement due to his musical studies, and the achieved experience of his profession. He consolidated his fame, taking his orchestra the level of the most prominent ones, leaving the neighborhood cafés, playing on Corrientes Street and at the luxurious places of Palermo neighborhood, in the interior of Argentina, and in Montevideo.
  • Osmar Maderna. Argentine tango music. Escuela de Tango de Buenos Aires.
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    "Qué te importa que te llore" by Miguel Caló y su Orquesta Típica with Raúl Berón in vocals, 1942.
    February 26, 2018
    Osmar Maderna was a pianist strongly inclined to romanticism, viewed as the Chopin of the tango. His subtle, almost ethereal and suggestive touch, deprived of any emphasis or pomposity, led him to create an orchestral style based on the same pattern. Plain and transparent, his arrangements conceived fancy solos alternating piano, bandoneon and violin.
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    Workshop with Olga Besio
    February 25, 2018
  • Eduardo Arolas. Argentine Tango music. Escuela de Tango de Buenos Aires
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    History of Tango - Part 9: Eduardo Arolas. The evolution of Tango music.
    February 24, 2018 In 1909, when Eduardo Arolas composed “Una noche de garufa”, he had not yet acquired a formalized musical education. He was 17 years old. Still, in his first composition, all the elements of his style are present, bursting out into the world, for the amusement of all of those who, like me, love Tango. This quality cannot be attributed to any other Tango composer. None of his colleagues had a defined style during their first compositions, and would need many years to develop it. Arolas’ works have such advanced characteristics, that they will keep forever surprising Tango lovers wondering how, what inspiration, and from which source Arolas extracted them. He was born on February 24, 1892, in the nascent industrial neighborhood of Barracas, on the southern edge of Buenos Aires, where he grew up playing among workshops, construction sites, warehouses, deposits, workers, cart drivers, cuarteadores, payadores and herdsmen. At 6 years old, he started learning to play the guitar from his brother José Enrique. Until 1906 he played this instrument with friends in informal settings, and eventually began playing gigs at Cafés and Dancings of his neighborhood. Arolas was regarded as skillful and versatile player. He accompanied Ricardo González “Muchila”, who played the bandoneon. The sound of this instrument exerted a strong attraction on Arolas. He acquired a small one with 32 notes and began learning from Muchila. After selling merchandise on the streets for many years, his parents opened a wholesale store and bar in front of the train station. Arolas, known as “el Pibe Eduardo”, and his brother played Waldteufeld waltzes to entertain the clientele, which were very in vogue at the time. After finishing third grade, he quit school and began working different jobs to help his family: busboy, delivery boy, apprentice at a paint workshop, manufacturing commercial signs, illustrator, decorator and cartoonist, which became another of his passions, as seen in the drawings and artwork covers of his own published music compositions and for some colleagues. On the record sheet of his neighborhood police station, he appeared classified as “compadrito”. In 1909 he played a 42-tone bandoneon, accompanied by Graciano De Leone in guitar. That same year he went to present his first composition to Francisco Canaro. In 1910 he played with Tito Roccatagliatta, the most important violin player of that era, and with Leopoldo Thomson, who established the double bass in the orquestas típicas, and Prudencio Aragón, pianist and composer, author of “Siete palabras”. In 1911, at 19 years old, he played in Montevideo for the first time, which became his home when, broken-hearted, he exiled himself voluntarily from Buenos Aires. At this gig, Arolas played a bandoneon of standard 71 buttons. Upon his return from this trip, he started formal musical studies, with José Bombig, conductor of the National Penitentiary band, who had a conservatory on Avenue Almirante Brown, in La Boca neighborhood. During those three years at the conservatory, he made an extensive and very profitable tour of the province's brothels, with violinists Ernesto Zambonini and Rafael Tuegols. While on this tour he met Delia López “La Chiquita”, and started a relationship that became a source of great inspiration for him as well as the likely trigger of the unfortunate choices that accelerated his demise. Back in Buenos Aires, he worked mostly in his own neighborhood of Barracas, in various venues, including his own, “Una noche de garufa”, that he opened with his friend, the industrialist, Luis Bettinelli. His first composition, published in 1912, was an immediate great success. Other compositions of remarkable inspiration followed, although they are not as well known today as they should be: “Nariz”, dedicated to his “amiguita” Delia López; “Rey de los bordoneos”, dedicated to his musicians; “Maturango”; “Chúmbale” and the vals “Notas de corazón”, dedicated to his mother. In 1910 the first recordings of an orchestra with the bandoneon were released, directed by Vicente Greco, by Columbia Records. The great acceptance by audiences of these recordings propitiated the appearance of numerous recording labels competing for the market. Arolas started recording in 1912 for Poli-phon, with Tito Roccatagliatta on violin, Vicente Pecci on flute, and Emilio Fernández on guitar. During 1912 he started playing downtown Buenos Aires. In 1913 Arolas included the great pianist and composer José Martínez, author of “El cencerro”, “La torcacita”, “Pablo, “Punto y coma”, “Canaro”, among many great tangos, to play at the cabaret Royal Pigall, on Corrientes Street 825. This same year, Roberto Firpo called Arolas and Roccatagliatta to play with him at the famous cabaret Armenonville. Later, Arolas distanced himself from Firpo and had a sign at his presentations that clarified “We don’t play Firpo’s compositions”. But “Fuegos artificiales" became a great outcome from this encounter. Firpo still went on to record many of Arolas’ tangos. Let's listen to the magnificent rendition of "Fuegos artificiales" by Anibal Troilo y su Orquesta Típica, 1945: After taking distance from Firpo, in 1914, Afro-American Harold Philips played the piano with Arolas. In 1915, Arolas played together with Agustin Bardi on piano and Roccatagliatta on violin. In 1916, he formed a trio with Roccatagliatta on violin and Juan Carlos Cobián on piano, at the cabarets Montmartre, L’Abbaye and Fritz, all located downtown. Their trio sometimes expanded to a quartet to include a violoncello. They also made a tour in the province of Córdoba. Back in Buenos Aires, the trio was hired to play at parties and dancings of the Buenos Aires’ upper class mansions, embassies and select clubs. At these kinds of gigs, any interaction between musicians and guests were not tolerated, a rule that Arolas never accepted, which resulted in his replacement by Osvaldo Fresedo. Between 1913 and 1916, his musical composition and production showed evident improvement due to his musical studies, and the achieved experience of his profession. He consolidated his fame, taking his orchestra to the level of the most prominent ones, leaving the neighborhood cafés, playing on Corrientes Street and at the luxurious places of Palermo neighborhood, in the interior of Argentina, and in Montevideo. Some of the compositions of this period, among many that have today been forgotten are “Derecho viejo”-played here by Osvaldo Pugliese y su Orquesta Típica in 1945: “La guitarrita” -by Juan D'Arienzo in 1936: “Rawson” -again, by El Rey del Compás: “Araca” and “Anatomía”. Specifically regarding the song “Araca”, there is only one magnificent rendition recorded by “Cuarteto Victor de la Guardia Vieja” in 1936, with Francisco Pracánico on piano, Ciriaco Ortiz on bandoneon, and Cayetano Puglisi and Antonio Rossi on violins. The third and last group of compositions, from 1917 to 1923, showed an even further musical evolution, deeper in feelings, nostalgic, almost crying, a masculine vulnerability, playing with his characteristic rhythmic phrasing. These works were influenced by the break up with his lover Delia López, who ended up marrying his brother, and his subsequent submersion into alcoholism and chronic sadness. Among them: from 1917, “Comme il faut” -here is the recording of Anibal Troilo in 1938: and “Retintin”, called first "Qué hacés, qué hacés, che Rafael!", dedicated to his violin player, friend and secretary, Rafael Tuegols. The whole orchestra singed the name of the song at the performances -here by Juan D'Arienzo y su Orquesta Típica, with Rodolfo Biagi in piano: Less known, from this same year, are “Marrón glacé (Moñito)”, dedicated to the racing horse of his friend Emilio de Alvear; “El chañar”, of which there is a rendition by Alfredo De Angelis recorded during the Golden Era: and “Taquito”, recorded only by Arolas. In 1917, he formed a quintet with Juan Luis Marini on piano, Rafael Tuegols and Atilio Lombardo on violins, and Alberto Paredes on violoncello, and recorded for Victor with an advantageous contract. Unusual for the time, he included the voice of Francisco Nicolás Blanco “Pancho Cueva”, on two recordings, only matched by the contemporary recording of Gardel-Razzano with Firpo at “El moro”. Bianco, who later also recorded with Firpo, was a famous payador, who used the lunfardo jargon in his performances, and was the brother of Eduardo Bianco, the great conductor who played tangos in Europe. The composition cover artwork for the song “Lágrimas” deserves a special mention because of Arolas' self-portrait: Dedicated to the mother of his colleague and violinist Tito Roccatagliata, combined a delicious rhythmic first part with a deeply emotional second part. Ricardo Tanturi recorded it in 1941: In 1918 his orchestra was formed with him on first bandoneon and conductor, Manuel Pizzarro on second bandoneon, Rafael Tuegols on first violin, Horacio Gomila on second violin, Roberto Goyeneche on piano and Luis Bernstein on double bass. This was the peak of his career, playing in both Buenos Aires and Montevideo. Soon, Julio De Caro joined his orchestra. 1918 brought us two tangos eminently rhythmic: “Catamarca”, initially called “Estocada a fondo”, of which Carlos Di Sarli left us a magnificent rendition in 1940: The other tango is “Dinamita”, that we can hear in the rendition of 1918 by Roberto Firpo: Here we are able to appreciate an authentic rhythmic dynamite, his peculiar way of playing with the melody, and its manifested advanced compositional techniques, using already the same “canyengueadas” that we hear in the arrangements of Osvaldo Pugliese and Astor Piazzolla many decades later. That same year, Arolas met Pascual Contursi in Montevideo, and from this encounter they produced “Qué querés con era cara”, lyrics that Contursi wrote for Arolas’ “La guitarrita”, recorded by Carlos Gardel: This year culminated with one of his immortal compositions: “Maipo”, of supreme beauty, with a first part truly sublime, of pathetic depth, tearing, and a second part of felt sadness and deep emotions. Let’s dance to El Rey de Compás Juan D’Arienzo recording of this tango in 1939: 1919 began with no less than “El Marne”, a true concerto of advanced structure for its time. It needed to wait for qualified musicians to deliver the message of its notes. We remain here at the same tanda, with the Maestro D’Arienzo and Juan Polito on piano: The productivity of Arolas is astounding. His fabulous inspiration keeps on giving: “Cosa papa”, which was only recorded by him on his last recording, in line with his best authorial achievements. “Rocca”, dedicated to his great friend, the landowner and keeper of Argentine traditions, Santiago H. Rocca, in which music sheet edition we can see a portrait of the homaged, beautified by a fine drawing from Arolas. There no recordings that we know of this tango, but we are lucky to hear Horacio Asborno’s pianola playing it: “Viborita” is other of his delicate tangos, with the peculiarity of having only two parts, without a trio, as was his custom. Recorded in 1920 for the first time by the Orquesta Típica Select of Osvaldo Fresedo. Its music sheet was not published until after 1930, when the nephew of Arolas received a pack with manuscripts. That is why it appears published as posthumous work. Wonderful rendition of this tango to dance at the milongas is the one recorded by Francisco Lomuto in 1944: “De vuelta y media”, of amazing beauty, from which we are lucky to hear the author's recording: And “El Gaucho Néstor”, included only in his recordings for Victor: In 1919 he was hired to play at the Montevideo’s Carnaval celebrations, at the head of a big orchestra. Back in Buenos Aires, he engaged in a tour through the province with a trio in which Julio De Caro played the violin. Then he played at Maxim’s and Tabarín cabarets downtown. From this moment on, there were only a few more occasions in which Arolas played in Argentina. His moral and physical collapse had begun. He moved his home permanently to Montevideo, and formed an orchestra in which Edgardo Donato played. In 1920 he traveled to Europe accompanied by Alice Lesage. This year he gave only one composition, dedicated to her, “Alice”. Manuel Buzón made an excellent recording of this tango, that we like to enjoy dancing: In 1921 he returned from Europe and remained in Uruguay. This year he composed “Pobre gaucho”, dedicated to his orchestra colleagues, and “Bataraz”, both recorded by Firpo: Possibly, this is also the year in which he composed what is considered his masterpiece: “La Cachila”. It has everything. After an intense first part, of incomparable beauty, comes a second part with vibrant renovating rhythms, piercing, rich and tearing. That is the way it was interpreted by Osvaldo Pugliese: It had become one of the classics of the genre, of permanent presence in the repertoire of orchestras of all times. In 1922, he took a second trip to Europe, with work in mind, but he didn't receive help from the community of tango musicians living there. On his own, he got advantageous contracts to play in Paris and Madrid. During his last three years of life, he resided in Europe, and we only know about the composition “Place Pigalle”, which he registered in France. He died of tuberculosis on September 29, 1924 at a hospital in Paris. He was 32 years old at the time of his death. In 15 years as a composer, he wrote 120 titles, of which only about 20 are widely known. During Arolas’ time, Tango music was much simpler than it is today. As a musician, he gave the strength of his emotion to his performances, breaking his instrument on many occasions, leaving it like an umbrella inverted by a strong wind. He was a refined instrumentalist, devising ways of phrasing and harmonies unknown at the time. He created the octave phrasing, the passages harmonized in thirds played with both hands, the “rezongos” played with the bass notes (a particular effect that makes the bandoneon sound like grumbling), and with Juan Maglio Pacho, perfected the bandoneon legato technique, all elements which became essential to Tango. His musical language, as composer and as player, was purely Tango, a language that the people of the neighborhoods of Rio de la Plata understand, a language that flows effortless like spring water. His performance was vibrantly brilliant, simple, without variations, very nuanced and colorful. As a conductor, it is possible to identify two stages of his work. From 1911 to 1915, in which his formations are similar to the others of the time, integrated by bandoneon, violin, flute and guitar. The guitar is the rhythmic base and the other instruments play the melody, although sometimes all play together in the parts that demand more sound. Listen to “El entrerriano” (Odeon 1913): From 1917 to 1919, although some times we can still hear a guitar, the piano becomes the spinal cord of the rhythm, complemented by violins and violoncello, and, of course, the bandoneon. His rhythm is more “elastic” without losing “polenta” (energy), more versatile and with more sound flow. Definitely much more advanced than his contemporary orchestras. Listen to “Comme il faut” (Victor 1918): Compared with the other orchestras playing during the same period, Arolas’ was the one that played the slowest, as a way of achieving more expressivity, changing the rhythm for 2/4 to 4/8, and changes the rhythmic scheme: Arolas opened a wide gap with his orchestra through which the advent of the most evolved forms of the instrumental performance of tango could be glimpsed. As a composer he took Tango to a more elaborate level with the force of his originality. According to Osvaldo Pugliese, together with Agustín Bardi (in our next article), is one of the pillars of Tango. His work consists of compositions all of superlative beauty, of outstanding inventiveness, and emotive depth. From his beginnings he enlisted the trend of "Tango Criollista”, emotionally located at the edge between the city and the countryside (“La guitarrita”), but gradually he started acquiring Porteño accents, at the time that the emotional charge of his melodies increased, losing the stillness of the country and the acidic smell of the grass to share an urbanized tragic pain. They give the sensation that they were written to be interpreted by future orchestras. His works waited patiently through the instrumental evolution of the genre and the capacitation of the musicians of the Golden Era to extract from them all its latent beauty. In addition to the inspiring music he shared with the world, he was also very good looking, had great charisma, and was always very well dressed. He loved all the pleasures in life, and as he refined his taste as he grew artistically, he became more knowledgeable about his profession began playing in places of better quality. Let's listen to Arolas' bandoneon solo: SaveSave SaveSaveSaveSave SaveSaveSaveSave SaveSave SaveSave SaveSave SaveSave SaveSave SaveSave SaveSave SaveSave
  • Argentine Tango classes with Marcelo Solis at Escuela de Tango de Buenos Aires. San Francisco Bay Area.
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    Big Bang to Tango
    February 23, 2018
  • Emilio Balcarce. Argentine Tango music at Escuela de Tango de Buenos Aires. Marcelo Solis' collection.
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    "Bien compadre" by Osvaldo Pugliese y su Orquesta Típica, 1949.
    February 22, 2018
    Only a great one, after handing an arrangement for orchestra to Aníbal Troilo, can be relieved from the suffering of the implacable torment of Pichuco’s eraser from which nobody escaped. That rare privilege was conferred to him in 1958 when Emilio Balcarce, in his condition of orchestrator, delivered the music sheets of “La bordona”.
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    "El Choclo" by Ángel D'Agostino y su Orquesta Típica with Ángel Vargas in vocals (1941)
    February 16, 2018
    He bears the title of Father of Tango, a somewhat exaggerated qualification because there were many circumstances which originated our music. But his influence was so important in the beginnings and its development which made him deserve this designation.
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    Ovidio José Benito Bianquet "El Cachafaz"
    February 14, 2018
    His story is part of the tango mythology, a legend, today very few who had witnessed his life or his art remain. His image was captured on the film Tango, premiered in 1933, where he can be seen with his partner Carmencita Calderón, just a girl under 20 years old.
  • Blas Catrenau & Myriam Pincen. Escuela de Tango de Buenos Aires. Maestros milongueros. Classes. All levels.
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    Myriam Pincen & Blas Catrenau
    February 13, 2018
    Blas Catrenau started dancing tango in his early youth among other young men at the practice studio of Crisol and Verné. Later he attended several carnival balls organized at local clubs such as San Lorenzo de Almagro.
  • Blas Catrenau & Myriam Pincen. Escuela de Tango de Buenos Aires. Maestros milongueros. Classes. All levels.
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    Myriam Pincen & Blas Catrenau
    February 13, 2018
    Blas Catrenau started dancing tango in his early youth among other young men at the practice studio of Crisol and Verné. Later he attended several carnival balls organized at local clubs such as San Lorenzo de Almagro.
  • Carmencita & Cachafaz. Escuela de Tango de Buenos Aires
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    Carmencita Calderón
    February 10, 2018
    In those early tango ambiences, with strong uncured brandy, with thick and cheap tobacco smoke, with tough quarrelsome rivalry, women scarcely showed their presence through foreign whores —mostly French— or girls from the interior popularly known as chinas.
  • Héctor Varela. Argentine Tango miusic selected by Marcelo Solis. Escuela de Tango de Buenos Aires.
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    "Mi Dolor" by Héctor Varela y su Orquesta Típica (1953)
    January 29, 2018
    Héctor Varela, lead bandoneon and arranger of the Juan D'Arienzo Orchestra, for ten years, identified himself with the trends of a genuine traditional origin, and his orchestra boasted, as major attraction, the precision of a difficult technical performance, in the middle of a very personal hasty rhythmic beat.
  • Ricardo Tanturi. Argentine Tango music at Escuela de Tango de Buenos Aires
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    "Pocas palabras" by Ricardo Tanturi y su Orquesta Típica with Alberto Castillo in vocals (1941)
    January 28, 2018 Ricardo Tanturi: El caballero del tango Pianist, leader and composer (27 January 1905 - 24 January 1973) The turn for records came in 1937 with an unforgettable piece recorded for Odeón, containing the instrumental version of "Tierrita" tango by Agustín Bardi, and "A la luz del candil", with music written by the talented Carlos Vicente Geroni Flores, cruel lyrics by Julio Navarrine, and sang by Carlos Ortega. But Tanturi's great success would come in 1939 when he incorporated Alberto Castillo, a great attraction for the public. Castillo, with his perfect tune, master ability in the use of pitches and mezza voce, seduced the audience in many possible ways: with his exaggerated gestures, his masculine elegance and neat hair style, his gynecologist degree (obtained in 1942) and that sometimes intimate sometimes lively mood, all of which made a show of each and every tango. Continue reading. Find it in iTunes More music?
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    "Sobre el pucho" by Juan D'Arienzo y su Orquesta Típica with Héctor Mauré, 1941.
    January 26, 2018
    José González Castillo truly disembarked in the genre with the lyrics of “Sobre el pucho”, after Sebastián Piana's music, which was introduced at the talent contest organized by Tango cigarettes.
  • Learn to dance Argentine Tango at Escuela de Tango de Buenos Aires with Marcelo Solis in the San Francisco Bay Area
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    First week classes
    January 9, 2018
    Here some videos to review the exercises made in class. Try these exercises and please let us know if you have any questions.
  • Carlos Di Sarli. History of Tango. Escuela de Tango de Buenos Aires. Marcelo Solis
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    "La Trilla" by Carlos Di Sarli y su Orquesta Típica, 1940.
    January 7, 2018
    He, as nobody else, knew how to combine the rhythmic cadence of tango with a harmonic structure, apparently simple, but full of nuances and subtleties.
  • Roberto Rufino - Tango Music - Escuela de Tango de Buenos Aires
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    "En un beso la vida" by Carlos Di Sarli y su Orquesta Típica with Roberto Rufino, 1940.
    January 6, 2018
    Rufino was that: a storyteller, a phraser, an interpreter that perfectly knew which was the meaning of what he was singing.
  • Carlos Di Sarli. Argentine Tango music. Escuela de Tango de Buenos Aires
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    "Champagne Tango" by Carlos Di Sarli y su Orquesta Típica, 1958.
    January 4, 2018 Manuel Aróztegui Pianist and composer (4 January 1888 - 14 November 1938) He was an Oriental (Uruguayan) born in Montevideo on January 4, 1888. This is the exact date given by his nephew Bernardo, a pianist, who, besides exhibiting documents, stated that the right spelling of the family name is with “z” and not with “s”. As we found a certain generalized confusion about that, we think we have cleared out the issue. Héctor Bates and Luis Bates (in La Historia del Tango) mention bibliographic references of the composer we are talking about. We include a summary of them: «He was a little above one year old when he settled in Buenos Aires with his family. He studied up to third degree in grammar school, because he admitted he used to play truant. He carried out varied trades. «His devotion for music was born after he heard Pacho who, by that time (1905), played at a café placed on Thames and Guayanas (now Niceto Vega). «In his spare time he devoted himself to learn music: guitar, mandolin and violin. Finally he chose piano; his first lessons were taught by a hatter named Leopoldo, later he continued with Carlos Hernani Macchi. Continue reading.
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    "Criolla linda" by Cayetano Puglisi y su Sexteto Típico, 1929.
    January 2, 2018 Cayetano Puglisi Violinist, leader and composer (2 January 1902 - 2 November 1968) The eldest in a family of three musician brothers, Cayetano Puglisi was born in Messina, a region of Sicily (Italy). Emilio, a violinist like him, of an uneasy spirit, after enjoying the sweet smell of success in the Buenos Aires orchestras, played in international orchestras, even in the far distant Teheran (capital of Iran). José, instead, from the humblest place in the teatro "Colón" orchestra of Buenos Aires, carried out his career devoted to violoncello, totally apart from tango life. Cayetano Puglisi arrived in Buenos Aires in 1909. A violin student, he was alumnus of the maestro Pessina, seeming to become a great player of so difficult instrument. In his beginnings, inclined to classical music, after playing a concert at the Teatro Nuevo, the La Prensa journal granted him a scholarship to polish his studies in Europe, a voyage he was unable to make because the World War burst out in 1914. By those difficult times, the riverside cafés at the neighborhood of La Boca witnessed his early gigs, although his formal memories as for the name of partners lead us to the famous Iglesias barroom on Corrientes Street, lining up a trio with Carlos Marcucci (bandoneon) and Pedro Almirón (piano), the latter replaced by Robledo, none of them was older than 13. It was a trio of kids. Continue reading at
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    Learn and Improve Tango – Lessons 21 to 23
    December 30, 2017
    These lessons focus on crosses, systems and rhythm. For these videos, our music choice was some of the recordings of Pedro Laurenz y su Orquesta Típica. Practice and enjoy it! Try these exercises and please let us know if you have any questions. See also: Regular schedule. Our teaching philosophy and method. Frequently Asked Questions. About us. Contact us.
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    History of Tango - Part 8: Roberto Firpo and the acceptance of the piano in the Orquesta Típica
    December 27, 2017
    Born on May 10, 1884 in the City of Las Flores (today annexed to the City of Buenos Aires as a neighborhood). Firpo spent his childhood working in his family’s store. Although he showed interest in music and painting, his family could not afford an artistic education for him. Since they needed his help with the family business, his father took him out of school after fifth grade. Enrique Cadícamo tells us that, as a teenager, he felt terribly ashamed when girls in the town watched him working hard as a delivery boy for his family business. He confronted his father about his plan to leave Las Flores to find his destiny in the big city. Firpo displayed such determination that his father realized he could not retain him, and instead gave him the freedom to leave home and some money to start an independent life in Buenos Aires. There, he worked in a store located in the corner of Santa Fe and Callao streets. Then he worked in the shoe industry and, in 1903, at an important steel mill, Talleres Vasena, where he met Juan “Bachicha” Deambroggio. At the time, Bachicha was learning to play bandoneon with Alfredo Bevilacqua, one of the greats of the time, author of "Venus", "Independencia", "Apolo" and other classics. Firpo began assisting in these classes and learning the instrument of his choice, piano, and music theory. Having no money to purchase a piano, Firpo made himself an instrument. He constructed it with glass bottles filled with different amounts of water, each producing a different note, a kind of improvised xylophone, which allowed him to practice his lessons in some way. At 19 years old, Firpo was fiercely dedicated and he learned a lot. In 1904 he left Buenos Aires to work at the port of the City of Ingeniero White, where, at night, he played the piano at a bar of the port. This allowed him to round out his training, and when he made enough money to buy his own piano, he returned to Buenos Aires and did so. Firpo said he always remembered that day as "the happiest of his life”. On a quest to perfect his technique, he continued his studies with Bevilacqua. During the day, he took all sorts of odd jobs, while at night, he played in several neighborhood bars and cafés. Sometimes Firpo played in a duet with Bachicha, or others in a trio with Juan Carlos Bazán on clarinet and Francisco Postiglione on violin. In 1907, he received an invitation to play at La Marina, a famous place in La Boca neighborhood. That engagement increased his fame and lead to his temporary contract with another prestigious place of the tango scene, “Hansen”, in Palermo neighborhood, at the rate of three pesos per night and permission to pass the dish (hat). From this moment on, he worked exclusively as a musician. During this time he presented his first compositions: “El Compinche”, “La Chola” and “La Gaucha Manuela”, the last two would later be recorded by Pacho, adding the title of composer to his already great reputation as a musician. In 1908, with his “Trio Firpo”, he played at “Café La Castellana” on Avenida de Mayo, at “Bar Iglesias” on 1400 Corrientes Street, at “El Velódromo” and “El Tambito” in Palermo neighborhood, and at “Armenonville”, the famous cabaret. It was at "El Velódromo” (a place located close to Hansen), where Bazán began to blow a clarinet call, in order to attract the clientele that passed towards Hansen's. The result was that the latter was almost empty, while “El Velódromo” was filling up. To solve the problem, the employer of the first contracted them again, this time for the sum of two pesos for each of them! Later, that call made by Bazán would become the beginning of his tango "La chiflada". In 1911, he joined the recording company ERA, of Domingo Nazca, “El Gaucho Relámpago”, accompanying other musicians on his piano, and recording piano solos and duets with a violin player. Then he recorded briefly for the company Atlanta and soon moved to the recording company Odeón, of Max Glücksmann. In 1912, Firpo formed a trio with “El Tano” Genaro Espósito playing bandoneon and David Roccatagliatta on violin, performing at café “El Estribo”, on Entre Rios Avenue, where Vicente Greco had performed before with Francisco Canaro. Casimiro Aín was their star dancer. He also formed a trio with Eduardo Arolas on the bandoneon and Leopoldo Ruperto Thomson on guitar. This formation would evolve in a quartet with Roccatagliatta, and into a quintet with Roque Biafore as second bandoneon. Thomson eventually exchanged the guitar for double bass. In 1913, while playing at Armenonville, Gardel-Razzano premiered there. From then on, the singers would become great friends of Roberto Firpo, with whom he later worked at Odeón and toured Argentina. It was on that tour, in 1918, that the singers abandoned him one dark night and fled to Buenos Aires to witness the revenge of Botafogo and Gray Fox in the Hippodrome of Palermo. Recalling those days and the things that Gardel and Razzano did, Firpo said more than once: "With those jesters you could not have peace. They drove me crazy!" On that same night in 1913, Firpo premiered his compositions “Sentimiento Criollo”, “Argañaraz” and “Marejada”. Firpo was at this time one of the most recognized and celebrated composer of Tango, and for that reason, the recording company Lepage Odeón, of Max Glücksmann, summoned him to make their first recordings. Firpo would start a catalogue of recordings on discs, only surpassed over the years by his colleague Francisco Canaro. From the piano, he directed a set that counted on Bachicha on bandoneon, Tito Roccatagliatta on violin and Bazán on winds. At the time, recording the piano with other instruments presented challenges because the overwhelming sound of the piano would drown out the other instruments. Firpo was able to resolve the problem by simply placing the instruments in an order that is still kept at the orquestas típicas. Due to the advantage this gave Odeón over other recording companies, in addition to his talent, it is perhaps why Firpo achieved such special position in the company. Odeón was known at the time for having the best technical equipment. Firpo was hired by Odeón with an exclusive contract: he would remain the only musician recording tangos with an “orquesta típica” for them. Francisco Canaro recorded on the Era label. Following the success of his tango "El Chamuyo", a manager of Odeón spoke with him about recording for them, but since Firpo had an exclusive contract, he was able to block other orchestras from recording. That is why Canaro began recording with a trio at Odeón, and sought an agreement with Firpo, "which consisted of paying him six cents for each record that was sold recorded by my orchestra" - said Canaro. In 1914 came his greatest success: “Alma de bohemio”, which he composed for a play of the same name, at the request of the brilliant actor Florencio Parravicini. Other tangos by Firpo include “Fuegos Artificiales” (composed with Eduardo Arolas), "Didí", "El Amanecer" (the first example of descriptive music in the genre), "El Rápido", "Vea Vea", "El Apronte", “La Carcajada" and many others. He was also a passionate cultivator of the waltz, from which he produced a large amount, generally with great repercussion at the time: "Pálida sombra", "Noche calurosa", "Ondas sonoras", "Noches de frío" and others. In 1916 in Montevideo, he played what would become the tango of all tangos, “La Cumparsita”, by Gerardo Hernán Matos Rodríguez, which at that time was a two-part song. Firpo, in the style of the “Guardia Vieja”, composed the third. Some time later he would regret not having signed it jointly: the rights of "La Cumparsita" reported millions! With respect to this fundamental tango, Firpo recalled: “In 1916 I was at "Confiteria La Giralda" in Montevideo, when one day a man arrived accompanied by about fifteen boys - all students - to tell me that they had a humble carnival march, and wanted me to take a look and fix it because they thought there was a tango. They wanted it for that night, because it was needed for a boy named Matos Rodríguez. In the score, in two by four, appeared a little of the first part and in the second part there was nothing. I got a piano and I remembered two tangos of mine composed in 1906 that had not had any success: "La Gaucha Manuela" and “Curda Completa”, and I put a little of each one. At night I played it with Bachicha Deambroggio and Tito Roccatagliatta. It was an apotheosis, and everybody celebrated Matos Rodríguez that night. But the tango was then forgotten. Its great success began when they attached the lyrics of Enrique Maroni and Pascual Contursi”. In 1917, Firpo was hired for the dance parties of carnival at the Teatro Colón of Rosario, forming the giant orchestra Firpo-Canaro, integrated by: Roberto Firpo and José Martinez on pianos; Eduardo Arolas, Osvaldo Fresedo, Minotto Di Cicco, Pedro Polito and Bachicha Deambrogio on bandoneons; Francisco Canaro, Agelisao Ferrazzano, Tito Roccatagliatta, Julio Doutry and A. Scotti on violins; Alejandro Michetti on flute; Juan Carlos Bazán on clarinet; and Leopoldo Thompson on double bass. This orchestra achieved great success, so they were hired again in 1918. He then played with his formation in the play “Los dientes del perro” accompanying Manolita Poli when she sang “Mi noche triste”, the lyrics that Pascual Contursi wrote for Samuel Castriota’s “Lita”, which went on to be the first tango recorded by Carlos Gardel, and considered the first tango lyric structured in the the way that would become classical to Tango. On more than one occasion, Firpo shared the stage with the duet Gardel-Razzano, in addition to enduring their relentless jokes. Once, when Firpo played the pasodoble “Que salga el toro!” (Release the bull!), at the moment in which one of the members of the orchestra shouted the title of this song in the middle of the performance, Gardel - using his index fingers as horns - struck the musicians who went to the floor. Beyond such terrible jokes, Firpo and Gardel-Razzano recorded together once in 1917, the tango "El Moro", although in the label Gardel and Razzano do not appear, oddly, except - as it is - as authors. Revenge of Firpo? No. What actually happened is that no vocalization was planned. Gardel and Razzano just burst into the recording room and the joke, in this case, consisted of singing the lyrics of the song surprising Firpo. The recording company edited the record without modifying the disc label. The success of Firpo was also financial. He made lots of money for his performances, but even more for his recordings and composer’s rights. In 1928, he unexpectedly abandoned Tango for a while. He himself explained the reason to Héctor and Luis Bates: “With the money I received for the recordings, I felt like a cattleman. Everything I had, I invested in the hacienda. In a year, I got to earn a million pesos ... Then came that sadly famous flood of the Paraná River that decimated my farm; I wanted to make up for so much loss and I tried my luck in the stock market. It was in 1929. There I lost everything I had left. I had to go back to the work I had done before, I formed my orchestra and started again.” He also returned to the composition, with an eloquent title: “Honda Tristeza”. Firpo was one of the greatest musicians of Tango, of complete musical erudition, nevertheless, maintained his work within the purest traditional school. Some of the great tango musicians who started their career with him included Eduardo Arolas, Osvaldo Fresedo, Pedro Maffia, Bachicha, Cayetano Puglisi, Horacio Salgán and many others. For instance, Julio De Caro's first public performance and the beginning of his career playing tango was with Firpo, when De Caro was only 17 years old. His friends arranged for De Caro to see Firpo playing at the cabaret Palais de Glace, even though De Caro was not old enough to be admitted in a cabaret. At the time, boys would not wear long pants until they were 18 years old. Parents would give them their “pantalones largos” as a admission into adulthood. So, Julio’s friends had to get a pair of long pants that would be the credential of being old enough to get into the cabaret, and once he was there, during Firpo’s performance, his “barra” (group of friends) started to shout “Que suba el pibe!” (Bring the boy to the stage!). Julio joined his friends in the shouting, not knowing that “el pibe” (the boy) was him. In short, his friends carried him onto the stage, Firpo asked his violin player to give Julio the instrument and asked him what he would like to play, to which De Caro responded “La Cumparsita”. Eduardo Arolas was also there, and was so impressed by De Caro’s playing, that asked him to play in his orchestra. Roberto Firpo's recording work is immense and surely many titles have remained unregistered. During the time of acoustic recordings he made more than 1650 records and at the end of his career, back in 1959, close to 3000 recordings. Roberto Firpo is one of the first evolutionists of Tango as a director, interpreter and composer. In those initial days of the “Orquesta Típica", he definitively established the piano in the tango orchestra, which displaced the guitar, but his way of playing the piano borrowed a lot from the way of playing the guitar in Tango and in the native music of the gauchos, for instance the “bordoneo”, a technique used to embellish the melody with notes from the sixth string of the guitar -the lowest pitched string, called “bordona”. His orchestra was a model that pointed the way to go, signaling a trend that will germinate in future tango formations. As a performer, he owned a very fine style - as we can hear in his exquisite solo recordings - and was the first to use the pedal, which offered a greater resonance. As a composer, he introduced in Tango the romantic emotion, which until then was foreign to the genre. His personality had the same magnetism as his work - tells us, again, Cadícamo. He was always great and sweet to everybody. Even at the peak of his fame and his fortune, he never made display of it, always living modestly, having all that he and his family needed. He passed away at the age of 85, on June 14, 1969, being a living glory of Tango since a long time before. Read also: History of Tango – Part 1 History of Tango – Part 2 History of Tango - Part 3 History of Tango - Part 4 History of Tango - Part 5 History of Tango - Part 6 History of Tango - Part 7 Bibliography: Internet: Biography by Orlando del Greco By Néstor Pinzón By José María Otero Solo de piano por Roberto Firpo Primera grabación de La Cumparsita Todo Tango Movies: El cantor del pueblo La Historia del Tango Investigación Other: Botellas La revancha Botafogo vs Grey Fox Books: “Crónica general del tango”, José Gobello, Editorial Fraterna, 1980. “El tango”, Horacio Salas, Editorial Aguilar, 1996. “Historia del tango – La Guardia Vieja”, Rubén Pesce, Oscar del Priore, Silvestre Byron, Editorial Corregidor 1977. “El tango, el gaucho y Buenos Aires”, Carlos Troncaro, Editorial Argenta, 2009. SaveSave SaveSave SaveSave SaveSave SaveSave SaveSave SaveSave SaveSave SaveSave
  • Ricardo Tanturi. Argentine Tango music at Escuela de Tango de Buenos Aires
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    "La abandoné y no sabía" by Ricardo Tanturi y su Orquesta Típica with Enrique Campos, 1944.
    December 16, 2017
    José Canet Guitar player, leader, composer and lyricist (15 December 1915 - 10 March 1984) Canet is the prototype of the classic tango guitarist, always ready to back with his guitar a tango vocalist. His influences date back to the style of the players that accompanied Gardel, Magaldi and Corsini.
  • Juan D'Arienzo y su Orquesta Típica. Argentine Tango music at Escuela de tango de Buenos Aires.
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    "Loca" by Juan D'Arienzo y su Orquesta Típica, 1942.
    December 14, 2017
    In 1949 D'Arienzo said: «In my point of view, tango is, above all, rhythm, nerve, strength and character. Early tango, that of the old stream (guardia vieja), had all that, and we must try not to ever lose it. Because we forgot that, Argentine tango entered into a crisis some years ago.
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    "Mala junta" by Osvaldo Pugliese y su Orquesta Típica, 1943.
    December 11, 2017 Tango Day Is celebrated in Argentina on December 11. This date was chosen to commemorate the birthday of two men: Carlos Gardel, a prominent figure in the history of tango, and Julio de Caro, the orchestra conductor in the tango genre. We should thank composer Ben Molar for Establishment of National Tango Day. He came up with the idea that de Caro and Gardel were born on the same day, that is why he decided organize a special celebration. He presented his proposal to the Secretary of Culture of the Municipality in Buenos Aires, but he was refused. It took long 11 years and a final ultimatum to organize Tango Day and receive a coverage by mass media on his own. Finally it worked and Tango Day was organized in Buenos Aires on December 11, 1977. The same year the celebration of Tango Day was promoted to the national level. See also: Regular schedule. Our teaching philosophy and method. Frequently Asked Questions. About us. Contact us.
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    "Así se baila el Tango" by Ricardo Tanturi y su Orquesta Típica with Alberto Castillo, 1942.
    December 7, 2017
    Alberto Castillo Singer, actor, composer and lyricist (7 December 1914 - 23 July 2002) The very peculiar style of Alberto Castillo maybe has something to do with the mocking (humorous) grace of outskirts origin of Rosita Quiroga, Sofía Bozán or Tita Merello. But in no way these are influences; neither have they similarity among them nor Castillo resembles them. Simply, we could group them —and add them to the subsequent Elba Berón— because they are united by a common air, the same unpolished cadence.
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    "Farol" by Osvaldo Pugliese y su Orquesta Típica with Roberto Chanel, 1943.
    December 2, 2017
    Of the greatest importance was, when his orchestra finally recorded in 1943, the arrival of Roberto Chanel, tough singer, with nasal sound and compadrito style, who left 31 recordings.
  • Francisco Canaro. Argentine music. Escuela de Tango de Buenos Aires.
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    "El Chamuyo" by Francisco Canaro y su Orquesta Típica (1933)
    November 26, 2017
    Francisco Canaro, artistic name of Francisco Canaroso, was born in Uruguay in 1888. During his early childhood he moved with his family to Buenos Aires, where they rented a room in a “conventillo”, collective form of accommodation or housing in which several poor families shared a house, typically one family for each room using communal sanitary services. His family was very poor. Later, he would become one of the wealthiest people in Argentina, and a major contributor to the diffusion of Tango in Buenos Aires, the rest of Argentina and abroad.
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    Learn and Improve Tango - Lessons 11 to 13
    November 23, 2017
    These lessons focus on foot change, parallel and crossed systems, and ochos. For these videos, our music choice was some of the first instrumental recordings of the Orquesta Típica conducted by Carlos Di Sarli: "El Señor del Tango". Practice and enjoy it!     Try these exercises and please let us know if you have any questions. See also: Regular schedule. Our teaching philosophy and method. Frequently Asked Questions. About us. Contact us.
  • Argentine-Tango-classes-San-Francisco-Bay-Area-Marcelo-Solis
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    How to Tango
    November 18, 2017
    1- Let Tango call you, seduce you, charm you, bewitch you. “Tango you are an enchanter of those who listen to your sounds. Tango you attract hearts, with your sweet songs and your bandoneons.”
  • Susana Miller. Maestra milonguera.
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    Susana Miller & Diego Gutierrez
    November 6, 2017
    I got into tango because I needed to do something beautiful with my life, something fun, a little bit transgressor. I was alone, I had recently divorced, and having a tough time emotionally, and tango was a good option. So I began going to tango, to the academies, to the few that existed at that time. The teaching methods were very different. This was twenty years ago, therefore we did not have the difussion we have today. Many began with me those days, and some of us became professionals.
  • Alfredo De Angelis. Argentine music. Escuela de Tango de Buenos Aires.
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    "Pregonera" by Alfredo De Angelis y su Orquesta Típica, with Carlos Dante and Julio Martel (1945)
    November 3, 2017
    Alfredo De Angelis By Ricardo García Blaya After the mid-thirties, international music prevailed upon tango, to such an extent, that our more traditional tango orchestras included foxtrots, polkas, corridos, pasodobles, congas and rhumbas in its repertoire. Since Francisco Canaro, Francisco Lomuto and the Típica Victor until Julio De Caro and Osvaldo Fresedo, they alternated tangos with the most extravagant music.
  • Itunes music
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    "El Pescante" by Lucio Demare y su Orquesta Típica with Raúl Berón (1943)
    November 1, 2017 Homero Manzi By Julio Nudler Manzi has given, like no one else, poetry to tango lyrics. He was a poet who never published a book of poems. His poetry was evidenced only through songs, from country themes to urban music, the latter where he would be at his best. In this way he became immensely popular without giving up his poet feelings. He resorted to metaphors, even surrealist, but never so much as to prevent ordinary people from fully understanding his message. He never used lunfardo (Buenos Aires slang or argot) in his literary pieces, although his work was very much addressed to a popular audience. Unlike other great authors, his lyrics are not chronicles of the social reality nor do they convey moral messages. Longing and nostalgia are often present in his verses as in tango itself. Through them, Manzi depicts people and things with tenderness and sympathy. The poor -suburban- neighborhood is his great stage. His tango “Sur”, 1948, with music written by the bandoneon player Anibal Troilo, possibly the most superb work in the genre in that glamorous decade, summarizes the essence of his work. Homero Nicolás Manzione, as he was truly named, was born to an Uruguayan mother and Argentine father (as tango itself) in Añatuya, a railway junction in the Province of Santiago del Estero, a virtually desert province in the North East region of Argentina. There his father tried to make a living as a modest farm owner. At the age of 7, Homero had already moved to Buenos Aires to start his studies at Colegio Luppi, a school in the humble and distant Pompeya district. Each component in that landscape -from the long wall along which he walked on his way to school to the railway embankment, as if a magic combination of city and pampa- would be caught in his lyrics to come, such as those of “Barrio de tango” (1942) and “Sur”. Continue reading.
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    "Gricel" by Anibal Troilo y su Orquesta Típica with Francisco Fiorentino (1942)
    October 31, 2017
    A lyricist essentially poetic, sensitive and prolific, José María Contursi created a great number of hits. His huge work reveals a creator of even inspiration, careful and experienced though somewhat reiterative in his themes and only exceptionally original and truly daring.
  • Ricardo Viqueira, maestro milonguero. Escuela de Tango de Buenos Aires.
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    Ricardo Viqueira & Maria Plazaola
    October 14, 2017
    Is a "milonguero porteño" and his connection to tango has deep roots. In his teaching Ricardo emphasizes the close embrace style and the roles of the axis and connection. He teaches his students how to recognise opportunities to change direction, develop the ability to dance in small or crowded spaces, and to create their own personal dance.
  • Muma & Flaco Dany Garcia. Maestros milongueros. Escuela de Tango de Buenos Aires.
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    Muma & Flaco Dany
    October 13, 2017
    I came to know El Flaco Dany when the documentary Leyendas del tango danza was premiered, at the Marabú, not long ago, and his looks, the friendliness of his gestures and his charm attracted my attention: he seemed to be what in our neighborhood we would call a player. He is one of the dancers who are starred in a movie shot to pay homage to the great milongueros, produced by The Argentine Tango Society and made by Daniel Tonelli and Marcelo Turrisi.
  • Osvaldo y Coca Cartery. Maestros milongueros. Escuela de Tango de Buenos Aires.
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    Osvaldo & Coca Cartery
    October 12, 2017
    Osvaldo and Coca Cartery are incredible dancers. Osvaldo does lots and lots of very interesting steps that I haven’t seen anyone else do. I recently revisited the Tango and Chaos web site and read how Osvaldo Cartery’s dance style is probably the closest thing to the legendary dancer Petroleo's style in the milongas today.
  • Pocho y Nely. Maestros milongueros. Escuela de Tango de Buenos Aires.
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    Pocho y Nelly
    October 11, 2017
    Back in 1947, when he was 16, he practiced with other boys three or four times a week. Then he frequented the Club Patagones, on 200 Quilmes Street, but soon later he dared to step on the huge track of the Club Estados Unidos or of the Franja de Oro.
  • Alberto Dassieu. Maestro milonguero. Escuela de Tango de Buenos Aires.
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    Alberto Dassieu & Paulina Spinoso
    October 10, 2017
    He had a so porteño destiny that he was born in the year the Obelisk was inaugurated.
  • Myriam Pincen - Ricardo Vidort. Maestros milongueros. Escuela de Tango de Buenos Aires.
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    Myriam Pincen & Ricardo Vidort
    October 9, 2017
    "Life is a beautiful thing if you know how to live it. We all try to live it, but we (milongueros) live in a different way for what we feel."
  • Néstor La Vitola and Mónica. Maestros milongueros. Escuela de Tango de Buenos Aires.
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    Néstor La Vitola & Mónica Paz
    October 8, 2017
    Was born and raised in Buenos Aires. Tango has been her full time profession for 20 years. She is specifically involved in Tango Milonguero style, the “Real Milonguero” with chest-to-chest connection and the style she dances each week in the milongas with the best milongueros from Buenos Aires. She feels lucky to have had that experience especially with Carlos Gavito and Pedro “Tete” Rusconi. Nowadays, some of her partners at the milonga are “Chiche” Ruberto and Néstor La Vítola, among others.
  • Enriqueta Kleinman & Ruben Harymbat. Maestros milongueros. Escuela de Tango de Buenos Aires.
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    Enriqueta Kleinman & Ruben Harymbat
    October 7, 2017
    Was a milonguero from the golden era of tango. Ruben was born, bred and lived until his passing in the Buenos Aires barrio of Pompeya. He began dancing when he was 14 years old. In those days before professional teaching developed, he learned from his brothers and male cousins and friends.
  • Argentine Tango dance classes for beginners, intermediate and advanced level. Argentine Tango dance Private lessons. one to one Argentine dance lessons. Argentine Tango dance lessons for couples. Argentine Tango Milongas and workshops. San Francisco, Lafayette, Walnut Creek, Orinda, Danville, San Jose, Cupertino, Campbell, Mountain View, Sunnyvale, Milpitas. With Marcelo Solis at Escuela de Tango de Buenos Aires.
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    Blas Catrenau & Enriqueta Kleinman
    October 6, 2017
    He started dancing tango in his early youth among other young men at the practice studio of Crisol and Verné. Later he attended several carnival balls organized at local clubs such as San Lorenzo de Almagro. Since then he never stopped dancing and attending the most important clubs of his time, like Club Unidos de Pompeya, Club Huracán, Club Social y Sportivo Buenos Aires, Club Social Rivadavia, Palacio Rivadavia, Club Almagro, Chacarita, Premier, Editorial Haines, etc. In his youth he often danced at the main tango bars of Buenos Aires, such as Picadilly, Sans Souci, Montecarlo, and many more. At the early ‘90s, he started organizing “milongas” himself. From 2003 to 2009 he leaded “La Milongüita”, one of the most famous “milongas” in Buenos Aires.
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    "Dejame ser así" by Enrique Rodríguez y su Orquesta Típica with Roberto "Chato" Flores (1938)
    October 5, 2017
    Listen to "Dejame ser así" by Enrique Rodríguez y su Orquesta Típica with Roberto "Chato" Flores in vocals (1938):í-Tango.m4a "Dejame que te quiera a mi manera, Dejame seguir siendo como soy, Que no se pone en moldes el cariño Ni se le pone riendas al corazón. Yo soy como los cardos del potrero Curtido por los vientos, lluvia y sol, Pero también, capaces de dar flores Dejame seguir siendo como soy. Si soy triste por algo Y si canto un dolor, No será por capricho Ni será por rencor. Si hay en mí un algo raro Que no alcanzo a explicar, Pero por favor, No me reprochés Que son cosas de ayer." Let me love you my way, Let me remain as I am, We can neither put a cast to the affection Nor reins to the heart. I am like the thistles of the paddock Tanned by the winds, rain and sun, But also, able to produce flowers Let me remain as I am. If I'm sad about something And if I sing a pain, It will not be on a whim Nor will it be out of spite. If there is something strange about me That I can not explain, But please, Do not reproach me That are yesterday's things. Lyrics: Francisco Gorrindo Music: Enrique Rodríguez See also: Regular schedule. Our teaching philosophy and method. Frequently Asked Questions. About us. Contact us. SaveSave
  • Anibal Troilo. Argentine Tango music at Escuela de Tango de Buenos Aires.
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    "Pa' que bailen los muchachos" by Anibal Troilo y su Orquesta Típica, with Francisco Fiorentino (1942)
    October 2, 2017
    To make you dance, my friends I will play you, bandoneon. Life is a milonga!
  • Carlos Acuña. Argentine music at Escuela de Tango de Buenos Aires
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    "Canción de rango (Pa' que se callen)" by Rodolfo Biagi y su Orquesta Típica with Carlos Acuña (1943)
    October 1, 2017
    Let those who come to dance, dance; listen, those who want to listen. For all there is a rhythmic tango, pretentious and indomitable reigning in my city.
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    "Danza maligna" by Enrique Rodríguez y su Orquesta Típica with Armando Moreno (1940)
    September 30, 2017
    Listen to "Danza maligna" by Enrique Rodríguez y su Orquesta Típica with Armando Moreno in vocals (1940): "Se arrastran los compases compadrones del tango que se encoge, que se estira... Su música doliente pareciera sentir que una amenaza se aproxima. Viviremos los dos el cuarto de hora de la danza nostálgica y maligna. Escuchemos latir los corazones bajo el numen de Venus Afrodita. Placer de dioses, baile perverso, el tango es rito y es religión; orquestas criollas son sus altares y el sacerdote, su bandoneón. Quiero sentirme aprisionado como en la cárcel de mi dolor, guarda silencio, mitad de mi alma que hay un secreto entre los dos. Se arrastran los compases compadrones del tango que se adueña de las fibras. El juego de tus rulos en mis sienes será la extremaunción de mi agonía. Te invito a penetrar en este templo donde todo el amor lo purifica. ¡Viviremos los dos el cuarto de hora de la danza nostálgica y maligna!" "Courageous compass measures are dragged of the tango that shrinks and stretches ... His suffering music would seem feel that a threat is coming. We will both live the quarter of an hour of the nostalgic and malignant dance. Let's hear the hearts beat under the number of Venus Aphrodite. Pleasure of the gods, perverse dancing, tango is a rite and is religion; Criollas orchestras are their altars and the priest, his bandoneon. I want to feel trapped as in the prison of my pain, keep silent, half my soul that there is a secret between the two. Courageous compass measures are dragged of the tango that takes over the fibers. The game of your curlers in my temples it will be the extreme unction of my agony. I invite you to penetrate this temple where love purifies it all. We will both live the quarter of an hour of nostalgic and evil dance!" Music: Fernando Randle Lyrics: Claudio Frollo See also: Regular schedule. Our teaching philosophy and method. Frequently Asked Questions. About us. Contact us. SaveSave
  • Ricardo Tanturi y Enrique Campos. Argentine music at Escuela de Tango de Buenos Aires.
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    "Una emoción" by Ricardo Tanturi y su Orquesta Típica with Enrique Campos (1943)
    September 29, 2017
    "Come and see what I bring in this union of notes and words, it's the song that inspired me the evocation that cradled me last night...
  • Héctor Mauré. Argentine Tango music at Escuela de Tango de Buenos Aires. We teach you to dance.
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    "Tango Brujo" by Juan D'Arienzo y su Orquesta Típica with Héctor Mauré (1943)
    September 29, 2017
    “Tango que sos un encanto De quien escucha tus sones, Tango que atraes corazones, Con tus dulces cantos Y tus bandoneones."
  • Anibal Troilo and Francisco Fiorentino. Argentine tango music.
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    "Orquestas de mi ciudad" by Anibal Troilo y su Orquesta Típica, with Francisco Fiorentino (1943)
    September 24, 2017
    Fiorentino was, no doubt, the archetype of the orchestra singer, a concept which synthetically describes the main feature of tango in the 40s, when the singer was a member of the group on the same level as the musicians. Fiorentino and Troilo achieved a well-oiled mechanism, of a perfect match where the orchestra was spotlighted in a long introduction to afterwards provide the adequate background necessary for the singer´s showcasing.
  • Alberto Podestá. Argentine tango music at Escuela de Tango de Buenos Aires. Collection Marcelo Solis.
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    "Alma de bohemio" by Pedro Laurenz y su Orquesta Típica with Alberto Podestá in vocals, 1943.
    September 22, 2017
    Alberto Podestá Singer and composer (22 September 1924 - 9 December 2015) The appointment was at one of the venues where the figures that work in Buenos Aires by night are accustomed to meet: El Tío Felipe. There the charming talk of its thoroughly Italian owner makes even more pleasant the dialogue with an artist of our city song tradition in vogue since the 40s up to the present. For over half a century he has been in the crest of the wave, where he knew how to keep his balance, in spite of the waves and the tides that our tango music underwent during that period.
  • Itunes music
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    "El 13" by Adolfo Carabelli y su Orquesta Típica with Alberto Gómez, 1932.
    September 8, 2017
    Adolfo Carabelli Pianist, composer and leader (8 September 1893 - 25 January 1947) The real amplitude of Carabelli's capacity is evidenced as from 1926 when Victor hired him as artistic director of the label, and at the same time commissioned him to form an orchestra which would play either jazz or tango music. Thanks to Carabelli, since then the Victor staff reached a higher hierarchy, achieving the inclusion of notable musicians and choosing an attractive repertoire. Similarly, the development of the orthophonic recordings reached an unexpected sound quality just a few months before.
  • Juan Carlos Godoy. Argentine music. Escuela de Tango de Buenos Aires.
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    "Entre tu amor y mi amor" by Alfredo De Ángelis with Juan Carlos Godoy, 1959.
    August 21, 2017
    Juan Carlos Godoy (21 August 1922 - 12 February 2016) n the city of Campana, where «the soft water was fresher than the river», my friend interviewed today was born. By Roberto Mancini There’s a gate through which memories go back home and through that open door represented by Juan Carlos’s heart I step into his life, asking him to tell me things. Those things that are said when you are drinking mate in the shade of an old plantation and which we guess may appeal to the public who are the indisputable addressees of our songs.
  • Ernesto Fama. Argentine music at Escuela de Tango de Buenos Aires.
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    "El llorón" by Francisco Canaro y su Orquesta Típica, with Ernesto Famá, 1941.
    August 18, 2017
    Ernesto Famá Singer and composer (18 August 1908 - 19 July 1984) By Néstor Pinsón Famá was born in Buenos Aires in the neighborhood of San Cristóbal. He left more than three hundred recordings as vocalist and he can be regarded, even though he was not the first one, as the estribillista (refrain singer) par excellence. Out of that great number of recordings there are no more than twenty on which he sang the lyrics in full form.
  • Miguel Bucino. Escuela de Tango de Buenos Aires. Argentine music.
    + TANGO +
    "Bailarín compadrito" by Alfredo De Ángelis y su Orquesta Típica, 1953
    August 14, 2017 Miguel Bucino Bandoneonist, dancer, lyricist and composer (14 August 1905 - 15 December 1973) He played the bandoneón and had not yet turned 18 when he joined, in 1923, Francisco Canaro's orchestra, who, after four or five performances, dismissed it as bad, inducing him to dance because he had the natural vocation to it. You need to reach the goal of what is proposed by every being that wants to achieve it. About Miguel Bucino, click here. SaveSave
  • Jorge Vidal. Argentine Tango music at Escuela de Tango de Buenos Aires. Marcelo Solis collection
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    "Puente Alsina" by Osvaldo Pugliese y su Orquesta Típica with Jorge Vidal, 1949
    August 12, 2017
    Listen to "Puente Alsina" by Osvaldo Pugliese y su Orquesta Típica with Jorge Vidal, 1949: Jorge Vidal Singer and composer (12 August 1924 - 14 September 2010) n the daily language that men use it is possible to find hints that mark some of their facets. That day of 1992 when I met with El Negro Jorge Vidal in his office, the first thing that he told me was: «Wait a minute that I have to go to the viorsi (toilet). And with this single word that is already out of fashion, even in old lunfardo, the guy was sketching his own portrait. When he returned he touched my shoulder: “Yes, brother, tell me...” And he sat down to please all my questions. «From an early age I had a clear position towards life, concerning social and political matters. And I was very lucky, God was always on my side. There were many bitter times, characteristic of the humans, but I was putting them in a corner». And he finished his introduction with this hard sentence, without concessions, easy to express, but not so easy to take into practice: «Man should always have the interest to continue ahead and to keep on fighting. When he loses his capacity of astonishment, when there is nothing that may draw his attention, when he no longer has an interest that allows him to keep on living with enthusiasm and he doesn't have strength to improve, well, he'd better kill himself. «I was born in the neighborhood of Caballito... Continue reading.
  • Argentine Tango music at Escuela de Tango de Buenos Aires
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    "El Pollo Ricardo" by Carlos Di Sarli y su Orquesta Típica, 1946
    August 11, 2017
    In September 1940 the Carlos Di Sarli Orchestra recorded, for the first time (he will record it again two more times), this tango to great public acclaim. The orchestra leader liked this piece so much that he cut it on three occasions: in September 1940, in March 1946 and in July 1951. In the latter case, on the new 33 RPM discs for the Music Hall company which only had two tracks per side. This fashion lasted in the label at least until 1954. Furthermore, Di Sarli opened this new format in Argentina.
  • Lucio Demare. Argentine music. Escuela de Tango de Buenos Aires.
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    "Tal vez será su voz" by Lucio Demare y su Orquesta Típica with Raúl Berón, 1943.
    August 9, 2017
    Lucio Demare Pianist, composer, arranger and leader (9 August 1906 - 6 March 1974) By Horacio Ferrer An innate faculty for musical invention and a delicate creative temper identified, from the very beginning, the characteristics of his oeuvre. Involved, by reasons of intimate aesthetic affinity with the Romantic school that was born with the tangos written by Cobián and Delfino, he shared with the latter and with Francisco De Caro, Carlos Vicente Geroni Flores, and with Julio De Caro’s style, when he composed pieces like “Copacabana (Nido de amor)”, and with the Agustín Bardi of “Nunca tuvo novio”, a front line of romantic songs of first class released between 1915 and 1935, a period of height of this formal and moody variety of tango.
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    Learn and improve Tango - Lessons 7 to 10
    August 4, 2017
    These lessons focus on pivots and ochos. Practice and enjoy it! Try these exercises and please let us know if you have any questions. See also: Regular schedule. Our teaching philosophy and method. Frequently Asked Questions. About us. Contact us.
  • Celedonio Flores. Argentine Tango music. Escuela de Tango de Buenos Aires. Learn to dance.
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    "Muchacho" by Ángel D'Agostino y su Orquesta Típica with Ángel Vargas
    August 3, 2017
    Born in Buenos Aires, at Villa Crespo neighborhood, the place where native and immigrants of various origins co-existed. His childhood and adolescence were spent amid such popular environment until he became, in the 20s, a very famous poet and lyric composer. His tangos, many times full of condemn, moral reflections and master descriptions of his characters, very much resorted to the lunfardo, the local argot/slang. Like other famous lyricists composers, Flores was both an educated and popular poet.
  • Marcelo-Solis-Argentine Tango dance classes for beginners, intermediate and advanced level. Argentine Tango dance Private lessons. one to one Argentine dance lessons. Argentine Tango dance lessons for couples. Argentine Tango Milongas and workshops.
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    Why Tango?
    July 24, 2017
    I do not want to idealize the “natural man”, but our civilization took away the graceful walk of an elegant hunter-gatherer, leaving us instead the limping of a wounded beast.
  • Itunes music
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    "Malena" by Lucio Demare y su Orquesta Típica, with Juan Carlos Miranda in vocals (1942)
    July 23, 2017
    Juan Carlos Miranda Real name: Sciorra, Rafael Miguel. Singer (23 July 1917 - 8 July 1999) By Néstor Pinsón It was 1991, somebody introduced him to me and time later I saw him again. It was in his working place, at the Escuela Técnica (Technical School), a branch of the Army located on Cabildo Avenue. There he worked as barber. Several generations of soldiers and non-commissioned officers had known about his scissors.A few years before he still sang in the neighborhood of La Paternal in an old club located on Fragata Sarmiento Street and San Martín Avenue when his retirement was near.Some of his photographs, taken in the forties, had nothing to do with the present time. The features of that young handsome boy had completely disappeared.
  • PUPI CASTELLO Y GRACIELA GOZALEZ. Maestros milongueros. Escuela de Tango de buenos Aires.
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    Puppy Castello dancing with Graciela Gonzalez (1999)
    July 21, 2017
    He is one of those men who, when they step on the track dancing sharply, go on being so witty and funny just like five minutes before, when they were sprinkling the dancers with hilarious epithets from a nearby table.
  • Osvaldo Pugliese. Argentine Tango music from Marcelo Solis collection. Escuela de Tango de Buenos Aires.
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    "A los amigos" by Osvaldo Pugliese y su Orquesta Típica (1960)
    July 20, 2017 Osvaldo Pugliese Pianist, leader, composer. (2 December 1905 - 25 July 1995) By Néstor Pinsón His father, Adolfo, worker in the shoe industry, as an amateur flutist he played in quartets which dug tango in vicinity. Two elder brothers played the violin: Adolfo Salvador Vicente (Fito) and Alberto Roque, the latter was more involved than the former and was linked to music for several years. It was his father who taught him his first music lessons, he started his first steps with violin too, but soon he switched to piano, although it took don Adolfo a certain time to buy the expensive instrument. After being trained at Conservatories nearby, at fifteen he started professionally at the Café de La Chancha, so called by the customers in allusion to the lack of hygiene of the owner. Sometime later, then at a known café in downtown Buenos Aires, he took part in the group of the first female bandoneonist in tango, Paquita Bernardo. Going on with his career, Osvaldo entered Enrique Pollet quartet, later he played in the famous Roberto Firpo orchestra, and in 1927 he was pianist in the great bandoneonist Pedro Maffia's orchestra. He together with the violinist Elvino Vardaro left it to form a group under their name which we know was avant-garde for the time, but it has not left recordings. Vardaro-Pugliese had their debut at the café Nacional, to engage in a long tour across the country. They were accompanied by the poet Eduardo Moreno, as manager and Malena de Toledo, as female singer after Moreno's suggestion. Moreno was the lyricist of “Recuerdo”, the most successful tango composed by Pugliese. Continue reading. SaveSave
  • Argentine Tango dance classes for beginners, intermediate and advanced level. Argentine Tango dance Private lessons. one to one Argentine dance lessons. Argentine Tango dance lessons for couples. Argentine Tango Milongas and workshops. San Francisco, Lafayette, Walnut Creek, Orinda, Danville, San Jose, Cupertino, Campbell, Mountain View, Sunnyvale, Milpitas. With Marcelo Solis at Escuela de Tango de Buenos Aires.
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    Milongueando in Buenos Aires
    July 19, 2017
    …there is world in which being friendly does not mean being agreeable nor disrespectful of differences, but rather encouraging the individual pursuit of excellence, a road and a goal that is accessible only to you, since we are all different by nature. In this world we learn by imitating, knowing that it will be impossible to be like those we imitate, since they already prevented us that it is not only impossible, but unethical. In this world we need to develop our own interpretation of beauty and demonstrate that it fits the community by concretely putting it into practice, in concrete actions.
  • Sebastián Piana. Argentine music at Escuela de Tango de Buenos Aires
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    "Tango (Voz De Tango)" by Ricardo Tanturi y su Orquesta Típica with Alberto Castillo in vocals (1942)
    July 17, 2017
    Sebastián Piana Pianist, leader and composer (26 November 1903 - 17 July 1994) By Horacio Ferrer Among the artists of a very long career in our popular music he had stood out by the hierarchy and the sustained inventiveness of his oeuvre as composer of amazing classics: it will suffice mentioning “Sobre el pucho”, “El pescante”, “Arco iris”, “Tinta roja” and “Milonga triste” to immediately appraise his talent, his heart of Buenos Aires man and the noble guarantee of his inspiration.
  • Argentine Tango music at Escuela de Tango de Buenos Aires
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    "Un lamento" by Carlos Di Sarli y su Orquesta Típica (1942)
    July 16, 2017
    This porteño was initially guitarist. His friend, Eduardo Arolas, persuaded him to pick up bandoneon. He had two brothers that were musicians, Pascual who was pianist and Nicolás, guitarist. He lived for a long time on Tacuarí 1870 and his whereabouts were the neighborhood of Barracas and Parque Lezama.
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    "Corazón de papel" by Miguel Caló y su Orquesta Típica and Roberto Arrieta in vocals (1948)
    July 14, 2017
    Listen to "Corazón de papel" by Miguel Caló y su Orquesta Típica and Roberto Arrieta in vocals (1948):ón-De-Papel.m4a Alberto Franco Lyricist (14 July 1903 - 14 August 1981) By Orlando del Greco He wrote  the lyrics of the tango "Corazón de papel", with music by Cátulo Castillo, recorded by Carlos Gardel. On this matter he stated: "The tango 'Corazón de papel' was something simply accidental. I was in the house of Don Jose Gonzalez Castillo, the great man and illustrious playwright, with whose children, Cátulo and Gema, I joined a cordial friendship. It was about 1929, one Saturday, Gardel appeared and  snapped us: "Why do not you write a tango and give it to me?" "Cátulo and I looked at each other and agreed to do it right away. I sat down and wrote the lyrics (I am not unaware that it is very poor, but the music of Cátulo saves it). The next day we gave it to Gardel who immediately recorded it." Continue reading. See also: Regular schedule. Our teaching philosophy and method. Frequently Asked Questions. About us. Contact us.
  • Anibal Troilo. Escuela de Tango de Buenos Aires. Argentine music.
    + TANGO +
    "Toda mi vida" by Aníbal Troilo y su Orquesta Típica and Francisco Fiorentino in vocals (1941)
    July 11, 2017
    He was one of those few artists who made us wonder what mystery, what magic produced such a rapport with people. As a bandoneon player, he was neither a stylist like Pedro Maffia, nor a virtuoso like Carlos Marcucci, nor a multiple creator like Pedro Laurenz, nor a phrasing player like Ciriaco Ortiz. But he had something of them all and he was, precisely, a master of personality and feeling in his expression.
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    "Don Juan", by Juan D'Arienzo y su Orquesta Típica (1936)
    July 10, 2017
    A porteño, born in that neighborhood called Tierra del Fuego (located between the demolished Penitentiary and La Recoleta). His father, Antonio Ponzio, like a good Neapolitan, was a musician.
  • 9 de julio. Argentine music at Escuela de Tango de Buenos Aires.
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    "Nueve de Julio" by Juan D'Arienzo y su Orquesta Típica (1935)
    July 9, 2017
    This musician son of immigrants, born in the northern province of Tucumán, delved into tango and folk music. His father was Italian, he transferred to him his inclination for music. As a child he played harmonica and guitar. Unfortunately he became an orphan at age 12 and he didn't have the support of his mother. About her very little is known. For that reason, being still very young, he went out to the streets to work for his living.
  • Enrique Cadícamo. Argentine Tango music at Escuela de Tango de Buenos Aires. Learn too dance.
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    "Ave de paso", by Ángel D'Agostino y su Orquesta Típica with Ángel Vargas (1945)
    July 7, 2017
    «I don't agree at all with the so-called avant-garde of tango. Vanguard is what first falls in a line of fire. In a combat a vanguard is the part of an army which goes ahead of the main body. In tango there is something similar. The vanguard of tango is the first thing that falls before the indifference of all those who know what tango is.
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    "El viejo vals", by Charlo and guitars.
    July 6, 2017
    Listen to "El viejo vals", by Charlo and guitars. Charlo Real name: Pérez, Carlos José Singer, musician, pianist, actor and composer. (7 July 1906 - 30 October 1990) By Julio Nudler After Carlos Gardel, Charlo is the most important singer in tango, although, unlike him he did not become a popular myth. He was the vocalist who recorded most, in a discographic career started in 1925 and ended in 1967. However, the main part of his recordings are concentrated in only four years, from 1928 to 1931. In most of those renditions he reaches a level comparable to Gardel's. Like him, he was responsible for establishing an emotional style though austere and without exaggerations, of perfect intonation and attentive musicianship. As composer he displayed his great melodic talent, giving birth to important pieces in tango romanza style. Continue reading, click here. See also: Regular schedule. Our teaching philosophy and method. Frequently Asked Questions. About us. Contact us.
  • Oscar Larroca. Argentine music. Escuela de Tango de Buenos Aires.
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    "Volvamos a empezar", by Alfredo De Ángelis y su Orquesta Típica with Oscar Larroca, 1953.
    July 5, 2017
    Oscar Larroca Singer 5 July 1922 - 26 August 1976 By Abel Palermo With the name Oscar Antonio Moretta, the one who would be the great singer Oscar Larroca was born in the neighborhood of Almagro. He was son of Nicolás Moretta and Elsa Bugarelli. His father, a guitar strummer and gauchesque singer, that stood out in the coteries of the period, would encourage his son Oscar’s vocation.
  • Juan D'Arienzo. Argentine music at Escuela de Tango de Buenos Aires.
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    Juan D'Arienzo recorded "Desde el Alma" and "Hotel Victoria" on July 2, 1935.
    July 4, 2017
    In 1936, Juan D'Arienzo successfully appeared in the disputable territory of popularity. He was just 35 years old, one less than Julio De Caro —stylistically placed on the other end of the musical horizon of tango—
  • El Entrerriano. Rosendo Mendizabal. Argentine music at Escuela de Tango de Buenos Aires.
    + TANGO +
    "El Entrerriano" of Rosendo Mendizábal, by Juan D'Arienzo y su Orquesta Típica, recorded in 1946.
    June 30, 2017
    In 1897 Anselmo Rosendo Mendizábal —that signed his tangos as "A. Rosendo"— used to play in the evenings at the “little house” run by María Rangolla, "La Vasca". Those were hard days; the biggest portion of the money the musicians got were generous tips, but for that they had to dedicate some composition to an occasional donor. That, precisely, was the case of the tango that Mendizábal played for the first time on the piano of “La Vasca” on October 25 that year.
  • Ricardo Malerba and Orlando Medina. Argentine music at Escuela de Tango de Buenos Aires.
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    "Embrujamiento" by Ricardo Malerba y su Orquesta Típica vocals by Orlando Medina, 1943.
    June 29, 2017ípica-vocals-by-Orlando-Medina-1943.mp3 Ricardo Malerba Bandoneonist, leader and composer (24 August 1905 - 29 June 1974) He was lucky to live, in his beginnings, in the tango ambience of the late twenties, to travel to Europe and take part of a bohemia that shaped him artistically. His orchestra was known either for the quality of its sound or the swinging attributes of its rhythm. He started gigging with a group lined-up with his brothers, the bandoneon was played by Ricardo, on piano was Alfredo and on violin, Carlos. Their stints were at cinema theaters in the local neighborhoods. They earned one peso a day. Later, in 1927, along with his brothers he joined the orchestra that Cátulo Castillo put together to go to Europe. Miguel Caló and Roberto Maida were as well members of it. They stayed in Spain for a long period and gigged in numerous cities. There they recorded several records for the Odeon label. The tour ended in 1930, but the Malerba brothers stayed in Europe. Continue reading. Ricardo Malerba and his orchestra appeared on the movie "La vida de Carlos Gardel" (1939), in which Hugo del Carril and Delia Garcés were starred, performing the tango piece “Noches de Montmartre” (start at 1:11:50). SaveSave
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    "Vida querida" by Osvaldo Fresedo y su Orquesta Típica, vocals by Ricardo Ruiz.
    June 28, 2017 Juan Carlos Thorry By Juan Carlos Thorry My relationship with tango is old, intimate and sentimental. I was a young kid and then my old man, who used to play guitar, taught me some accompaniments (dominant and tonic chords) with which I began my early «two-four» songs. Which melody would I have learned first? I remember, through the distant time, the counter line of “La cumparsita (Si supieras)”, the one that says: «Si supieras, que aún dentro de mi alma...» And then, years later, «Buenos Aires, la reina del Plata...», or «Rechiflao en mi tristeza...», when I became acquainted with Carlos Gardel. My first long trousers, the end of my high school studies and the time when I entered the university are very closely linked to my early experiences at dancehalls. We used to go to dance to the venues called then cabarets, which later became boites and thereafter night-clubs and now are boliches. There we held a contest of twists and turns dancing with the best players of the period: Aníbal Troilo, Juan D'Arienzo, Osvaldo Fresedo, Osvaldo Pugliese, Edgardo Donato, Alfredo De Angelis, etc. They caressed our adolescent dreams with the most popular melodies of the time. Continue reading.
  • Fernando Montoni. Argentine music. Escuela de Tango de Buenos Aires.
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    "Carro viejo" by Alfredo De Ángelis y su Orquesta Típica, vocals by Julio Martel, 1949.
    June 27, 2017
    Fernando Montoni Real name: Montoni, Fernando José Juan Nicknames: Jorge Raúl Ramírez Bandoneonist and composer (27 June 1903 - n/d). Buenos Aires. By Néstor Pinsón In his beginnings he attracted the public attention because of his mastery in guitar playing, with a thorough command of its intricate technique.
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    "La Chiflada" by Ángel D'Agostino y su Orquesta Típica (1942)
    June 26, 2017
    Listen to "La Chiflada" by Ángel D'Agostino y su Orquesta Típica, 1942: Juan Carlos Bazán By Néstor Pinsón Stout, rather fat, and a good guy is the description with which those who knew him and gave us their testimony coincided. Héctor Lucci tells us that in his youth, a waiter of a Japanese barroom located on 25 de Mayo Street a few meters from Corrientes, had told him that on several occasions he had seen that on the corner of the street people used to crowd together to listen to some music. Eager to know, one day he went closer and, in the middle of that occasional audience, he saw Fats Bazán playing a long brass trumpet from which a cloth banner with golden letters was hanging. It was the advertisement of Kalisay, an aperitif of that time, which included the classic boy doll with large head that represented an old man... Continue reading. Here you can see Juan Carlos Bazán playing his clarinet, next to his life long friend “El Pibe” Ernesto Ponzio, and "El Cachafaz" and Carmencita Calderón dancing, in this scene from the first sound film made in Argentina, “Tango!”, of 1933. From "History of Tango – Part 3: La Guardia Vieja"and "History of Tango – Part 8: Roberto Firpo and the acceptance of the piano in the Orquesta Típica" (read more, click here). See also: Regular schedule. Our teaching philosophy and method. Frequently Asked Questions page. About us. Contact us. SaveSave
  • Argentine Tango dance classes for beginners, intermediate and advanced level. Argentine Tango dance Private lessons. one to one Argentine dance lessons. Argentine Tango dance lessons for couples. Argentine Tango Milongas and workshops. San Francisco, Lafayette, Walnut Creek, Orinda, Danville, San Jose, Cupertino, Campbell, Mountain View, Sunnyvale, Milpitas.
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    Tango is Life
    June 12, 2017
    Dancing Tango is not only about you and you-and-your-partner. It is also a social event and a culture. It involves more than two: those present at the milonga (tango dance party) in which you assist, and also all those who are intimately related to Tango, at your present time, in the past and in the future (other dancers, the composers of the songs that you dance to, the musicians who recorded the songs, all the people who were passionate about Tango throughout the history of this manifestation of our very unique nature as humans, and those, in the future, who will inherit it after us).
  • Marcelo Solis - Escuela de Tango de Buenos Aires.
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    What is Tango?
    June 12, 2017
    “Tango is Life”. What does this sentence mean? It suggests that those who do not tango don’t know what life is. Can such a radical thought make sense? Ask anyone who is involved in Tango, passionately, which is the only way to be involved in it, and that will be the answer. This attitude in relation to Tango is rooted in the fact that Tango gives you fulfillment, opening you up to the possibility of making your life a work of Art.
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    “Jamás retornarás” Miguel Caló y su Orquesta Típica, piano Osmar Maderna and with Raúl Berón singing
    June 8, 2017
    When she said goodbye, I wanted to cry … Then without her love, I wanted to scream … All the daydreams dwelling in my heart (all I dreamt of), fell to pieces.
  • Best milongas
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    "La vida es una milonga" by Pedro Laurenz y su Orquesta Típica with Martín Podestá in vocals (1941)
    June 8, 2017
    "Life is a milonga" Everyone is waiting Improve their situation, All live sighing Rightly or wrongly."
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    Learn and Improve Tango - Lessons 1 to 6
    June 5, 2017
    Here some videos to review the exercises made in class.
  • Argentine Tango classes with Marcelo Solis at Escuela de Tango de Buenos Aires. San Francisco Bay Area.
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    Why do I dance Tango?
    May 2, 2017
    * This is a response I gave to this question in a survey: I am alive, and I know it. I feel life, and I am aware of being here and now. How long is “now” going to last?
  • Argentine Tango dance classes for beginners, intermediate and advanced level. Argentine Tango dance Private lessons. one to one Argentine dance lessons. Argentine Tango dance lessons for couples. Argentine Tango Milongas and workshops. San Francisco, Lafayette, Walnut Creek, Orinda, Danville, San Jose, Cupertino, Campbell, Mountain View, Sunnyvale, Milpitas. With Marcelo Solis at Escuela de Tango de Buenos Aires.
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    Tango is a social and partner's dance
    January 11, 2017
    Tango is a social and partner dance that originated in the city of Buenos Aires, where, together with its music, poetry and culture, the population consider it their identity.
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    History of Tango - Part 7: Origins of the Orquesta Típica - Francisco Canaro
    August 2, 2016
    We would like to tell you about the early life of Francisco Canaro. According to Tango historian Orlando Del Greco “In this name, all the Tango is summarized”. Francisco Canaro, artistic name of Francisco Canaroso, was born in Uruguay in 1888. During his early childhood he moved with his family to Buenos Aires, where they rented a room in a “conventillo”, collective form of accommodation or housing in which several poor families shared a house, typically one family for each room using communal sanitary services. His family was very poor. Later, he would become one of the wealthiest people in Argentina, and a major contributor to the diffusion of Tango in Buenos Aires, the rest of Argentina and abroad. He went on to be very involved in the struggle for musicians and composers rights, making it possible to make a living for musicians and generating incentives for them to improve and be creative. His life runs parallel to the history of Tango: starting in the poorest neighborhoods of Buenos Aires, moving up the social ladder, eventually achieving world wide recognition. Not long after Canaro and his family arrived in Buenos Aires, a smallpox epidemic broke out. Three of his siblings got sick, causing one of them to die. To avoid contracting smallpox, Francisco and his remaining siblings had to sleep outside his family’s one-room home. They decided that they needed to do something to help, and without telling his parents, Francisco, Rafael and Luis went to sell newspapers in the streets. They would beg in the streets to get some money to buy newspapers at 5 cents, to sell them at 8 cents. They found a corner that seemed well suited for the enterprise, at Entre Rios and San Juan streets, but they soon discovered the corner was already the post of two other brothers. A conflict soon developed into a fight that ended with all of them at the police station. There they settled on an arrangement to share that corner and a new post with the other siblings. Francisco also worked as shoeshine boy in the afternoons, after selling newspapers in the mornings. Later Canaro and his family moved to a “conventillo” at Sarandí 1358, occupying Room 31, where one of his neighbors was Vicente Greco. In modern day Buenos Aires, the freeway from the Ezeiza Airport to the downtown area passes over the former location of this “conventillo”. When he and his family moved, Francisco got a job in a workshop manufacturing oil cans. His passion for music began in his childhood. He had a good voice and would be a soloist during the comparsas de carnaval (Carnival Parades). Later, a neighbor in the “conventillo”, taught him to play the guitar, and soon he started playing with other kids in the neighborhood parties. He also learned how to play the mandolin, but his dream was to play the violin. Not being able to afford one, he made his own using an oil can and a wooden board. In his memoirs, Francisco tells us about his childhood and what he and the other kids in the neighborhood liked to do. Going to the circus was a favorite, but they did not have money. Part of the fun was to try to get in without paying and to avoid getting caught by the workers and guards. They also played games in the street called “rayuela”, “villarda”, “Cachurra monta la burra”, and “vigilantes y ladrones”. Also, there were stone throwing wars between the kids of Sarandí Street and Rincón Street. He also confessed to “diabluras” with other kids, breaking the glass of the street kerosene lamps using their sling shots. He learned the painter's craft, and worked on the final stages of the Congress Building, together with another tango musician and composer: Augusto P. Berto. At this time, he got enough money to buy a violin in a pawn shop. He decided that he wanted music to be his profession, formed a trio, and went to play in a brothel in the town of “Ranchos”, eighty miles south of Buenos Aires, in 1906. It was a very tough place, where the regulars were men that went to prison at some moment of their lives. One night an argument between the police guarding the door and two drunk men ended in gunshots and two police dead. The trio was placed on a very precarious balcony near the entrance, and one of the gunshots perforated the floor of the balcony, luckily not injuring Canaro or his colleagues. The musicians, fearing harm or even death if they continued working in such conditions, demanded that the owner of the brothel terminate their contract, but the owner convinced them to stay by shielding the balcony with sheets of iron. At this time, Canaro, who was very dedicated to his study of music, decided to take lessons with a local music teacher. Then the trio continued to Guaminí, a town 300 miles southwest of Buenos Aires, on the border with the province of La Pampa. There they found work in a “casa de baile” (literally a dance hall, but more likely a brothel masked as a dance hall) called “El colorado”. The owner did not hire them, but allowed them to put out a plate and ask the dancers to pay ten cents for each song they danced, which they paid at the end of the round, one, two or more songs. However, there was one guy, nicknamed “Firulete,” who would always find his way out of the place without paying. He was fond of showing off, and his gang of friends would often shout “Solo!” to demand everyone clear the dance floor to allow “Firulete” to display his dance skills. Canaro and his colleagues got more and more annoyed by this over time, until one night they confronted him and demanded payment. “Firulete” reacted dramatically as though they had insulted him and waited outside with two of his gang members to provoke them to fight, which led to fist fights and gunshots. By the time the police arrived, they only found the musicians, since the others were locals and knew the town well and how to sneak away quickly. The musicians ended up in jail for creating unrest, and they were forced to sleep on the cold ground with no blankets for many nights. Their only reprieve was a police escort to play at “El colorado”, a “privilege” granted to them thanks to the friendship between the sheriff and the owner of “El colorado.” After a while, they were released from jail, assisted by the mediation of a “compadre” from the area, who became friends with the musicians during their stay in Guaminí. A consolation for Canaro was hearing that “Firulete” was eventually caught, and submitted to the standard treatment sheriffs gave to “compadritos”, which consisted of cutting their hair short and removing the “taquito militar” (heels) from his shoes. Also during Canaro’s time spent in Guaminí, he met Pacho. A friendship that lasted until Pacho’s death, in 1934. Pacho came to Guaminí with his orchestra to play at the other “casa de baile” of the town, called “El verde”. In Canaro's memoirs, he remembers the owner of “El verde” who was a large, elderly woman who was very beautiful in her youth, and very extravagant in her apparel. To attend and watch over the business, she used to place herself in a kind of pulpit where she could dominate the scene. She wore lots of jewelry, and placed a diadem on her head that gave her the look of a queen. Often she organized gala nights and demanded women working for the house dress in green colors, but to avoid uniformity. On those special nights she wore even more jewelry, creating a strong contrast between herself and her clientele. These parties were very famous during that time. Canaro and his orchestra then traveled on the train tracks to Salliqueló, 340 miles southwest of Buenos Aires, where they were not able to find a gig, since the town was very small and did not have dancing. As a means of survival, they went around to restaurants and asked the owners permission to play for donations. They received very little money, but enough for some food and lodging. The next day, they arrived in Tres Lomas, where they were lucky enough to be hired in a “casa de baile.” The building was constructed with wooden walls and metal sheets ceiling and it was a very cold winter. During this time, the trio was playing at the top of their game, and were received with great acceptance by the audience. But in some moment they heard a noise: Tac! It was a drop of the water condensed on the ceiling due to the cold temperature. And then, one of these drops fell on the first string of Canaro’s violin, breaking it. They continued playing until the amount of water falling on them made it impossible. Canaro remembers that in order to continue playing, he had to do it with one string, and compared it with the feat of the great violinist Nicolo Paganini, who played a famous concerto with one string. Canaro acknowledged that his feat did not become as well known, playing in a obscure corner of the province of Buenos Aires, with a violin that only cost eight pesos, interpreting the tango “Piantá piojito que te cacha el paine”. Then, the trio moved to Trenque Lauquen, where they did well enough, and Canaro felt especially fortunate because he started dating two of the ladies in the town. One of them was the daughter of the owner of the “casa de baile” they were working for, and the other was a girl from the town. However, his fortune did not last long, since Canaro had to play in another town one hundred miles away. Nevertheless, Canaro wrote letters to them both to stay in touch. Unfortunately, their experience in this new town was not good because they did not make enough money to pay for their hotel, leading them instead to escape in the middle of the night. The next town was General Acha. They worked there for a short time, and when they were tired, decided to return to Buenos Aires. Canaro had continued writing to his two girlfriends, but on one occasion made the mistake of mixing up the envelopes and letters, sending each of them the letter written for the other. When the train back to Buenos Aires made its stop in Trenque Lauquen, both of them were outraged and waited for Francisco at the station to confront him and make a scene. In 1907, after a short stay in Buenos Aires, Canaro headed with the guitar player Domingo Salerno, author among other great tangos of “Marianito”, to San Pedro, a town 100 miles north west of Buenos Aires. They found work at a “casa de baile” called “La Puerta de Fierro”, but since they wanted a trio, they invited a local musician who played the flute, nicknamed “El Cuervo”. This musician, according to Canaro, had the problem of falling asleep between tangos, letting his flute fall on the floor, making a noise that made the regulars laugh. The owner of the house was an Italian guy, not well mannered, whose big mustache would get wet in the soup he ate for dinner, which he would clean by licking it with his tongue. Canaro tells us that when the sheriff of San Pedro called this guy on the telephone, he would answer by standing up and taking off his hat, repeating “Yes Sir!” The trio grew up to a quartet when Canaro incorporated another violin player, called Merella. Sadly, Merella soon got sick and needed surgery. After the surgery, he was not improving, and Canaro decided to accompany him back to Buenos Aires by train. Soon after getting on the train, Canaro noted that Merella wasn’t moving. He spoke to him with no response. Canaro took a small mirror that he carried in his pocket and placed it in front of his nose and observing that the mirror did not fog up, realized his friend was dead. When the train inspector came to ask for their tickets, Canaro told him what had happened. The inspector called the manager and they determined that the dead body could not continue on the train and asked Canaro to exit the train with his friend at the next station. Canaro begged them to let him  continue with his friend’s body to Buenos Aires, where the brother of his friend was waiting for them to arrive, but he was not successful, and had to get off the train in Baradero. Canaro was hopeless at this point. Luckily, he found help from some cart drivers parked at the station, who took him and the deceased Merella to town, where Canaro was able to buy a coffin, make the necessary legal arrangements, and bury his friend in the local cemetery. Then he returned to San Pedro. After a while he got the information from some travelers that they needed musicians in Arrecifes, 35 miles south, and that the pay was better than what they were receiving in San Pedro. He wrote to the owner of the place, confirming that he and a bandoneon player (Salerno decided to remain in San Pedro) could be there in a few days. The owner replied that they needed them immediately, so Canaro and the other musician decided to take the first available cart. This last-minute decision saved their lives. Later they found out that the cart they had planned to take was crashed into by a train, and no one survived. Once they were established in Arrecifes, Canaro wrote to Buenos Aires for another musician, Pablo Bustos, to join them. Pablo had recently been released from prison for killing a man, alleging self-defense. While living in Arrecifes, Canaro was dating a lady who used to be the girlfriend of someone nicknamed “El Zorro”, with the reputation of “guapo” (though), who was in prison. When news came that “El Zorro” was going to be released from prison, Canaro and his girlfriend decided to disappear together. They planned for her to hide out in another town and wait for Canaro, who would join her once he received his salary. But “El Zorro” found out about their plan, and one day he showed up at a bar near the “casa de baile” where Canaro and Pablo Bustos were playing cards with other townspeople. He ordered a drink and tried to pick a fight with Canaro by talking loudly and making indirect references to insult him. Canaro did not let this get to him, instead playing dumb. “El Zorro” eventually became impatient with his game of taunting Canaro and got close to him, pushed his shoulder, and said: “Listen, little musician, I want to tell you something.” “With great pleasure!” Canaro responded. He stood up, preparing for whatever would come next, while Pablo placed himself in a strategic position. “El Zorro” made a gesture like he was reaching for his weapon and pushed Canaro out of the bar. Then “El Zorro” said loudly, “I will make you tell me where Maria Esther (the lady) is.” Canaro responded, “If you are so “El Zorro” (referring to the character who is clever and resourceful), why don’t you find her yourself?” Then a fight broke out, but the people at the bar got in between them, the police came, and things did not go further. But Canaro was convinced that “El Zorro” was not going to let this go, so, prudently, the following morning asked to be paid, took the train to meet Maria Esther, and continued on to Buenos Aires together, enjoying their romance for a while in the big city. Once back in Buenos Aires in 1908, Canaro formed a trio together with Samuel Castriota on piano (author of “Mi noche triste”) and Vicente Loduca on bandoneon. They rehearsed feverishly until Canaro was satisfied with the repertoire and the sharpness of the interpretations. He found them a regular gig at “Café Royal” in the very center of the tango scene at the time, the corner of Suarez and Necochea streets, in La Boca neighborhood. They played on a balcony that was so small, it could barely contain all three of them. In his memoirs, Canaro said that every time he visited La Boca for any reason, he liked to come back to this place, look at the little balcony, and reminisce about his youth. “Café Royal”, like other similar businesses, had waitresses, called “camareras”, who dressed in black with white aprons and were very accommodating with the clientele - and very good looking. The specialty of the house was Turkish coffee, which customers liked very much. The owner of “Royal” was a Greek gentleman with black curly hair who, in accordance with the fashion of the time, had a very thick mustache. Here wore a picturesque vest, from which he hung a thick golden clock chain, that had a big gold medal, which he carried with pride, perhaps as a sign of his status as the owner of the café. In front of “Royal” was another café, as important, where the Greco brothers played. On Suarez Street, “La Marina” was where Genaro Espósito played. In front of “La Marina”, there was another café with Roberto Firpo playing. On Necochea Street, Arturo Bernstein demanded being served beer without interruption, alleging he could not play his bandoneon with a “dry throat”. Kitty-corner to “Café Royal” was a big “Café-Concert”, perhaps the most important in the La Boca neighborhood, where Ángel Villoldo performed. Canaro had great admiration for Ángel Villoldo. In his memoirs, Canaro describes how Villoldo amazed his audiences by playing the harmonica and guitar simultaneously, using a device he created to hold the harmonica on his chest, leaving his hands free to play the guitar. His compositions were very popular. For example: “Soy hijo de Buenos Aires, me llaman El Porteñito, el criollo más compadrito que en esta tierra nació…” Canaro acknowledges his debt to this “precursor” of the “typical Porteño music”, and that not only he, but all tango musicians, composers, Tango itself and the country of Argentina owe a lot to Ángel Villoldo, who passed away on 1921 in complete poverty. Continuing with Canaro’s description of the neighborhood of La Boca during those times, he tells us that the “Zeneise” language, a Genovese dialect, was spoken there almost more than Spanish. The area of La Boca centered on the corners of Suarez and Necochea streets, hosted not only shows, but also many restaurants. It was a neighborhood of night life, continuously bustling, that attracted many people from downtown and other neighborhoods, bringing out the gangs of young men from rich families, and not so young men, accompanied by beautiful ladies. Rivalries between them and the dwellers of La Boca would often arise, provoking fights. A young man from the San Telmo neighborhood, nicknamed the “Fay”, frequented the bars of La Boca on an almost daily basis. He was a cart driver, strong, well-grounded, known for being “guapo” and his powerful fists, as he would resolve squabbles with punches. One punch from him resulted in one man out of the fight. The “Fay” was considered a neighbor of La Boca, not of the downtown, due to his regular and friendly camaraderie with the young people in that neighborhood. One night, as usual, the “Fay” was accompanied by several friends at “Café Royal”, as he was a fan of Canaro’s music. A great friend of his, a waitress called María “La Morocha”, was invited to sit with them by the “Fay” while also attending to other tables. At another table close by, there was a “patota” (group of men), of a rich young men called Cacho Arana, and they started teasing “La Morocha”. When it became too much, the “Fay” responded to them and a fight broke out. First, they started throwing glasses and bottles, then chairs, then guns came out and tables went upside down. When the police arrived, the “Fay” was in the middle of the fight, throwing punches left and right. They closed the café and took everyone to the police station. These fights were common in La Boca. Another night, Loduca was in the company of a Spanish lady, who had been involved with a guy nicknamed “El Ñato Campana”, with a reputation as “guapo” and a skillful thief. Canaro explains that after the trio finished playing and they were on their way home, this guy showed up by surprise on the street with a gun in his hand. He threatened to take the woman with him by force, so Loduca quickly took his gun out and both of their guns fired without consequence. Although no one was injured, the next day Canaro discovered a bullet hole in his overcoat… Another night, in 1909, a young man came to “Café Royal” with a group of friends, while Canaro’s trio was playing. He had the air of a “compadrito high life” (a wealthy, tough, young man), who wore a grey hat with a black ribbon, tilted forward, a checkered jacket with black and white squares and black trim, pants with a wide black stripe on each side and three small pearl buttons, a fancy vest with fileteados (a type of artistic drawing, with stylized lines typically used in Buenos Aires), and an ascot tie decorated with a colorful pin. He was very good looking and attractive, with long eyelashes, full eyebrows, good teeth, a ruddy complexion, and big black eyes. Considering the usual dynamics between gangs, Canaro was expecting a fight, but soon realized that this young man had come in a friendly mood when he noticed that he was carrying a bandoneon. He was Eduardo Arolas. When the concert finished, they came down from the balcony to join him and his friends. One of his friends said that he composed a very beautiful tango, and they all asked him to play it, to which he happily agreed. Arolas placed a small black velvet blanket on his lap, beautifully embroidered with his initials, got his bandoneon and played his tango “Una noche de garufa”. Canaro and his colleagues liked the tango very much, and included it in his repertoire. After that first meeting, they became close friends. Among the popular songs during that time and still now, they played: “El Choclo”, “El Torito”, “El Porteñito” (Villoldo),”Don Juan” (Ponzio), “El Morochito” (Greco), “La Catrera” (De Bassi), “La Morocha”, “Felicia” (Saborido), “El Irresistible” (Logatti), “Venus” (Bevilacqua), “El Talar” (Aragón), “El llorón”, “Siete Palabras”, among others. Around this time, Canaro also met Roberto Firpo, and they developed a close friendship. They were neighbors of the same neighborhood, San Cristobal, and every night they rode the #43 streetcar together. By 1910, the year of the Centennial Anniversary of Argentina, Tango started to move from Suarez and Necochea streets to take over downtown. The first to play downtown was Roberto Firpo. The success of his many compositions was the key that opened the center of Buenos Aires to him. The place was the “Bar Iglesias”, at 1400 Corrientes Street, where the Centro Cultural General San Martin is now located. Canaro’s trio eventually dissolved, and he entered the orchestra of Vicente Greco, to play at café “El Estribo” of Entre Rios Street 763/67, and at the dance halls of “Salon Rodriguez Peña” on Rodriguez Peña Street 344, close to Corrientes Street. At “El Estribo”, Canaro liked to stay late after his gigs in the “peña” that happened in the underground of the café, two or three times a week, where many “payadores", guitar players and singers came together. Gardel and Razzano were regulars. On nights the “peña” was closed, he like to go with his colleagues after work to a “bodegón” (a kind of taproom) of the marketplace located across Entre Rios street. There, they enjoyed the specialty of the house, a succulent Italian style stew, served in abundant portions with a generous parmesan cheese topping, costing only ten or fifteen cents. They stayed there late into the night and would see other musicians and dancers, like “El Pardo Santillán” and “El Vasco Aín”, who where the organizers of the dances at “Salon Rodriguez Peña”. Another place Canaro played with Greco was the house of “La Morocha Laura”, with a very selected clientele, located on Paraguay and Pueyrredón streets. Groups of wealthy young men rented the house for a fixed amount of time, including female dancers, drinks and musicians. One night, a manager for “Casa Tagini” on Avenida de Mayo who ran Columbia Records in Buenos Aires, came to café “El Estribo” to sign them on to record. They accepted and, in order to differentiate their musical formation from others who did not specialized in Tangos, Canaro and Greco chose the title of “Orquesta Típica Criolla”. These recordings were very successful and sold very well. Once he left Greco’s orchestra, Canaro made other contributions to the formation of the “Orquesta Típica”, including the double bass (Ruperto Leopoldo Thomson) and the “estribillista” (a singer performing only the chorus part of a composition -Roberto Diaz). Also, Canaro helped Tango to find its way to complete acceptance by all the sectors of Buenos Aires society, being the first Tango musician to play at the private parties celebrated in the houses of some of the most prominent upper class families of Buenos Aires. As a composer, some of his first tangos are "Pinta Brava", "Matasano", "Charamusca", "Nueve Puntos", "La Tablada", "El Pollito", "El Chamuyo", among others. Read also: History of Tango – Part 1 History of Tango – Part 2 History of Tango – Part 3 History of Tango – Part 4 History of Tango – Part 5 History of Tango – Part 6  Bibliography: "Mis memorias. Mis bodas de oro con el tango", Francisco Canaro, Ediciones Corregidor 1999. “Crónica general del tango”, José Gobello, Editorial Fraterna, 1980. “El tango”, Horacio Salas, Editorial Aguilar, 1996. “El tango, el gaucho y Buenos Aires”, Carlos Troncaro, Editorial Argenta, 2009. “Encyclopedia of Tango”, Gabriel Valiente, 2014. SaveSave
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    History of Tango - Excerpt: Tango and knife fight
    March 7, 2016
    “Nació en los Corrales Viejos allá por el ochenta. Hijo fue de la milonga y un “pesao” de arrabal. Lo apadrinó la corneta del mayoral del tranvía y los duelos de cuchillos le enseñaron a bailar” “El Tango”, Miguel A. Camino, 1877-1944. When Argentina took on the model of the “Generación del ochenta” (the governing elite which ruled the country from 1880 to 1916), the gaucho lost his habitat. The Pampa would be divided into "private property”, so Argentina could join "civilization". Many of these gauchos opted for the opportunity to adapt to a new way of life in Buenos Aires, with its rapid growth due to a large influx of immigration. They brought their knowledge and skills to the big city. They were expert cattle herdsmen, which fed the locals and the world, slaughterers, butchers, horse trainers, tram drivers, and carters, who knew the most efficient way of transporting cargo to the port. Their effectiveness in handling a knife was not limited to use with livestock. The gaucho was a man skilled in the art of fighting. The wars of independence, civil wars, and other less illustrious circumstances had trained him. But the gaucho was not a criminal. He had incorruptible ethics. In the chaotic origins of our country, a new state that had just begun to get organized, the police force and justice system were not as efficient as one would have wished. With the population increasing by the day due to a careless immigration policy, which also led to more diversity, the most vulnerable sectors of the population found in those gauchos someone who supported them in their daily disputes. They were arbiters of justice spontaneously elected by their neighbors, residents of the poorest neighborhoods of the city, the suburbs, the “arrabales”, and received in gratitude, the title of "compadres". Young people in these slums learned to admire those strong men. They admired his independence and self-reliance, and the skill with wielding his weapon, the knife, if necessary to defend those characteristics that defined them. However, these fans never came to incorporate the ethical values ​​of the compadre, arising from the moral of the Knight of the Middle Ages. You could say that they were already "tainted" by the modern city and its utilitarian pragmatism. The "compadritos", so called contemptuously, thus signaling its lowest moral stature in the shadow of the “compadre”, responded to the demands of a new historic moment: the birth of Buenos Aires as the great city of South America, incorporated into the global capitalist market. The visteo (knife fighting training) and tango, with cockfighting and pimping were compadrito features. The compadre, however, did not dance, did not amuse himself by fighting, had no commercial ambitions. He was a man who had made his life and now in the city, preferred to take a contemplative and wise position. During the formative years of modern Argentine state, which could be dated starting in the battle of Caseros, ending the government of Juan Manuel de Rosas in 1852, the flood of immigrants brought to the daily life of the inhabitants of Buenos Aires various manifestations of the many cultures that arrived here. Among them, new forms of partner dance that originated from the popularity of the waltz in Europe. Those who witnessed their arrival at the port of Buenos Aires called them “a la europea (in a European fashion)“. These dances were mainly the waltz and the polka, which were very fashionable in Europe. The novelty of these dances was that the woman was "in the man’s arms". This was a major change in relation to the minuet, the most popular couples dance until the appearance of the waltz, in which contact between members of the couple did not go beyond holding hands. Young men from the slums, the “compadritos", could see this way of dancing mainly in places of night life near the harbor, and adopted the technique of ​​bringing the woman in his arms, but with some important changes. The compadrito was fond of visteo (knife fight training). Knowing knife fight, not the larger gaucho or compadre knife, but a shorter one, that could be hidden under the lapel of his jacket, since it was not allowed by the authorities, was a direct way to express his status. The visteo was the physical education of these men (and many women, too) prior to the arrival of a more "civilized" sport brought to our land by Englishmen: football (or soccer). (The first football game was played in Argentina in 1867, and all participants of the game had English surnames). By taking a woman to dance, the compadrito used his "body language" which he had acquired in the visteo. That made it necessary for the bodies of the dancers to be completely united in an intimate embrace, which was very shocking for the time. Carlos Vega, researcher and historian of Argentine dances, differentiates the mode of holding the woman in waltz / polka, calling it "linked" as opposed to the "embrace" of tango. The tango is the first dance that is based on the human embrace. Another amendment introduced by compadritos, which completes the originality of the tango, which is also a consequence of their body language, their natural way of moving, and the embrace. In tango, there is for the first time in a dance linked / embraced the opportunity to stop and be still. So far, the dances which had static moments, called “figures", were separated couples dances, while in those linked the movement was constant and there were no moments of stillness. Tango’s intimate embrace made this innovation possible because the dancers now had more physical connection, which allowed them more accurate communication. And to complete, also due to the embrace and to the skills of the compadritos, the legs’ games "invading" the other partner’s space in the couple. At the time, these features were called dancing with “cortes y quebradas". In 1861, a police document mentions three couples detained near the port of Buenos Aires for dancing using “cortes y quebradas". The document does not mention tango. At this time, this dance technique was used by compadritos to dance all kinds of music. Later, in the last decade of the 1800s, tango would be adopted by the compadritos as their distinctive music, so the music of tango would be united forever to the dance with “cortes y quebradas”. Probably the tango music would have developed many of its features from the adaptation of street musicians the dance of the compadritos. In the origins of tango there is also an influence of the culture of the Afro-Argentines, who had enjoyed greater freedom of expression during the years of the government of Juan Manuel de Rosas. After slavery was abolished in Argentina, in 1853, the Afro-Argentines were the residents of the poorest neighborhoods of Buenos Aires at the time of the great flood of immigrants. The immigrants arriving in Buenos Aires, not only from the other side of the sea, but also from within the country (displaced gauchos, and the "chinas" or women from indigenous races who came to Buenos Aires after their men died in the wars of extermination of the natives), they met with the Afro-Argentines as locals. It was they who were responsible for the places of entertainment, dancing and drinks in the city of Buenos Aires. Thus, it can be said that the sociocultural characteristics of the poorest neighborhoods of Buenos Aires had definitive Afro-Argentine features. Many Afro-Argentines were gauchos, and many of them were then compadres and compadritos. The Argentine governing classes, as well as the country, were defined during the years of transition between the aristocratic / feudal and bourgeois / capitalist systems. In those years, everything about the aristocratic life style, still possessed an aura of distinction, which was looked up to by the nascent Argentine ruling class. Thus the “niños bien", the children of the most powerful families, saw in the compadrito, not without envy, virtues that were well appreciated in the aristocratic culture: the duel and seduction. When tango later became well appreciated in Paris, and from there the rest of the world, compadritos and “niños bien” undertook an exchange of customs and skills, which refined the first, and made good milongueros of the others. Resources: Jorge Emilio Prina, Maestro de Esgrima Criolla Bibliography: “Crónica general del tango”, José Gobello, Editorial Fraterna, 1980. “El tango”, Horacio Salas, Editorial Aguilar, 1996. “Historia del tango", Editorial Corregidor 1977. "Danzas Populares Argentinas", Carlos Vega, Instituto Nacional de Musicología, 1986. “El tango, el gaucho y Buenos Aires”, Carlos Troncaro, Editorial Argenta, 2009. "El Tango, una danza. Esa ansiosa búsqueda de libertad", Rodolfo Dinzel, Corregidor, 1999. "Historia del baile social. De la milonga a la disco", Sergio Pujol, Gourmet Musical Ediciones, 2013. "Masculinidades. Fútbol, tango y polo en la Argentina", Eduardo Archetti, Antropofagia 2003.  “Encyclopedia of Tango”, Gabriel Valiente, 2014. Todo tango Movies: "El hombre de la esquina rosada" de René Múgica, con Francisco Petrone, Walter Vidarte, 1962. "Un guapo del 900" de Lepoldo Torre Nilsson, con Alfredo Alcón, 1960. "La guerra gaucha" de Lucas Demare, con Enrique Muiño, 1942. "Historia del 900" de Hugo Del Carril, con Sabina Olmos, 1949. "El Gatopardo" de Luchino Visconti, con Lancaster, Delon, Cardinale. "Tango" de L. M. Barht, con Tita Merello, El Cachafaz, Carmencita Calderón.
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    History of Tango - Part 6: Orquesta Típica. It’s origins.
    March 6, 2016
    Orquesta Típica: It’s origins. The first stablished musical formation for the interpretation of tango music was the trio, integrated by harp or guitar, flute or clarinete, and violin. These trios did not produce any recordings, but we can be sure enough, according to testimonials, that they played a faster and more “staccato" rhythm, which was slowed down and shaped into a more “legato” sound with the arrival of the bandoneon. At the beginning of the 1900, the word “tango” was still considered inappropriate. As an example, when José Luis Roncallo performed for the first time “El choclo” at the restaurant El Americano, in 1903, he presented it as “danza criolla”. In 1910, Casa Tagini, dealership of Columbia Records, produced the first recordings of a formation dedicated exclusively to playing tangos. In need of an appropriated label for this formation, the term “Orquesta Típica Criolla” was born. Vicente Greco (1888-1924), conductor and bandoneon player of this formation, is recognized, together with Francisco Canaro (1888-1964), who played violin in it, as the creators of this term, which will from this moment, characterize the orchestras conformed for the interpretation of tango music. They both were neighbors of adjacent “conventillos” of the “candombero” barrio de Concepción, on Calle Sarandí 1356 and 1358 respectively. Their families were very poor and they had to work since their childhood selling newspapers in the streets of Buenos Aires. Vicente’s parents, Genaro and Victoria were from Italy, and his father played the mandolin. His siblings also played music and were passionated students of every subject. His nickname “Garrote” (club) needs an explanation. During one of those card games in which Don Genaro use to find entertainment, the eldest of Vicente’s siblings, Fernando, knockout of a slap one of the players, possibly because he perceived a cheat, or this man said something not nice to his father. From that moment Fernando got that nickname, and Vicente was first known as “Garrote’s brother”. As his fame grew up, people started calling him simply “Garrote”. Vicente started playing the flute, then guitar and singing. He had a talent for music, he worked hard and study passionately, self-taught and made each instrument sound in a personal way: concertina, bandoneon and also harmonium, in which he made many of his great compositions. He also aspired to have access to a comprehensive culture and deeply loved literature and theater. He self-taught himself to read and write by asking people in the street, while he worked selling newspapers, what the words in the signs said: “panadería” (bakery), “librería” (bookshop), “se alquila” (renting)… Julio De Caro told that “One day, by chance, discover a box over his parents' closet. At opening it, he is amazed by the unknown instrument. He interrogates her mother, who replied: "It is a concertina that we were given by a family friend." Vicente begins to practice with the instrument, and in one month he was able to play a Waldteufeld’s waltz, a polka and... Juan Tango! Studying day and night without taking a break.” Other version of how Vicente gets this concertina tells that a group of young boys were playing a serenade for a beautiful girl in a nearby conventillo. When, instead of the girl a policeman showed up at the opening of the conventillo’s door, the group of boys runaway, leaving a concertina behind. Since nobody came back to reclame it, it was given to Vicente, known for his talent. Another version of the story connect both renditions saying that this left behind concertina was keep by Vicente’s parents over the closet, were he will eventually find it. He was introduced to the secrets of the bandoneon by a colorful character of the Buenos Aires of those times, Sebastián Ramos Mejía "El Pardo", who worked as trams guard. We refer again to Julio De Caro: "After listening to Greco playing the concertina, Ramos Mejía, amazed, advised his parents to buy him a real bandoneon. Family and friends chip in and after a long search, being then very few of these instruments in Buenos Aires, they find the long-awaited bandoneon and give it to the 14 years old prodigy. Vicente soon dominates his new instrument. “ Almost simultaneously, he learned musical theory with Carmelo Rizzuti, but the intuitive musician will always prevail. Bandoneon player and composer of original realization ideas, he was always caught by a spontaneous musical inventiveness, without traces of academicism. Vicente Greco was the first professional bandoneon player. Other bandoneonists played before him, but at homes, in family parties. He assumed the task to take the bandoneon to the streets. At evenings, Vicente would practice his instrument at the entrance hall of the “conventillo” where he resided, opening the door for fresh air. The people passing by would by attracted to the hunting sounds of this mysterious instrument and would stop to listen. Night after night the crowd grew bigger. His professional premier happened in 1906 at “Salón Sur” (Pozos and Cochabamba), with a trio integrated by, in addition to his bandoneon, violin and guitar. With them he started a year long tour throughout the sprofitable brothels of the Buenos Aires province’s cities and Rosario, a great opportunity for all tango musicians of the time to make money, gain experience and achieve prestige. During this tour, Vicente suffered a serious accident, which will be, eventually, the cause of his early death, when the stage setup for his performance fell apart (some claim that following a violent fight), damaging his kidneys. But he also linked up with the most famous tango musicians of the time, who would influence him improving his technique and the way he conduct his formations. After recovering from the accident, he returned to his performances at the “cafés de camareras” (bars attended by waitresses) of La Boca neighborhood, with his brother Ángel Greco in guitar, and Ricardo Gaudenzio -author of  “El chupete” (listen to Anibal Troilo's rendition of 1940, click here) playing the violin. He continue playing for three years at the most popular venues of the area known as Suárez y Necochea, with great success, and premiering some of his compositions, yet without title. Then he was hired by “El Pardo Santillán”, a renowned milonguero, to play in downtown, at the “Salón San Martín”, known by the dancers as “Rodriguez Peña” due to the street in which it was located, where he played with a quartet integrated by his bandoneon, piano and two violins. It was so successful, that soon the salon resulted too small for such crowds. This hall was attended by the best dancers of the time, like the aforementioned "Pardo" and "El Vasquito" Casimiro Aín, “La Parda” Loreto, “La Chata” or María Angélica, to whom Vicente dedicated his tango of the same name (listen to Adolfo Pérez "Pocholo" rendition of 1934, click here). Greco performances at this venue contributed greatly to the acceptance of tango at Buenos Aires downtown. Vicente expressed his gratitude to his huge following with his composition “Rodriguez Peña” (listen to 1945's Carlos Di Sarli rendition, click here). Soon, he is hired to play at “El Estribo” (Entre Rios 763/67), where his musicians will be his disciple Juan Lorenzo Labissier as second bandoneon, “El Chino” Agustín Bardi at the piano, “Palito” Abate and “Pirincho” Canaro in violins, and ”El Tano” Vicente Pecci playing the flute. It was the year 1910. The police had to close Entre Rios street due to the amount of people that crowded in front of the café to listen to Greco even they could not enter to his sold out performances. Applauses and shoutings exploded at the end of each song. The public was most heterogeneous, and “compadritos" (marginals) co-existed peacefully with “niños bien” (rich family boys), at least for a while. Regulars were also famous “payadores” of the time, as José Betinoti and the duet formed by Carlos Gardel and José Razzano. Vicente composed the tango “El Estribo” (listen to Rodolfo Biagi's rendition, 1940, click here) dedicated to Mario Scolpini, owner of this place. He played also during this time at “Lo de Laura”, and “Lo de María La Vasca”. This is the time in which the nascent phonographic industry of Argentina, headed by the owners of Casa Tagini, decide to hire Greco to make the first ever recordings of tangos by a musical formation exclusively dedicated to this gender. The sponsors of these recording were not convinced of the piano as a instrument that belonged to tango music yet, and that is why Ángel Greco came to play the guitar instead of Agustín Bardi the piano. There are also some doubts about who played the violin, regarding Canaro and Abate. At the print label of the discs was written: “Vicente Greco y su orquesta típica criolla con bandoneón”. The firs recording was “Rosendo” (listen, click here). In 1912 Greco’s orchestra played at the opening of Armenonville, in Palermo, the first cabaret in Buenos Aires. It had beautiful gardens with tables and chairs, a sumptuous villa with ample dance floor and windows. The ground floor, generously lit by a stunning chandelier, contrasted with the semidarkness of the box seats. Vicente Greco did not created the “orquesta típica”, but devised its name, and contributed with the doubling of bandoneons and violins, which together with the substitution of flute by bass, done by Francisco Canaro, and the finalized acceptance of the piano instead of guitar, done by Roberto Firpo, will lead to the formation of the “Sexteto Típico”, core of the Orquesta Típica. From 1913 Greco recorded for other companies. In 1914 for Atlanta records, with the name of “Quinteto Criollo Garrote”, and at the end of this year, he takes a break and travels to Montevideo de Canaro to expend the money made with these recordings. Then he continue with his performances at “Petit Salon”, “Cabaret Montmartre” (Corrientes 1431), at the summer house of the roundabout of Las Heras 2500, the “Rowing Club”, “Cabaret Maxim’s), the hotels Plaza, Americano, Tigre… Also, the families of the ‘Porteña aristocracy” opened their doors to him and with him to Tango itself -another of Vicente Greco’s great contributions to Tango-, and he played at the residencies of Dr. Lucio V. López (Callao and Quintana), at the Lagos García, at the Lamarque, Green and many others. In 1916 he and Canaro put together one of the first known big orchestras, to play at the carnival dances at the “Teatro Politeama” in Rosario. The size of the hall and the amount of people assisting to these events, demanded the enlargement of the musical formations to increase the sound volume. This orchestra was conformed by Vicente Greco, Juan Lorenzo Labissier, Pedro Polito and Osvaldo Fresedo in bandoneons; Francisco Canaro, Rafael Rinaldi and Francisco Confetta in violins; Samuel Castriota in piano; José Martínez in armonio; Vicente Pecci in flute; Ruperto Leopoldo Thompson in bass; Pablo Laise in sandpaper; and Juan Carlos Bazán in clarinet. These idea would later be followed by Firpo and Canaro in 1917 and 1918. Then his health declined rapidly. His plays less and less often. His last performances were at the city of Córdoba in 1921. His demise happened at his home of Humberto Primo 1823, on October 5, 1924. Of his personality, what is more notorious is his extreme modesty. he loved literature and theatre, cultivated the friendship of Evaristo Carriego, with whom he coauthored a tango that remains unpublished, and Florencio Sánchez, great screenwriter. He frequented the literary cafés, like the one called "Los Inmortales", of Corrientes 1369, and left at the time of his death an unfinished screenplay. As a composer, he knew to intertwine in his creations the rhythms and melodies of the “criolla” music, of the traditions of a country populated by gauchos descendants of the Spanish colony, and the new sounds and idiosyncrasies arriving to Buenos Aires with the massive immigration of the end of 1800s. Some examples of his talented compositions are: "El pibe" (to listen to Vicente Greco rendition of 1910, click here) "El morochito" (to listen to Enrique Rodriguez of 1941, click here) "Rodriguez Peña" (to listen to Carlos Di Sarli rendition of 1945 , click here) "El flete" (to listen Juan D'Arienzo rendition of 1936 , click here) "El estribo" (to listen Rodolfo Biagi rendition of 1940 , click here) "Ojos negros" (to listen Anibal Troilo rendition of 1948, click here) "Pofpof" (to listen to Juan D'Arienzo rendition of 1948, click here) "La viruta" (to listen Carlos Di Sarli rendition of 1943, click here) "Racing Club" (to listen to Alfredo Gobbi rendition of 1948, click here) Read also: History of Tango – Part 1 History of Tango – Part 2 History of Tango – Part 3 History of Tango – Part 4 History of Tango – Part 5 Bibliography: “Crónica general del tango”, José Gobello, Editorial Fraterna, 1980. “El tango”, Horacio Salas, Editorial Aguilar, 1996. “Historia del tango – La Época Dorada”, chapter 2, "Vicente Greco", Luis Adolfo Sierra, Editorial Corregidor 1977. “El tango, el gaucho y Buenos Aires”, Carlos Troncaro, Editorial Argenta, 2009. “El tango, el bandoneón y sus intérpretes”, Oscar Zucchi, Ediciones Corregidor, 1998. "Encyclopedia of Tango", Gabriel Valiente, 2014. SaveSave
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    History of Tango - Part 5: The appearance of the bandoneon in tango
    March 5, 2016
    During the 1870s arrives to Buenos Aires a very particular immigrant: the bandoneon. Tango was in its infancy, as well as this new instrument, which was recently invented in 1846 in Germany by Heinrich Band, according to some versions, or Carl F. Zimmerman, according to others. None had patented it. The bandoneon is a musical instrument that resulted from the evolution on the concertina, invented in 1830, inspired in the accordion, and conceived as a portable version of the harmonium. It is of the hand-held bellows-driven free-reed category, sometimes called squeezeboxes. The sound is produced as air flows past the vibrating reeds mounted in a frame. The oldest known musical instrument that uses this method is the Cheng, a “mouth organ”, already used in China on 700 AC, made of several bamboo canes (13 to 36) which had inside the vibrating membranes and a gourd as response box. The air flow was produced by blowing on it, like a flute. During the 1800s this principle of production of sound was known in Europe, from which derived many diverse instruments, some in use still today, like the harmonica, the harmonium, the accordions and the concertinas, which is considered the immediate ancestor of the bandoneon. Carl Friedrich Uhlig (1789-1874) created the concertina in 1839, inspired in the accordion of the Viennese Cyrill Demian (1772-1847), and as an improvement of it. The first concertina of Uhlig had 5 buttons on each side, for higher pitch notes destined to the melody on the right, and for lower pitch or basses on the left. This concertina produced 2 different notes per button, one opening and a different one closing the instrument, obtaining in this way 20 different tones. This instrument already had the seeds of what would become one day the bandoneon of tango. The goal of Uhlig was to attain an instrument that, eliminating the difficulties of transportation of the harmonium, had a similar sonority that perfectly amalgamates with the string instruments, allowing its integration into the chamber music ensembles and not constraining it to the interpretation of popular music. That is why he continues improving it. In 1854 Uhlig presented his creation at the Industrial Exposition of Munich, receiving a medal of Honor. These instruments were highly popular, although they did not have the destiny desired by its creator, as they were mostly adopted by farmers and workers who began to execute it by ear or with a notation system using the small numbers written on each button. Later, other luthiers continued adding buttons, until it reached 62. In 1829, scientist and luthier Charles Wheatstone (1802-1875), patented the English concertina. This instrument has hexagonal resonance boxes, while in the Uhlig invention, called also German concertina, they are squared. The bandoneon derives from the German concertina. According to some versions, Carl F. Zimmerman modified Uhlig’s concertina, adding buttons and rearranging its disposition, creating what became known as “Carlsfelder concertina” (derived from the German city Carlsfeld, where Zimmerman lived and created his concertina), in opposition to “Chemnitzer concertina” (derived from the German city Chemnitz, where Uhlig lived and created his concertina). Zimmerman later emigrated to USA, selling his factory to Ernst Louis Arnold, another instrument maker that will be connected to the origins of bandoneon. In 1840, Heinrich Band, a musician from Carlsfeld, gets to know Uhlig’s concertina in a visit to Chemnitz. He really likes the instrument, but fell compeled to improve it. In 1843 he opens a musical instrument shop in Carlsfeld, and in 1846 starts selling his improved version of Uhlig’s concertina with 28 buttons that play two different tones each, and a different arrangement in the disposition of the buttons. This is the instruments that began to be referred as bandoneon, although Heinrich Band considered it a concertina, and never patented it. He later yet improved it up to produce models of 65 buttons with two different sounds each. He also contributed to the diffusion of the instrument with several transcriptions of piano works into bandoneon, and composed valses and polkas to be payed with bandoneon, although this information contradicts another version, which states that Heinrich Band conceived his instrument to play sacred music. Heinrich Band dies 39. His widow, Johana Sieburg, partnered with Jaques Dupon in 1860 to continue the production of bandoneons. Heinrich Band did not make the bandoneon himself. He designed it and ordered its production from Carl F. Zimmerman. Alfred Band, the first son of Heinrich and Johana, wrote one of the first books related to bandoneon, with all the mayor and minor scales. Ernst Louis Arnold, who bought Zimmerman’s factory, will became the most prominent bandoneon producer. His son, Alfred Arnold, who worked in the factory from his childhood, will eventually devise a bandoneon of 71 buttons of two notes each. His version, called “AA”, will become the preferred one by the Argentine tango musicians. There are many different versions of the concertina and the bandoneon. There are different button’s arrangements, as we saw with the Carlsfelder and Chemnitzer concertinas, and in some models each buttons plays only one note. These could become confusing, so in 1921, Emil Schimild of Leipzig, proposed the unification of all the buttons’ arrangements of concertinas and bandoneons in one instrument. This proposition did not prosper, but in 1924, it was agreed the unification for the button’s arrangement for the bandoneon, with a model of 72 buttons producing 2 notes each (144 tones), although the model adopted by Argentine tango musicians is the one of 71 buttons (142 notes), and Alfred Arnold continued its production exclusively for them. Alfred Arnold would take orders from Argentine tango players that asked for the inclusion of more tones, and customize them. After the Second World War, Alfred Arnold’s factory, which was located in what became Eastern Germany, was expropriated, and ended the production of bandoneons to become a diesel engine’s parts factory. Arno Arnold, Alfred’s nephew, was able to scape from Eastern Germany and opened a bandoneon production factory in Western Germany in 1950, with the aid of Alfred's former technician, Mr. Muller. This factory closed after Arno’s death, in 1971. Klaus Gutjahr, a bandoneon player graduated at the Bandoneon School of Berlin University, started to build handcraft bandoneons in 1970. At the end of the 1990s, he partnered with Paul Fischer in the Paul Fischer KG Company, a musical instrument manufacturer, set about reviving the manufacture of bandoneons in conjunction with the Eibenstock municipal authorities.  The Paul Fischer KG Company, together with the Institute for the Manufacture of Musical Instruments of Zwota, developed a 142 tone bandoneon in 2001. The Bandonion and Concertina Factory Klingenthal is continuing the tradition of the legendary "AA"  instruments and thereby the construction of bandoneons at Carlfeld.  The materials and construction used correspond to the legendary "AA" instruments.  Using historic instruments, experiments are being carried out to test the acoustic, material and mechanical parameters in conjunction with the Institute for the Manufacture of Musical Instruments of Zwota.  The manufacturing process have been set up using these parameters and this can be demonstrated by means of measurements. Because the bandoneon was not patented, there are no information ever recorded about the material used for its construction, like the precise alloys of the metallic vibrating reeds, different for every note. In Argentina, bandoneons were hand made by Humberto Bruñini, resident of Bahía Blanca. After he passed away, his daughter Olga continued with the tradition until herself passed away in 2005. The first bandoneon player ever mentioned in Buenos Aires was Tomas Moore, “el inglés” (the English man), although some said he was Irish, who brought this instrument to Argentina in 1870. A Brazilian man called Bartolo is also mentioned as the first to bring this instrument to Buenos Aires. Ruperto “el ciego” (the blind man) is mentioned as the first one to play tangos with his bandoneon. He played in the proximity of the market on Moreno street for alms. Pedro Ávila and Domingo Santa Cruz (author of the famous tango “Unión Cívica”) played the concertina until Tomas Moore presented them his bandoneon. José Santa Cruz, Domingo’s father, also switched from concertina to bandoneon. He is regarded as playing military calls with a bandoneon during the Paraguay’s war, but it is most probably that at that time he played a concertina. Pablo Romero, “el pardo” o “el negro” is regarded as one of the first to play tangos with bandoneon, in the area of Palermo. Contradictory versions mention him as either playing before or being a student of “el pardo” Sebastián Ramos Mejía. These bandoneons were a primitive version of 32 tones. After 1880, when tango began to develop its definitive form, the most recognized bandoneon players were: Antonio Francisco Chiappe, born in Montevideo in 1867. His family moved to Buenos Aires in 1870 to the neighborhood of Barracas, where he later had a butcher shop. He also was a professional cart driver, who became the president of the Association of Professional Cart Drivers. He was a magnificent bandoneon player, who would brag of his talent posting advertisings in the newspaper, challenging to whoever wanted to bet money to who played better Waldteufel’s waltzes, although he never made his living out of playing music. He never played in other locations than family home parties. He played with “El Pardo” Sebastián Ramos Mejía a primitive tango, or “proto-tango”, “El Queco”, very popular in his time. He also conducted several musical formations, from which it is important to highlight one that foretells the “orquesta típica criolla” of Vicente Greco. In this orchestra he counted with bandoneon, violin, flute, clarinet, harmonium, two guitars and bass. According to Enrique Cadícamo, in his poem “Poema al primer bandoneonista”, the first bandoneon player of tango is “El Pardo” Sebastián Ramos Mejía, but today is agreed the affirmation of the historian of tango Roberto Selles that it was Antonio Chiappe. “Vientos de principios de siglo que hicieron girar las veletas y silbaron en los pararrayos de las residencias señoriales de San Telmo, Flores y Belgrano. Entonces el Pardo Sebastián Ramos Mejía era primer bandoneón ciudadano y cochero de tranvía de la Compañía Buenos Aires y Belgrano. El pardo Sebastián inauguró un siglo con su bandoneón cuando estaba en embrión la ciudad feérica y la calle Pueyrredón era Centro América. Primer fueye que encendió la luz del tango, en las esquinas. A su influjo don Antonio Chiappe, también bandoneonista, se dió el lujo de desafiar por medio de los diarios al que mejor ejecutara los valses de Waldteufeld, extraordinarios... El Pardo Sebastián contagió su fervor a los hermanos Santa Cruz que actuaban en el cafe Atenas de Canning y Santa Fe donde se aplaudían los tangos de Villoldo -El choclo y Yunta brava- que tanto apasionaban a Aparicio, el caudillo, y al chino Andrés. Sebastián Ramos Mejía, decano de la facultad de bandoneón, inauguraste un siglo cuando estaba en embrión la ciudad feérica y la calle Pueyrredón era Centro América.” “Poema al primer bandoneonista”, Enrique Cadícamo. “El Pardo” Sebastián Ramos Mejía was descendent of African slaves and was “mayoral” (driver) of the tramways puled by horses, on the line Buenos Aires-Belgrano. He played in the Cafe Atenas of Ministro inglés (today Scalabrini Ortiz) and Santa Fe. His bandoneon had 53 tones. He is regarded as giving some bandoneon lessons to Vicente Greco. The bandoneon was not immediately accepted by Argentine tango musicians and dancers. The original formations of flute, violin and guitar played a staccato, bright and fast rhythm. The bandoneon, with its “legato”, with its low key notes, which were favorited by its players, who would constantly insist to its German producers to add more low key notes, seemed not belonging to tango. But in fact, it gave tango what tango was missing until the integration of bandoneon, and the bandoneon found the music it seemed to be created for. The bandoneon, contrary to other instruments of tango, like the violin, the flute, the guitar, the harp, or later, the piano, had no traditions to refer to. It was a blank piece of paper in which anything could be written yet. Neither it were maestros nor methods for it. Everything had to be created from scratch. Perhaps the similarities between its sound and the sound of the organitos that disseminated tango all over, helped to its acceptance. Juan Maglio “Pacho” was essential to the acceptance of bandoneon as a musical instrument of tango. Born in 1881, he started to learn to play bandoneon by watching his father play it every day after work. He would pay attention to the finger positions and then practice them secretly on his home’s roof. He went to school until the age of 12, when he start to work, first in a mechanic workshop, then as laborer in different activities, and then in a brickyard. At the age of 18 he decided to fully head into his vocation: music. During the years of hard work he kept practicing, in order to stay in shape for when the opportunity knocks. But still he had technical issues to resolve, like developing a greater independence between right and left hands, and he went in search of instruction to the more experienced Domingo Santa Cruz. He improved notoriously, and from his bandoneon of 35 buttons, moved successively to instruments of 45, 52, 65, 71 and at last, a customized bandoneon of 75 buttons. His father called him “pazzo” (Italian word for crazy) in his childhood, due to his restless character. His friends could not pronounce this word, and called him “Pacho”. He loved to make jokes. If you were in the area of Maldonado creek in 1918 and saw a ghost, it was Pacho, who wondered around every night with a white bed sheet to have fun scaring the people that passed by. He dressed with sobriety and distinction, and he insisted to his musicians to do the same. He started playing as a professional at the beginning of the 1900s, first in brothels and then in Cafés, until, doe to his rising prestige, he was convened to play at the very famous Café La Paloma, in Palermo, in 1910. It is important to clarify that the Palermo of that time was not the same upper class neighborhood we know today. In those years it was an area of “compadritos”. Lots of people came to listen to Pacho there. The special rhythm of Pacho’s interpretations of tangos brought many of the best dancers of the time, like El Cachafáz, to listen, because it was not place to dance. One night, a group of the audience from the neighborhood of Once, more upper class than Palermo, took him in litters and carry him to Café Garibotto, in San Luis and Pueyrredón. There he later presented a quartet of bandoneon, flute, violin and 7 stringed guitar. Around those years Pacho started to present his compositions: “Armenonville”, “Un copetín” and “Quasi nada”. He attracted so much people to his concerts, that the police began to suspect that it was not only music what the Café offered to its clientele, and one night they entered abruptly and arrested everybody, clients, waiters, musicians, the owner and the cat… But they found nothing. In response, Pacho wrote his tango”Qué papelón!”. In 1912 he started to record for Columbia. His success was so great that the word “Pacho” became a synonym of “recordings”. Read also: History of Tango – Part 1 History of Tango – Part 2 History of Tango – Part 3 History of Tango – Part 4 Bibliography: “Crónica general del tango”, José Gobello, Editorial Fraterna, 1980. “El tango”, Horacio Salas, Editorial Aguilar, 1996. “Historia del tango – La Guardia Vieja”, Rubén Pesce, Oscar del Priore, Silvestre Byron, Editorial Corregidor 1977. “El tango, el gaucho y Buenos Aires”, Carlos Troncaro, Editorial Argenta, 2009. "El tango, el bandoneón y sus intérpretes", Oscar Zucchi, Ediciones Corregidor, 1998.
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    History of Tango – Part 4: La Guardia Vieja - II: The first dancers
    March 4, 2016
      In the case of the dancers, in addition of the ones already mentioned, who were also musicians and we remember mainly because of their musical legacy, like Casimiro Alcorta (and his partner La Paulina), Lola Candales, Enrique Saborido, Ángel Villoldo, Alfredo Eusebio and Flora Gobbi, Ernesto Ponzio, or like Laurentina Monserrat (Laura), María Rangolla (La Vasca) or Concepción Amaya (Mamita), who are known after the places they managed, a special mention is deserved by Enrique Saborido, with the beautiful Lola Candales, Uruguayan as he and his muse, come tango dancers. In 1908, with the growing popularity of tango, he opens an academia in Cerrito 1070, which they managed until 1912. In that year he decided to go to Paris with other tango personalities. There, he taught to dance tango to the European aristocracy and show off as professional dancer at the Savoy and the Royal Theatre in London. He referred to other good dancers: Jorge Newbery (one of the first Latin American aircraft pilots. He was also an engineer, and is considered to be the architect and founder of the Argentine Air Force), his close friend Alberto J. Mascías, Alberto Lange, and Martin Edmund Hileret Anchorena. Concepción Maya, known as "Mamita". At her home, located in Lavalle 2177, Ernesto Ponzio composed his famous tango "Don Juan". Domingo Greco, in his unpublished memoirs, quoted by Dr. Benarós, among other things, says: "In this house, the clientele was selected. Men from upper class only. I met there the first professionals of tango:  Angel Villoldo and Sergio Mendizabal, Rosendo's brother. He played the tango ‘más compadrón', and was strongest in the accompaniment, more 'tempista'. He was one of the best tangueros of his time. Played, preferably, in Concepcion Amaya’s house. When this woman emigrated from Buenos Aires, she settled with a brothel in the village of 9 de Julio, and brought “El Negro” Sergio with her. I was then told that he died sitting in a bar, with the guitar on his lap. He played guitar and sang so well, improvising. Instead, Rosendo produced better tangos ... " Mamita, as Luis Teisseire told, "was tall, skinny, authoritarian. Of dark complexion, rather achinada, brave, black eyes. Always she wore long, dark silk suit. She looked all covered with high collar. At her house, among her women, she had la Ñata Rosaura, Herminia and Joaquina. After a glass door, it was a long courtyard with the rooms on the side and the classic dining room. " There, played the piano Sergio Mendizabal, El Gordo Mauricio and Teisseire, our informant. Other dancers from before 1910 who's names reached us are: El Mulato Sinforoso, who played clarinet next to Casimiro Alcorta and a guitar player, forming a trio that according to Lino Galeano, in an article written in the newspaper “Crítica” in 1913, signing as “Viejo tanguero”, was the first tango band. Carlos Kern ‘El Inglés’ was a man of "Maria La Vasca". He mastered the ‘vals cruzado’. He was an strong man of clear eyes, always quiet, but effective in placing order. He was recognized as a tough man, was heavy-handed and he alone was able to contain the aggressive ‘compadraje'. For a time he organized dances at Patria e Lavoro, in Chile 1567, a narrow hall, which was a difficult place to stop the excesses of pickpockets and rioters. According to César Viale, he finished serving as ordinance in the law firm of Dr. Carlos Delcasse. Carmen Gomez have been born around 1830, and began dancing at the Academia de Pardos y Morenos, located on Calle del Parque (current Lavalle). Around 1854s she opened what became known as the “Academia de la Parda Gomez”, in the vicinity of the Plaza Lorea (part of the current Plaza del Congreso). After selling it, in 1864, she opened another in Corrientes 437. By the help of an Afro-Argentine sorcerer, surrounded the house of her adversary, la Morena Agustina, in an effort to provoke misfortune. “The Afro-Argentines of the second half of the nineteenth century were the owners of the 'academias', as the ‘peringundines' where the ‘compadraje orillero’ used to attend, were called… The police report of the time recounts numerous incidents occurred there, where soldiers, Afro-Argentines from different neighborhoods and cart drivers were regulars" (R. Rodriguez Molas: Free Black River Plate Magazine Humanities, Ministry of Education of the Province of Buenos Aires, l year, September 1961, p. 114.). About la Morena Agustina, we know that also had an academia near Plaza Lorea. The dancer Clotilde Lemos began in the Academia de Pardos y Morenos, in the second half of the 1850s. Alejandro Vilela, was employed at the Academia de la Parda Gomez, where he played the piano. Luciana Acosta,”La Moreyra”, was a popular dancer of  the neighborhood of San Cristobal. She was a source of inspiration in the literary field: Jose Sebastian Tallón portrayed her in his book “Tango in the stages of forbidden music" (Buenos Aires, 1959); and Juan Carlos Ghiano makes her protagonist of his play "La Moreyra," released by the company Tita Merello in 1962. There is a film version starring by the same actress. She was the daughter of Andalusian gypsies, and lived with her man , “El Cívico", Bautista Salvini, at the room number 15 of the “conventillo” El Sarandi, located at the 1356 of the street of the same name, and where some rooms were occupied by the Greco family. Dancer of great fame in the early tango scene, she danced at the café La Pichona, at Pavón, between Rincón and Pasco (then district of brothels), where, as described by Jose Sebastian Tallón, “she was the business partner of her husband, a pimp, and skilled dancer. She was at night a woman of tango. In her veins bubbled the gypsy bravery, and being so feminine in appearance, and so beautiful, she was of great courage as dagger shooter, hence her nickname ... Her figure: not very tall, perfectly shaped, sensual voice, like her face, as her walk; olive skin tone, black eyes and hair, small mouth, optimum bust. She wore blue or red silk robe with white poke dots. Sometimes with colorful squares, or flowery dress with long sleeves and laced cuff. She closed her robe from the neck to the start of her breast, with a silken cord zigzaging the embroidered eyelets, finishing in a bun with tassels. Her waist was belted up to hurting by a corset. The skirt was pleated, gray or light green. Perfumed with Rosa de Francia, Agua Florida or Jour de Gloire. Hairstyle bun at the nape, with hairpins and combs of tortoiseshell, big gold hoop earrings, and a locket. Portrayed inside the locket was El Cívico." El Cívico, Bautista Salvini, descended from Southern Italians. was a pimp, a good dancer and a respected compadrito. Joaquina Marán, “La China Joaquina”, a wonderful tango dancer, was the favorite at “lo de Mamita”, and later herself manager of dance houses in the first decade of the 19th century. Tall, not pretty but very interesting and seductive brunette, of very pleasant conversation, Juan Bergamino dedicated to her his tango "Joaquina" (listen) (originally “La China Joaquina” (listen). She was involved in the death of a young dancer called "Ramayón" by Ñato Posse, as both loved Joaquina Maran, who besides being a lover of the two, had been of Mariano "Maco” Milani, another renown dancer, and of Pablo Podesta, actor, circus performer and singer. Fernando Ramayón was a young man of the Buenos Aires’ upper class, an Law student and a good tango dancer, who was killed at age 22, on January 31, 1898, by Juan B. Passo, el Ñato Pose, in the famous “Cuartos de Adela”, coffee, inn and dance place, in Alvear y Acevedo, Palermo. Homero Manzi wrote a tango inspired in this story, with music by Cristobal Herreros: “Resuenan en baldosas los golpes de tu taco. Desfilan tus corridas por patios de arrabal. Se envuelve tu figura con humo de tabaco y baila en el recuerdo tu bota militar. Refleja nuevamente tu pelo renegrido en salas alumbradas con lámparas de gas. Se pliegan tus quebradas y vuelven del olvido las notas ligeritas de Arolas y Bazán. Ramayón, ya no estás con tu noche tras el blanco calor del pernó. Ya no pasa trotando tu coche, ya no brilla tu bota charol. Y no está con su traje de raso la que entonces por buena y por leal, afirmada en tu inmóvil abrazo fue también tu pareja final. Aplauden tu elegancia las palmas de otro tiempo. Las cuerdas empolvadas resuenan otra vez. Y en el fugaz milagro de un breve encantamiento reviven las cenizas de todo lo que fue. Un plomo de venganza te busca de repente. Se aflojan los resortes violentos del compás. Se pinta en tu pañuelo la rosa de la muerte y el tango del destino te marca su final.” “Ramayón”, Homero Manzi, Cristobal Herreros, by Nelly Omar and guitars (listen). Juan Bautista Passo, el Ñato Posse, had been imprisoned for his criminal adventures, but thanks to his contacts with a leader of the Conservative Party, who paid for his services, fast out of jail. The movie “Historia de 900” (1949 -watch), written, directed and performed by Hugo Del Carril, portrays the relationship between the upper class and the marginal “orilleros” of Buenos Aires in the framework of tango: they accepted the same ideals of virile manhood, courage, true to their words, and a vision that sees life and love as a game to be played with your whole self. Mariano “Maco" Milani was another handsome and very elegant young man of the Argentine high society, of straight hair and very white skin. When he began drinking too much, lost his shape  and got a red nose. Tall, impeccable, he lived a truly pompous life. Margarita Verdier, or Verdiet, whom some called "La Oriental "and "La Rubia Mireya”, resident of the neighborhood of Almagro, Castro Barros 433. Daughter of French parents born in Uruguay, had a reputation for "night owl", given to the "dance of the compadritos”, as tango was stigmatized by then. She was immortalized by Manuel Romero and Francisco Canaro in the tango “Tiempos viejos” (listen). There a few movies in which she is portrayed: "Los muchachos de antes no usaban gomina” (Manuel Romero 1937 - watch), “La Rubia Mireya” (Manuel Romero 1948 - watch), and “Los muchachos de antes no usaban gomina” (Enrique Carreras 1969 - watch). Elías Alippi, tango dancer, actor and theater and film director, playwright of comedies and sainetes (1883-1942). He debuted on the scene in 1904 dancing a tango with Anita Posed in "Justicia criolla”, zarzuela by Ezequiel Soria, music of Antonio Reynoso, who that season replied the company of Jerónimo Podestá. He was also one of the best dancers of the local "María la Vasca" and other nightspots of that time, as well as on stage. He danced for the last time in the film ”Así es la vida" (1939 - watch), with the actress and singer Sabina Olmos. As playwright, he included tangos in many of his works. The troupe Muiño-Alippi played a decisive role in the advent of the tango-canción: on April 26, 1918, in the sainete of José González Castillo and Alberto T. Weisbach, “Los dientes del perro”, which premiered in Theatre Buenos Aires, appeared, in a cabaret scene, Manolita Poli accompanied by the orchestra of Roberto Firpo, singing the tango by Samuel Castriota and Pascual Contursi, “Mi noche triste” (listen). La Parda Deolinda shined in the Academias de Montevideo, milonguera and owner of a dancing place. Pintín Castellanos tells us that she was “gifted with a gorgeous body and a hell of a character, and an extraordinary ability to dance with 'cortes y quebradas' (...) the men, despite their proven courage, did not risked much with her. "Between 1880 and 1886, Police Chief Apolinario Gayoso deported her because of the many squabbles in which was protagonist, to Buenos Aires. Here, he continued with her dancing and bravery … She died in a duelo criollo!”. La Parda Loreto, also know for her willingness to get into fights, was born in 1860 and danced in the 80s, in the “peringundines” of Suipacha and El Temple (Viamonte), in the "Milonga de la Calle Chile" (actually called Patria e Lavoro, located in Chile 1567), in the Teatro Politeama (Corrientes 1490, demolished in 1950, today a parking), and already older, in the Salón San Martin, popularly known as "Rodríguez Peña". When her charms were dissipated, worked -always faithful to her environment- as manger of a burdel. La Parda Refucilo danced in the early 80s in the academia located in Independencia and Combate de los Pozos, famous for “la gente de bronce" that frequented it and the prestige of the dancers, and was partner in the milongas and in life, of a famous milonguero of that time nicknamed el Biundín. Francisco Ducasse, one of his dancing partners was named Mimí Pinsonette. He was married to the actress Angelina Pagano. He used to frequent «lo de Hansen». Francisco García Jiménez says that the very charming princess de Murat was intertwined with the tango skill of the fine handsome young man of Buenos Aires, on tour in Paris, in a tango competition organized by the journal Excelsior at the Fémina theater on the avenue of the Champs-Elysées. Obviously, they were awarded the first prize. He was born and died in Buenos Aires. María La Tero: In the article about tango published in Crítica newspaper on September 22, 1913, “Viejo Tanguero” included her in a list of prestigious female dancers that went to the well-known dancehall on Independencia and Pozos. Julián Centeya, in his book “El misterio del tango”, describes her as tall and skinny. La Parda Flora was very well known by 1880, so much that she is mentioned in "Milonga de Tancredi" ("The other night at Tancredi / I danced with Boladora / was the Brown and Flora; / what he saw me, he estriló"). She showed up her art in La Pandora of La Boca, in peringundines of Corrientes and had its own academia in 25 de Mayo and Viamonte, to spend her final years in Flores. It is also remembered in the milonga “En lo de Laura” (listen), of Enrique Cadícamo and Antonio Polito: “Milonga de aquel entonces que trae un pasado envuelto... De aquel 911 ya no te queda ni un vuelto... Milonga que en lo de Laura bailé con la parda Flora... Milonga provocadora que me dio cartel de taura... Ah... milonga 'e lo de Laura... Milonga de mil recuerdos milonga del tiempo viejo. Qué triste cuando me acuerdo si todo ha quedado lejos... Milonga vieja y sentida ¿quién sabe qué se ha hecho de todo? En la pista de la vida ya estamos doblando el codo. Ah... milonga 'e lo de Laura... Amigos de antes, cuando chiquilín, fui bailarín compadrito... Saco negro, trensillao, y bien afrancesao el pantalón a cuadritos... ¡Que baile solo el Morocho! -me solía gritar la barra 'e los Balmaceda... Viejos tangos que empezó a cantar la Pepita Avellaneda... ¡Eso ya no vuelve más!” “En lo de Laura”, Enrique Cadícamo and Antonio Polito, by Ángel D’Agostino and Ángel Vargas (listen). There is a movie, made in 1952, "La Parda Flora" (see here). Sisters Balbina (Rosa and Maria) acted in the Stella di Roma, in Corrientes and Uruguay, known as El baile de Pepin. It was the first dance house which was established in the center and the most famous doe to the attraction exerted by the Balbina sisters. This house was one of those that adopted the system of covering the organito with a mattress, so that the sound couldn’t be heard at the street and reach the ears of the police authority. La Gaucha Manuela, referred by Roberto Firpo in an interview with Dr. Benarós: "I started playing the piano at the Velodrome, in 1907, with Bevilacqua. Then I was twenty years old and came from the Corrales, of Rioja and Caseros. The owner of The Velodrome was Pesce, I believe the father of who was later the owner of Luna Park. The place occupied an area of about four blocks. In the center was a mound of dirt. Inside, a track, used by cyclists. To get there you needed to go through a dirt road, which sometimes became mud. It was two blocks from Hansen. Drinks were served on tables placed under the trees. It had rooms, also. From The Velodrome you could see when music was playing in lo de Hansen. The Gaucha Manuela was a regular there, and was the kept woman of a rich young man called Del Carril, which I believe expended on her four or five millions. She was brunette, very pretty, and very ‘criolla’ when speaking. She was a wonderful dancer, capable of grabbing a knife and start with the blows. I dedicated a tango "La Gaucha Manuela”(listen) to her. We were asked for these dedications, and sometimes the person asking for it payed us a hundred pesos. I dedicated the tango “To the distinguished Miss Manuela Lopez." I earned one peso a day and some tips. There were no women. Each men had to bring his own.” Juana Rebenque, referred by Juan Santa Cruz -brother of the author of “Unión Cívica" (listen) - (quote from Dr. Benarós): “She lived in small tin roof house, like all the houses at 'El Pueblo de las Ranas'. You get inside you had to bent down. She did not even had a rate. She charged whatever you gave her. She never came to downtown. She was tall, thin, with a big nose, and beautiful. She lived with a man called Fernandez. She was mentioned in some famous verses of the time: 'Hará cosa ‘e una semana / que un canfinflero mistongo / me convidó pa’ un bailongo / en el Pueblo de las Ranas. / Las principales bacanas / de la ranil población / cayeron a la función / lindamente enfaroladas, / porque habían sido invitadas / con tarjetas de cartón.'” El Flaco Saúl: A landowner who stands out among the first tango dancers. According to "Viejo Tanguero”: “he was able to interpret tango in two styles: the original, vivid, complex, full of figures and ‘quebradas', of great agility, with strength and character, and the smooth tango, which developed at the time called the ‘Guardia Vieja', as a necessity to adapt to female dancers who would not follow the primitive style, which later was defined as the characteristic style to dance the tango of the so called 'Guardia Nueva', or 'cabaret tango.'" Filiberto, Juan “Mascarilla”, father musician and composer Juan de Dios Filiberto. Eminent tango dancer of the first period; natural and spontaneous creator. Owner or administrator "Bailetín El Palomar", then the "Tancredi" (c. 1882), nearby recreational Suarez and Necochea, in the heart of La Boca. We quote from an interview by 'La Canción Porteña' (Buenos Aires, 1963) in which his son tells us: "'My father was cheerful, a bit careless of all things, but simple and good, had an easy laugh and good sense of humor in his eyes and always good jokes escaping from his mouth. He sang in a nice tenor voice, which I liked to listen. Dancer by nature, of the best tango dancers of La Boca; his reputation was well recognized. According to his character he worked on the most different and contradictory jobs, from owner of dance halls to sailor, wrestler or construction worker. He was a friend and often also bodyguard of Pepe Fernandez, strongman and leader of La Boca, which was first supporter of Mitre and then of General Roca. He possessed an extraordinary power, often acting in the circus Rafetto wrestling and weight lifter." Mariano, mentioned by "Viejo Tanguero" (1913) as a regular of “Scudo de Italia”. He was one of those which popularity was earned thanks to the correctness of his dance. The tango lovers stopped dancing and made a circle to watch hind dancing, to admire and applaud the difficult execution of figures invented by him and that no one else could imitate. He owned a large commercial establishment that was located on the street Sarmiento and Carlos Pellegrini. Arturo De Nava, composer, singer pre-gradeliano. Was born apparently in Paysandú in 1876 and died in Buenos Aires, where he had settled since his youth, on October 22, 1932 .... Initially, a natural dancer with great style, he was the first one to earn fame on the stage, prior to Ain and Alippi, dancing tangos in plays since 1903 in the Podestá troupe. He was very handsome. Because of his appearance, unmistakable, his photographs appear illustrating several editions of the popular magazine Caras y Caretas of Buenos Aires, in 1903. " Pancho Panelo, he belongs to the category of rich dancers. Domingo Greco told that this man had so much serenity to dance, and did it with a glass of champagne in his head without spilling a single drop of liquid. Pedrín “La Vieja”. Domingo Greco says in his memoirs: "Then came a certain Pedrín, that was my classmate: we nicknamed him ‘La Vieja (The Old Lady)". He used to live at Chile street, between Tacuarí and Piedras. He brought tango to its maximum refinement. Even before 1900 he was the best dancer known. He had a lot of initiative. He was elegant, very musical, and with an amazing speed in his legs. In a word, he was the best of all times. Benito Bianquet "El Cachafaz" emerged as his only imitator.” I have been asking myself why dancers often have a reputation for being sexual, feisty, rebellious, irreverent, marginal, indifferent to what people say about them, but also elegant, tough, self reliant, respectable, admired…? On one hand, I believe that a real dancer is a person for whom life is a dance (“La vida es una milonga”). This approach is not as easy to take as we may suppose. It requires strength and discipline beyond the majority of people’s possibilities and/or willingness. If not, why would a skill not make you rich, an approach to life that is not of great value from a utilitarian perspective on life, would be embraced with the passion, perseverance and stamina that to be a GOOD DANCER requires? On the other hand, all negative qualifications attached to dancers come not from other GOOD DANCERS, but from those who are not. It is perhaps a form of revenge from the ones whom value resides in being useful to society -a laudable situation- against those whose major contribution is an uninterested and useless beauty which can’t be sold in the markets. In my own experience, all the GREAT MILONGUEROS that I have met in my life, many of whom I had the fortune and the honor to have as my teachers, are (or were -in the case of those that have passed away-) GREAT PEOPLE, incredibly wise and have great sensitivity and common sense, reliable people, generous, respectable, and among many other wonderful qualities, the best at their day jobs and professions. And the bottom line is that for me, everything that I have achieved in my dance has made me a better person. And I still have room to improve. Read also: History of Tango – Part 1 History of Tango – Part 2 History of Tango - Part 3 History of Tango - Part 5 History of Tango - Part 6 History of Tango - Part 7 Bibliography: “Crónica general del tango”, José Gobello, Editorial Fraterna, 1980. “El tango”, Horacio Salas, Editorial Aguilar, 1996. “Historia del tango – La Guardia Vieja”, Rubén Pesce, Oscar del Priore, Silvestre Byron, Editorial Corregidor 1977. “El tango, el gaucho y Buenos Aires”, Carlos Troncaro, Editorial Argenta, 2009. Sex & Danger in Buenos Aires: Prostitution, Family, and Nation in Argentina. By Donna J. Guy José María Otero Guillermo Brizuela Arcón de Buenos Aires Reseña de mujeres bailarinas. Por Luis Alposta and Oscar Himschoot: Images SaveSave SaveSave
  • + TANGO +
    History of Tango - Part 3: La Guardia Vieja
    March 3, 2016
    Part 1 Between 1860 and 1915 Buenos Aires experienced an exponential growth. The “Gran Aldea” (Great Village) became a cosmopolitan city, which, despite its isolated geographic location, was one of the greatest cities of the world. It was during this period of time of multiethnic and multicultural interaction, that tango developed its unique characteristics and became a cultural identity, a philosophy of life and a lifestyle. Its name was not mention in well-mannered conversations. It was rising up protected and cared for by very strong people, the only ones who would not care about its bad reputation and defy the rejection by the comfortable, afraid and obedient society. It needed to develop in places that were prohibited to a society that denied that a completely new creature was coming to life. A creature that was not a child of a well established family, in the portrait of religions and hypocritical political speeches. A being that was happily excited to deal with the chaos of unpredictability, with all that can't be rationalized, accounted for and fit in the big plan laid out by the ruling classes for the population of that corner of the world. Even when tango began to enter family homes and broadly accepted social events, the name tango would not be used as the label to refer to it, nor would the musicians use this term to describe the orchestras. The dance technique that today we associate to tango and milonga, the “cortes and quebradas”, was in its origins a dance technique created by the “chinas” and “compadritos” and applied to all kinds of danceable music played in Rio de La Plata: “mazurca”, “polca”, “habanera”, “cuadrilla”, “lanceros”, waltz (called “vals cruzado” when danced in this way), “pasodoble”, “Spanish tango”, tango and milonga. Later this technique of dancing remained in Argentine tango (referred at the time as “tango criollo”), milonga and vals criollo, because these music styles were better suited to it. On September 9, 1862, four men and two women were put in jail for dancing “tirando cortes y quebradas” at a conventillo of Paraguay 58 (today, in Puerto Madero). The police report does not mention tango or milonga. It was on September 28, 1897, that for the first time we find that the “cortes and quebradas” are elements associated to the choreography of a particular music called tango. It is at the play written by Ezequiel Soria “Justicia Criolla”: “Era un domingo de carnaval Y al “Pasatiempo” fuime a bailar. Hablé a la Juana para un chats Y a enamorarla me decidí. En sus oídos me lamenté Me puse tierno y tanto hablé, Que la muchacha se conmovió Con mil promesas de eterno amor. Hablé a la mina de mi valor Y que soy hombre de largo spor, Cuando el estrilo quiera agarrar Vos, mi Juanita, me has de calmar. Y ella callaba y entonces yo Hice prodigios de ilustración, Luego, en un tango, che, me pasé Y a puro corte la conquisté.” And also: “Qué cosa más rica...! Cuando bailando un tango con ella, me la afirmo en la cadera y me dejo ir al compás de la música y yo me hundo en sus ojos negros y ella dobla en mi pecho su cabeza y al dar vuelta, viene la quebradita... Ay! hermano se me vá, se me vá... el mal humor.” The following year, in 1898, “El entrerriano”, the first Argentine tango registered by a known author, was published. This was the time before recordings, when the music was commercialized by publishing it in music sheets. The author, Rosendo Mendizábal, was an Afro-Argentinean born in 1868 (and died in 1913). Coming from a wealthy family, he was able to study piano. His lifestyle made him squander his fortune, and so he began to teach piano lessons and to play in all kind of brothels and dancing houses, from the ones of the poorest clientele, to those visited by the wealthiest people, like “Lo de Laura (Monserrat)”, in Palermo, Paraguay 2512, where he premiered “El entrerriano”, and dedicated it to Ricardo Segovia, a landowner born in Entre Rios, who gave Rosendo a $100 bill. This was a common practice among composers, before the benefits of authors’ rights. Before the publication of tangos, they became known only from the authors playing them over and over again in many places. When a tango was fortunate enough to be accepted by the audience, it was frequently requested, contributing to the recognition of the piece and its creator. Sometimes another musician would like a song and learn it by listening to it, and then incorporate it to his repertoire. But since the time that it began to be written, it was easier to propagate it. Eventually, musicians were able to play more and more varied songs, city sponsored orchestras, military and police bands and club’s orchestras would be able to play them, contributing to a greater and more efficient divulgation of tango. It was also the way it could surreptitiously enter the family homes, hidden between piano methods and Chopin’s waltzes. And, it made possible the printed rolls for “organitos”, which played a major role in initial spread of tango, and prepared the ears of those who liked tango from the beginning to accept a new instrument that became central to tango and transformed it: the bandoneon. Enrique Santos Discépolo’s father, José Luis Roncallo (who was presumably the one that first suggested tango music for them) and Ángel Villoldo (who probably wrote “El Choclo” to be played through this media) were involved in the construction of the first locally made cylinders for organitos. Related to this need of mobility that the primitive tango required to spread itself and survive, was the portability of the instruments of its origins. The guitar was the “criollo” (autochtones) instrument par excellence, which the payadores choose to accompany their singing. It is, indeed, a privileged instrument to accompany the human voice, but the payadores that were already laureate and socially accepted, wouldn’t, in general, risk losing their contracts playing such dubious music. The violin was also a very popular instrument. Wind instruments rose in popularity to the extent that they showed up more and more in bands and theatre orchestras of the time. The harmonica also played a powerful role, especially in the hands of Ángel Villoldo. These instruments that first played tango allowed its music to be frisky, lively and shaky because they were high pitch and light instruments than can easily be played fast. Later, with the introduction of the “bordoneos” (melodies and bridges played in the lowest pitch range of the guitar strings), the incorporation of the concertina and the Italian accordion, it will start a process of slowing down that will reach its depth with the bandoneon and the lower pitch string instruments. It is during this period that the bandoneon became the most characteristic instrument of tango. In 1899, “El Pibe” Ernesto Ponzio (1885-1934) publishes “Don Juan”.  “El Pibe” Ponzio played the violin “sacando chispas” (extracting sparks from it), according to the testimony left to us by Gabino Ezeiza. When his father (also musician) dies, he needed to help his family, and went to play in canteens, dance parties and on the streetcars. Soon he was asked to play at the most famous places of the time, like “Lo de Hansen”, “Lo de Laura”, “Lo de María La Vasca” and “Lo de Mamita”, Lavalle 2177, among many others. At this last one, it is said, he premiered “Don Juan”, dedicating it to Juan Cabello, a well known “compadre del arrabal” porteño.  This tango was the first one recorded with bandoneon by Vicente Greco and his orchestra in 1910. In 1924, when playing in Rosario, he shot and killed a man, and was condemned to 20 years in prison. He had other previous violent incidents on his record, but he was pardoned in 1928 and returned to playing. According to his wife, he was not a violent person. He was handsome, kind and always smiling, even when playing, but his talent, his overwhelming energy and charm as musician, dancer, artist and person, provoked the envy and jealousy of those for whom beauty does not regard respect and tried to impose their mediocrity with shear force. “El Pibe” Ernesto considered a lack of honesty with himself, with those who he loved and with his art, to retreat in the cases of being insulted by disrespectful attitudes to people and what it is beautiful in life. He stood for his thoughts and ideals in every moment, even difficult ones, and dealt with the consequences. The only recording of “El Pibe” Ernesto Ponzio is in this scene from the first sound film made in Argentina, “Tango!”, of 1933, playing his most celebrated composition: In 1899 they closed the last “Academias” that remained in Montevideo, while the tango came to wider audiences entering the theater, tents, circuses, dance halls and cabarets. Following this development, the original “tango canyengue” was transformed and made more “decent", smoothing or eliminating completely the “cortes y quebradas” and the most straight forward sexual elements of its practice, giving birth to the tango “salon”, also known as tango “de pista” or ‘liso”. Most of the precursors of tango music were also well recognized as great dancers. Ángel Villoldo (1861-1919) is considered by many “El padre del Tango” (The father of Tango), and unanimously considered the most representative artist of the Guardia Vieja. Little is known about his childhood, and the information about his youth is many times contradictory. From an interview made to him by the newspaper “La Razón” in 1917, we know that he was “cuarteador”[1] of “La Calle Larga” (The Long Street, today’s Montes de Oca) at the time that his interest in music appears, and that he sung and played guitar and harmonica. Between 1879 and 1886 he was typographer at the newspaper “La Nación” and Jacobo Peuser's print, conductor of the carnival choir “Los Nenes de Mamá Viuda”, libretista for choir societies, herdsman in two slaughterhouses of Buenos Aires, clown at “Raffeto” circus. Around 1900 he began to be known as payador, composer and singer in “Corrales Viejos” (Parque Patricios), Barracas, La Boca, Constitución, San Telmo, Palermo, and in Recoleta for the celebrations of the Virgen María in September. At these celebrations, big tents were erected for several days. They started to be frequented by “compadres” and “cuchilleros”[2], so its original character was replaced for another, less family oriented, of alcohol, dancing and knife fighting. At these gatherings, in which the life of a man was of little value, everyone respected Ángel Villoldo, who performed there his first tangos. The tango was still in development and had not yet achieved a defining shape. The first works of Villoldo were milongas of payador style that described characters and current events of the places that he frequented. These first songs are very valuable testimonies of these times and its people. Like this milonga that makes reference at the known rivalry between cart drivers (carreros) and streetcars drivers (cocheros): "El Carrero y el Cochero", listen... Villoldo’s lyrics are “cheerful, wittily talkative, sometimes in jest, but never bawdy. The compadres of his stories are reliable criollos, as its creator, who recently left the horse on the outskirts of the city, men in whom the knife is not yet ostentatious bravado, but defense of honor and cause”[3]. His rise to fame came in 1903 when the singer Dorita Miramar sung “El Porteñito” in the varieté Parisiana, of Esmeralda Street, obtaining a great success. Pepita Avellaneda had already sung several of his compositions a year earlier on Avenida de Mayo. Soon other female singers included his songs in their repertoire. In the same year, 1903, José Luis Roncallo premiered “El Choclo” at the restaurant “El Americano”, labeling it as “danza criolla”, since the category of the place did not admit including tangos in the playlist. After the truth was known, the audience demanded it to be played every night. It was not publish until 1905. At Christmas day in 1905, Villoldo is woke up at 7 am by Enrique Saborido who was up all night writing a song and needed a lyric for it. He knew that Villoldo was fast, that he could improvise verses as a payador. The night before, at Christmas Eve, Saborido was mocked by his friends for paying too much attention to the Uruguayan singer Lola Candales. They challenged him to write a song for her. He took the challenge and promised to have the song ready to be sung by Lola next day. At 10 am they presented to Lola “La Morocha”, which she premiered that night. This tango was of great success, not only in Buenos Aires, Montevideo, Argentina and Uruguay, but copies of the music sheet were taken to many port cities around the world by the school-ship Fragata Sarmiento. Villoldo finds humor in daily life events. In 1906 the Police Chief of Buenos Aires ordered a fine of 50 pesos to those who say “piropos” (compliments) to a woman in the street, and Villoldo composes  “Cuidao con los 50!”. He tries to get extra advertisement for his song, so he goes to the street and start to “piropear” to every woman he sees, expecting to be denounced and fined, making of his song a way of protest, but all he got was a sweet “viejo enamorado” reply from one lady. Around those years, “El esquinazo”, another of his compositions, is prohibited to be played at “Lo de Hansen” because the crowd beat their glasses on their tables accompanying the song, breaking them, making it too expensive for the business. In 1907 he was sent by the department store Gath y Chaves, the most successful of Buenos Aires at the time, to make some of the first tangos and Argentine music recordings to Paris with Alfredo Eusebio and Flora Gobbi (the parents of the great  orchestra conductor Alfredo Gobbi). The recordings of Villoldo songs, already successful, potentialize their success. Edison invented the phonograph in 1877. The sound quality on the phonograph was bad and each recording lasted for one only play. Edison's phonograph was followed by Alexander Graham Bell’s graphophone. It could be played many times, however, each cylinder had to be recorded separately making the mass reproduction of the same music impossible with the graphophone. On November 8 1887, Emile Berliner, a German immigrant working in Washington D.C., patented a successful system of sound recording. Berliner was the first inventor to stop recording on cylinders and start recording on flat disks. The first records were made of glass, later zinc, and eventually plastic. A spiral groove with sound information was etched into the flat record. The record was rotated on the gramophone. The "arm" of the gramophone held a needle that read the grooves in the record by vibration and transmitting the information to the gramophone speaker. Berliner's disks (records) were the first sound recordings that could be mass-produced by creating master recordings from which molds were made. These inventions where taking place at the time that tango was becoming more and more popular, and are of vital importance to the history of tango. Being in Paris, Villoldo subscribed to the Authors and Composers Association of France, following which then created in Buenos Aires in 1908 “La Sociedad del Pequeño Derecho”, precursor of “SADAIC”, created by, among others, Francisco Canaro, Osvaldo Fresedo, Augusto Berto, Agustín Bardi, Enrique Santos Discépolo and Francisco García Jiménez. This institution and its precedent, “Círculo Argentino de Autores Compositores de Música”, and “Asociación de Autores y Compositores de Música”, play an important role in the history of tango and its existence, since thank to them, the authors, composers and musicians of tango were able to make a living. Back in Buenos Aires, in 1908, we could find Villoldo playing in La Boca, at the “Café Concert” of Suarez and Necochea streets, the center of tango of the moment, where, in different places, Canaro, Greco, Firpo and others were playing. Villoldo performed a solo act, playing guitar, harmonica (attached to his body in the manner of Bob Dylan), singing, storytelling, and standup comedy and dancing. From that year is his milonga “Matufias, o el Arte de Vivir”, which is seeing as precursor of Discépolo’s “Cambalache”. Villoldo was also journalist and wrote plays. In 1913 he writes the lyrics for “El 13”. This will be his last great hit. Tango changes and “La Guardia Vieja” is giving place to “La Guardia Nueva” and the tangos that Carlos Gardel recorded with Contursi’s lyrics. In 1917 the duet Gardel-Razzano made their first recording with a Villoldo’s song; “Cantar eterno”. It was the magic of tango linking the two eras. [1] Was a person whom driving a team of horses pulled a vehicle that was stuck in the mud or in need of help in a hill climbing. [2] Quarrelers who use knives to fight. [3] José Gobello “Historia del Tango”, “La Guardia Vieja”, Editorial Corregidor 1977, page 364. Read also: History of Tango - Part 1 History of Tango - Part 2 History of Tango - Part 4 Bibliography: “Crónica general del tango”, José Gobello, Editorial Fraterna, 1980. “El tango”, Horacio Salas, Editorial Aguilar, 1996. “Historia del tango – La Guardia Vieja”, Rubén Pesce, Oscar del Priore, Silvestre Byron, Editorial Corregidor 1977. “El tango, el gaucho y Buenos Aires”, Carlos Troncaro, Editorial Argenta, 2009.
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    Advanced Level Workshops
    February 23, 2016
    Sunday to be announce. 2 to 4 pm Two hours workshop Where: La Pista Tango Studio, 3450 3rd Street, Unit 5-H, San Francisco, CA 94124. Nice parking lot with 20 locations right at the door!!! See more details, click here. Pre-registration is required. Space is limited. $40.00 for one 2 hours workshop for individual. Purchase online, click here. $72.00 for one 2 hour workshops for one couple. Purchase online, click here. 4 and 8 classes cards can be used to pay for these workshops (ATTENTION: not 8 weeks training cards). 2 hours of classes will be deducted. Go to Pricing options page, click here. "Tango is subtlety, elegance and emotion", words of wisdom of my teacher Blas Catrenau. In these workshops we work on: Posture, Walking, Embrace, and Musicality. When I was prepared enough and brave enough to start going to milongas in Buenos Aires, often my eyes would be directed to a milonguero in the room whose way of moving was so particularly effortless, spontaneous, witty in one moment and so deep and thoughtful in the next moment, that I couldn’t avoid approaching him, respectfully, and asking him if he taught and/or would teach me to dance Tango. The answer I always got from these gentlemen was in its essence the same: “I can only teach you the posture and to walk, then it's up to you to listen to the music, and if you have emotions inside yourself, then, you will dance". To know about the most efficient posture necessary for dancing Tango in particular, dancing in general, but also for the benefit of your whole life, is research of our own posture before starting to dance, the forces that shape how the body stands upright when resting, when getting ready for the pursuit of a goal, when presenting ourselves to others and the way we enjoy the mere fact of being alive. Then, exposing the body to what challenges it -although we desire it- to find out what needs to be changed to respond most efficiently to achieve our goals of making a challenge become something familiar to us, discovering the habits that shape our perceptions, voluntary actions and involuntary reactions; being creative in finding exercises that help us reshape our habits, with the aim of obtaining habits that serve us better. This is a never-ending process that is at the core of the attitude of a dancer, a milonguera or milonguero. Our human walk defines us. It is rooted in our upright posture, carrying this posture throughout the surface of Earth. Nature, evolution or the Divine, or all of those, gifted us with a very efficient walking apparatus, that saves energy to be used by our brains, protects the brain from being damaged by mechanical shocks, and elevates our gaze to be aware of our surroundings. As a consequence of this, we became the technologically gifted creature that modifies the world to make our own existence even more efficient, for example: developing smooth surfaces, like dance floors. Read more, click here. Listening to music requires a sensitivity that can be taught, trained, developed and improved, in the same manner that a musician studies and trains. A dancer is a musician, whose instrument is her/his body. A milonguera/o is a Tango musician who plays the whole couple as a musical instrument. Read more, click here. Every exercise to improve our technique, our efficiency, elegance, is nothing more or less than to make us more sensitive and more precise in how we perceive and manifest our emotions. It is not possible to dance without our emotions. Furthermore, we, human beings, do not exist if we remove our emotions. Remove all emotions from yourself and what is left is not a “rational being” but “nothing”. “Rationality” is only an explanation, a justification of our procedures, happening after the fact. In “the moment” you are not calculating, you are feeling, even the measurements that you take. You assess these measurements emotionally-qualitatively. Often meditators refer to the train of thoughts previous to the clearing of the mind, but emotions are also running through those train tracks. Dancing requires the discipline of letting emotions come and go, as the thought trains that prepare the mind for its clearance. Dancing provides you, eventually, with emotional clarity; although to reach that you need to learn to accept confusion. In these workshops we will assess these four topics through exercises, repetition, practice and risk into creation. See also: Schedule. Our teaching philosophy and method. Frequently Asked Questions. About us. Contact us.
  • Osvaldo y Coca Cartery. Maestros milongueros. Escuela de Tango de Buenos Aires.
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    Culture, Buenos Aires and why Tango
    January 1, 2016
    Let’s say you’re in Buenos Aires and you’re looking for a class or milonga. Typically, you might do some research using the internet or follow the advice of someone you don’t know that well, which could lead you to missing out on what only Buenos Aires has to offer in relation to Tango.
  • Escuela de Tango de Buenos Aires.articles about Argentine Tango. By Marcelo Solis.
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    What makes you a good dancer, and Escuela de Tango de Buenos Aires
    December 30, 2015
    The Escuela de Tango de Buenos Aires is an enterprise entirely dedicated to Tango.  It is through Tango that we understand culture. It is a way of life. It is a way to see our own lives in the context of realities such as society, individuality, beauty, responsibility. These words seem abstract, but they manifest as real problems in our everyday life. Tango lends the experience of past generations, gives us the perspective of how people in the past lived and danced, of the mistakes they made in the process. It offers us the opportunity to make better choices in the present, and through our sense of responsibility, personal strength and awareness, to make life more beautiful. Tango shows us that our individual lives are meaningless without a connection to past generations and traditions that link us to others in the present and throughout history. Passion for life, which we can only achieve and sustain through our subjectivity, is necessary to give meaning to our lives and make valuable contributions to society. What I am describing can be found in the lyrics of many tango songs. For example, below is a verse from “Canción de rango”: “Que bailen los que vienen pa’ bailar, que escuchen los que quieran escuchar. Pa’ todos hay un tango acompasado, pretencioso y retobado reinando en mi ciudad.” This first verse talks about society, made up of uncountable individuals driven by their own passions: dancing, enjoying the music… there is something in tango for everyone. Tango is for all. Another verse: “Yo canto porque vivo la emoción del tango cadencioso y compadrón.” In these lyrics the individual presents his motives: passion, emotions. Still, these passions are related to something that transcends him as an isolated individual: Tango. And finally: “Yo canto cuando alguno pega el grito que hay un tango compadrito buscando un corazón.” This verse demonstrates how he is moved by responsibility of responding to a call from Tango and others. If you listen to any rendition of this song, you will be moved by the total commitment of the orchestra/singer into the composition. The authors, Suñé and Kaplún, really left the ball ready for a goal in this match. I enjoy all of them: Demare/Arrieta, Biagi/Acuna, Tanturi/Castillo, Caló/Rufino, Pugliese/Córdoba, Troilo/Goyeneche. I just discovered the last one: I am not going to talk about the dance. You must do it, if you want to know anything about it. It is pure beauty. The Escuela de Tango de Buenos Aires is based in Buenos Aires, where it has a staff of regular and guest maestros such as Olga Besio, Blas Catrenau and Luciana Guido, Myriam Pincen, Néstor La Vitola, Verónica Olivera, among many more, and Néstor Pellicciaro, who is also one of the co-directors. The other co-director (and author of this article) is me, Marcelo Solis, working in San Francisco Bay Area. ETBA also has branches in Europe and Asia. Since tango is a globalized phenomenon that is rooted in Buenos Aires, we promote a strong connection to the roots of tango at each branch abroad. Teachers at every location organize classes and events keeping in mind that their goal is to see their students dancing in Buenos Aires’ milongas, helping them to integrate to the milonguero culture. In order to make that possible, every year, the Escuela organizes several tours to the Tango capital. See more information about tours here… I recently came back from Buenos Aires where I was guiding my tour. The experience was very positive, and all of the participants became better dancers. That makes me feel deeply happy and proud. And now the question is… what makes you a good dancer? My answer in the framework of Tango: 1.    To be madly in love with the music. Tango originates as a dance first, and then a specific music was associated to it. The first milongueros would dance using the particular technique of dancing based on the embrace, to the rhythms in vogue at the second half of the 1800’s: waltz, polka, habanera, that came to the port of Buenos Aires from abroad, and a local rhythm called milonga. Musicians were itinerant at the time. They played improvisations based on popular melodies, and received payment directly from the dancers. The musicians who paid attention to the dancers learned to play to their cadence, the natural inertia of a couple dancing embraced. That was greatly appreciated by the dancers and rewarded with a greater pay. That is how tango evolved as a musical genre. This process went on, with a period where tango was partially disassociated from the dance; the tendency that today, in retrospect, we relate to Carlos Gardel, a singer, and Julio De Caro, a violin player, composer and director. It lasted until 1935, when Juan D’Arienzo initiated the Golden Era of Tango by reconnecting tango to its roots as a dance. The music from that period (that continued strong for a decade, and faded out gradually after –although never completely disappearing) is played nowadays in the milongas in Buenos Aires. That is why it is not possible to understand Tango without passionate love for its music. The music tells you how to dance, tells you what tango is. To read more about the history of Tango, click here. 2.    To have the patience to achieve a great control of your movement, up to the “subtleties” level. Be never satisfied with what you are already able to do. However, do not allow the quest for improvement deprive you and your partner of the joy of dancing. 3.    To have the passion and the commitment to practice, to put aside other things and make time to practice. Nothing will change or improve in your dance without physically doing and repeating your exercises in order to build up the necessary good habits. I heard people saying that this is neurotic obsessive behavior, an addiction, and other similar things. My response to them is: when an activity makes you stronger, wiser, more aware and alert, healthier in general, it cannot be classified so negatively. Although, for some, it may be an escapism... But that is not Tango. 4.    To be generous, pay more attention to your possibilities and opportunities to give, rather than calculating how much you would receive. I tell you right away: it may be a long time before you can truly enjoy it. It is always going to be a work in progress that is never finished. It will ask you to be always in alert mode, to consider more what you can do and how much you can give, not how much good it is given to you. From the moment you go to your first class or your first milonga, the right attitude will be “I come to participate”, rather than “I come to receive”. 5.    To have the desire to share, pay attention to your partner’s joy, to dance “with” your partner. That is the same principle stated in 4, but on the partnership level. At the couple level, tango is made by two people. They have to act as accomplices, give support to each other, encourage their respective strengths, provide support and a friendly challenge in relation to their respective weaknesses. 6.    To respect the other people's space. Tango is intimate, but should not be invasive. That is why, to give one example, “cabeceo” is so essential to tango: you ought to ask a partner from a distance if she or he would allow you to get so intimately closed. A milonguera or milonguero has to be aware of the following: a good dancer is clean, well mannered, respectful, strong, considerate and gentle. 7.    To be humble, even when you have a lot to be proud about. The greatest of the greatest dancers keep learning. 8.    To be aware that Tango is not only “your” Tango, to acknowledge that it has belonged to others before you, to respect what Tango is, so your love for Tango grows on the soil of what has already been done. That implies your acting in order to know tango better, its history, the people who made Tango their lives. 9.    To assume responsibility that others who come after you will get to know Tango from you. I would like you to tell me what other elements, in your opinion, make a good dancer. Please write to me at Warmest regards, Marcelo Solis You may also like to read "What it means to be a good student", click here. "What is Tango?", click here. Also "Dancing is a lot more", click here.
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    December 29, 2015
    Often people get attracted to Tango first by what they see. Then, to be able to reproduce the beauty they had seen, they need to realize that it is not rooted in the geometry of the figures. Furthermore, the music that is danced shapes the proportions of this geometry. If the initial energy that makes us dance comes from our passion, the music is what channels and shapes that energy. You may also like to read "Walking, dancing, body and words", click here. See also: Schedule. Our teaching philosophy and method. Frequently Asked Questions page. About us. Contact us.
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    New series in Walnut Creek begins on November 2. Register now!!!
    September 7, 2015
    Please register in advance at Walnut Creek Recreational Services, 925.943.5858 or online clicking here.  These classes are not drop-in. Where: Social Hall, 1375 Civic Dr, Walnut Creek. $43 for 4 classes. ATTENTION: Class cards, deals and discounts do not apply to these classes. 7:30 pm: Beginner Tango class. In this class the students acquire all necessary elements to get started on the right foot as social dancers. Introduction of lead and follow concept, connection with the partner and the floor, understanding of music, basics of social etiquette and navigation in the context of Argentine Tango. Register online (click here). 8:30 pm: Intermediate Tango class on technique & musicality. For students who can lead and follow comfortably in the embrace, circulate around the floor on the line of dance, make turns, pauses and other necessary maneuvers, and are familiar with tango music. This class dedicates more detailed attention to all the elements, in order to take your dancing to the next level. Register online (click here). Classes program: Beginner Tango: Register online (click here). We offer a series of classes which will give new students an easy way to acquire the foundations of the dance, in group classes, socializing and making new friends in the process.  Class 1: Posture, change of weight, walk, music. Class 2: Posture and walk, crossed system, introduction to pivots, music and phrasing. The four main Orquestas Típicas of the Golden Era. Class 3:  Posture and walk. parallel, crossed system and sides, forward ocho, backward ocho, changes of direction, stops and pauses, crosses and boleos. Other Orquestas Típicas of the Golden Era. Class 4: Posture and walk. parallel, crossed system and sides, forward ocho, backward ocho, changes of direction, stops and pauses, crosses, boleos and turns. Vals and milonga. After this 8 classes introductory series, you will be ready to move on to the intermediate level. Intermediate Tango: Register online (click here). We work on technique and musicality. For students who can lead and follow comfortably in the embrace, circulate around the floor in the line of dance, do turns, pauses and other necessary maneuvers, and are familiar with tango music. This class dedicates more detailed attention to all tango elements. Class 1: Walking and posture. Single and double time walk. History of Tango music. Class 2: Forward and backward ochos. The “Era of Sextets”. Class 3: Parallel, crossed system and sides, walk and sacadas en crossed system, changes of direction, turns and boleos. Orquestas Típicas of the Golden Era. Class 4: Parallel, crossed system and sides, walk and sacadas en crossed system, changes of direction, boleos, turns and other circular movements. Vals and milonga. See also: Schedule. Our teaching philosophy and method. Frequently Asked Questions. About us. Contact us. SaveSave SaveSave SaveSave SaveSave SaveSave
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    Milonga Linda y Sublime in San Jose, Saturday September 16
    August 19, 2015
    Starting with a class with guest Maestros Jorge Kero and Dora, at 8 pm. The goal with every milonga that we organize is to make tango come alive, as if we were in Buenos Aires. At INTERNATIONAL PERFORMING ARTS of AMERICA (former CPAA), 6148 Bollinger Road, San Jose. 8:00 PM CLASS with Maestros Jorge Kero and Dora -  9:00 PM to 1:00 AM MILONGA $20 class and/or milonga. Buy online, click here. FINGER FOOD BEVERAGES PERFORMANCE BY Maestros Jorge Kero and Dora CHACARERA, LATIN & SWING DANCING BEST TANGO MUSIC SURPRISES For questions and reservations, please CONTACT US. For Jorge Kero and Dora couple schedule, click here. See also: Regular schedule. Our teaching philosophy and method. Frequently Asked Questions. About us. Contact us. SaveSave SaveSave SaveSave SaveSave SaveSave
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    Milonga Florida on September 20 with Jorge Kero
    August 18, 2015
    On Wednesday September 20, we are thrill to have our Milonga Florida at La Pista new location, wonderful dance floor, great sound system, to which we will add the best Tango music, the beauty of dancing, finger food and beverages, and our welcoming embrace... 7 pm: Special Guest Masters from Buenos Aires, Jorge Kero and Dora: Milonga Traspie. Register here. 9 pm to midnight: Milonga (Tango dance party). Performance by Jorge and Dora. Musicalizador: Polo Talnir. Where: @ La Pista Tango Studio, 3450 3rd Street, Unit 5-H, San Francisco, CA 94124. Nice parking lot with 20 locations right at the door!!! See more details, click here. See pricing options for classes, click here. $15 milonga only. Click here to pay online.  For Jorge Kero and Dora complete schedule, click here. At Milonga Florida, music includes an exquisite selection of Tango, Milonga and Vals tandas; a friendly and inviting atmosphere, where dancers adhere to the Milonga codes. Experience the connection, join us! Milonga is the place where tango lives. We, the team of Milonga Florida, are committed to making it a home for all who embrace our passion: TANGO. We like to practice the codes of the milonga. They allow each milonguera and milonguero to dance with who they want, when they want, without pressure. The milonga codes allow you to enjoy the maximum freedom, and encourage respect among everyone. Freedom and respect are inseparable. We play music of the Golden Era, beautifully and carefully made by artists who loved tango, and crafted it for great tango dancers. Most of those musicians were milongueros, too, which gave them full understanding of the art form. We like to greet you, give you a place in our hearts, and a physical place at our milonga. Please let us assign a chair at a table for you and your friends. If you come alone we will introduce you to our regulars. We are a group that loves to dance tango, enjoys listening to tango music, and appreciates the culture of tango. We welcome you to share with us that love, joy, and appreciation.  Please let us know if you have any comments, questions, or suggestions.  We want to hear from you. WELCOME TO MILONGA FLORIDA Long Life to Tango Milonga Florida Team See also: Schedule. Our teaching philosophy and method. Frequently Asked Questions. About us. Contact us. SaveSave
  • + TANGO +
    History of Tango - Part 2: The origins of Tango
    May 4, 2015
    How tango came to be is unknown. What we have is information about the history leading up to the rise of Argentina as a state. From these facts, all we can do is speculate about how tango came to be. In 1805 and again in 1807, England tried to invade Buenos Aires, but was repealed successfully by the population, not by the Spanish army, which abandon the city. This paved the way for ideas of independence, which eventually led to the end of the Colonial system and, after a war against Spain and a civil war, the Argentine Republic unified during the decade of 1860. Most of the references related to tango point to this time to signify its origins. The first Argentinean Presidents promoted the immigration of the European workforce, defeated the indigenous people who had still claimed part of the Argentine territory, favored an economic model of production and export of agricultural goods, in accordance with British led ideas of international division of work, and invested in the technology and infrastructure that made possible such model. A modern port was constructed in the area of the Puerto Madero, and a railroad network that transported the whole production of the entire country to this port. Buenos Aires greatly benefitted from these changes and grew exponentially. Between 1871 and 1915, Argentina received 5 million immigrants, mostly Europeans. Almost all of them stayed in Buenos Aires. Buenos Aires, known at that time as “La Gran Aldea” (“The Great Village”), also received other immigrants from the countryside who had been displaced. The gauchos’ natural environment was the Pampas, which became private property of the new landowners. Also, the “chinas”, who were indigenous women whose men were killed in battle, defending their territory. All these new arrivals to Buenos Aires had few resources and were very poor. They could only afford housing in the poorest neighborhoods, where the Afro-Argentineans, descendants of the African slaves, had been populating since 1813's abolition of slavery. They were the locals. If any newcomer wanted to know something about Buenos Aires, they had to ask the Afro-Argentineans, who, before this massive immigration, constituted one-third of the population. Between 1820 and 1850, before the Argentine Constitution was written and immigration was promoted, Argentina was under the administration of Juan Manuel de Rosas. During this time, the Afro-Argentineans enjoyed a period of greater participation and freedom of expression. Rosas was a landowner in the province of Buenos Aires with a very good resume. When he was only thirteen, he fought heroically against the English invasions. Later on, he proved to be a very efficient administrator of cattle ranches and a successful businessman. Rosas created, financed and trained his own militia of gauchos, which would go on to be integrated into the state as an official regiment. They soon earned a reputation of being highly disciplined, and Rosas was able to establish order at the border with the indigenous populations. In 1819, Rosas put this militia at the service of the Governor of the province in order to quell an uprising against him. This is how Rosas became known as “El Restaurador de las Leyes” (”The Restorer of Law’). He became the Governor of the province of Buenos Aires, and during 1835 and 1852 was the main leader of the Argentinean Confederation. This period of Argentina's history is referred to as the “Era of Rosas.” He obtained the necessary support for his administration from the poorer sectors of the population of the City of Buenos Aires (integrated for a majority of Afro-Argentineans), and the gauchos of the countryside close to the City (many of whom were also Afro-Argentinean.) During his tenure, Rosas attended the “candombes” (celebrations) of the Afro-Argentineans as an honored guest. Also, it was during this period that the carnivals began in Buenos Aires. "Abuelita Dominga era muy vieja y vivía en el barrio de los candombes. Del carnaval de Rosas no se olvidaba al cantar esta copla roja de amores: Rosa morena, de la estrella federal, yo se que tu alma está llena de un pasión que es mortal. Rosa morena, todos la vieron pasar, en su garganta morena sangraba un rojo collar. Abuelita Dominga siempre lloraba al recordar la historia de amor y sangre. Y me dio esta guitarra para que un día, la cante como nunca la cantó nadie. Rosa morena, muerta en los cercos en flor la vio una noche serena todo el Barrio del Tambor. Rosa perdida aún dice el viejo cantar que le quitaron la vida porque quiso traicionar." “Rosa Morena (Abuelita Dominga)”, Héctor Blomberg and Enrique Maciel. “Están de fiesta en la calle Larga los mazorqueros de Monserrat. Y entre las luces de las antorchas, bailan los negros de La Piedad. Se casa Pancho, rey del candombe, con la mulata más federal, que en los cuarteles de la Recova, soñó el mulato sentimental. Baila, mulata linda, bajo la luna llena, que al chi, qui, chi del chinesco, canta el negro del tambor. Baila, mulata linda, de la divisa roja, que están mirando los ojos de nuestro Restaurador. Ya esta servida la mazamorra y el chocolate tradicional y el favorito plato de locro, que ha preparado un buen federal. Y al son alegre de tamboriles los novios van a la Concepción y al paso brinda, la mulateada, por la más Santa Federación.” “La mulateada”, Julio Eduardo Del Puerto and Carlos Pesce. Juan Manuel de Rosas’ regime affected all aspects of life in Buenos Aires and the culture. After his fall in 1852, local actors who were popular under his regime were dismissed, and the theaters of the City received foreign companies in their place. The Spanish theater companies from Andalusia were the most popular at that time, with the “sainete” being the main genre offered by these companies. This genre was comprised of shorter pieces, including elements of humor, songs and dance. Soon, the music and dance of tango could be seen on these stages. Also, after Rosas was exiled, the candombes were prohibited in open spaces, so the Afro-Argentineans had to continue them inside. This change of venue forced them to dance closer to each other, shaping the choreographic elements of their dance which eventually fit the embrace of tango. During this period, the word “tango” referred to any dance performed by the Afro-Argentineans. All the necessary elements for tango to appear were there: the Great City of Buenos Aires, the Afro-Argentine culture, the criollo and the gaucho, the native “chinas”, the massive immigration, the reconciliation with the Spanish heritage after the end of the War of Independence, and the open door to the rest of the world through the port. In our modern society, dancing is viewed as a specialized activity, such as a profession or a hobby. For the people of the 1800s, dance was integrated into everyday life. A person was not special because they danced, but they stood out if they did not or could not dance. The Renaissance was the beginning of dance as a modern social activity. Before the Renaissance, dance was a purely ritual activity, with the aim of maintaining a connection between the human realm and the Cosmos, which involved mythological and religious connotations and rationales. Then with the development of the modern city and its lifestyle, and the consequent secularization of all aspects of life, dance assumed a role of facilitating social interaction. In the origins of social dances, we observe no physical contact between partners; then they take each other hands, developing the “minuet” during the 1600s; which led to dancing in each others arms, with the “waltz” in the 1700s. The direction of the evolution of social partner dancing becomes evident: a closing of the distance between the partners that culminates in the embrace of tango. There are two explanations for why the embrace happened in tango, which are not contradictory. The first is the eclectic origins of the dance, which combined techniques of opposite tendencies, like the continuous movement in acceptance of the inertia, characteristic of waltz, and the “figures”, detention of the movement opposing the inertia, characteristic of the dances with separate partners or solo dancers, performed, among others, in the Afro-Argentinean and Andalusian dances. The greater communication made possible in the embrace produced a social partner dance that could have both, the partners united in each others arms, and the figures from the stops of the solo dancers. The other explanation is emotional: the consolation that the embrace gave to all these humans left alone by displacement, economic exile, destruction of their families, cultures and lifestyles. Other characteristics of the new dance were that it was totally improvised, favoring the skill and creativity of the dancers, their spontaneity, in contrast with the repetition of choreographed formulas that the other dances demanded; and the innovation that the woman walks backwards, which contradicted all previous approaches to partner dancing. These elements are rooted in the body language of the criollos, men and women, who were trained in the art of short knife fencing. Due to a cultural demand and the historical realities of the time, it was considered necessary to know how to fight, just as today it is considered necessary to read and write. In a historical situation of rapid transformation of the government and institutions, there was no reliable protection provided to the people, their families or their property. Before the British, who were commissioned by the Argentinean government to construct the railroad network, brought futbol (“football” in England, “soccer” in the United States) to Argentina (effectively making it the most popular sport), the criollos of Buenos Aires practiced “visteo.” Visteo is a variation of fencing using a wooden stick burned in one end, or the index finger painted with grease or ashes, with the purpose of marking the white shirt of the opponent. This is something which was inherited from the gauchos. The popularity of this practice prepared the Porteños of the 1800s with the necessary skills to create the dance of tango. The characteristic elements of the dance of tango were referred as “cortes y quebradas” (cuts and breaks). This dance technique soon became the characteristic dance of the poorest inhabitants of Buenos Aires, Montevideo, Rosario, and the villages located south of Buenos Aires in an area known as “Barracas al sur”, Avellaneda and Sarandí. These women and men received respectively the names of “chinas” and “compadritos.” The massive immigration in Buenos Aires was intended to populate the countryside, but a failure in the implementation of the necessary policies, corruption and the “Panic of 1873” (the great financial crisis that triggered a worldwide economic depression), conspired to detain almost the entire human wave in “The Great Village.” The City was not prepared to receive this amount of people, and housing quickly became one of the most urgent problems to solve. The Andalusian style houses of the Southern side of Buenos Aires, San Telmo and La Boca, were soon creatively transformed into rooms to rent. This type of construction, typical of the Colonial time, constituted a string of rooms aligned one after the other, with doors that opened to a patio or corridor connecting them. Their owners simply made each room a separate apartment to rent. The huge demand for rooms made them expensive, so sometimes more than one family would rent one room and further divide it to make it affordable. This created a very crowded living unit, which was called “conventillo.” In 1871, Buenos Aires suffered a yellow fever epidemic that killed 8% of its population, most of them living in these houses. The situation was so dire (with more than 13,000 people dying in 4 months) that it was necessary to open a new cemetery in the area of La Chacarita. A great proportion of immigrants were male because they did not want to risk their families in the adventures of a “new world.” This created the conditions for the rise of prostitution as a very profitable business. After the 1871 yellow fever epidemic, the authorities of Buenos Aires became more concerned with public health. Among many public health measures, prostitution was regulated. The unintended outcome of this was the differentiation between foreign women and the locals. Foreign women, who did not understand the language and the culture, were lured into being sex slaves by an international network of human traffickers, and had to accept these regulations, fees and taxation. The locals, Afro-Argentineans and native “chinas,” together with the Spanish and Italians, went into hiding. This also satisfied the demand of two different sectors of the market, in accordance with their purchase power, making the “loras” (“parrots”, due to the language barrier) the better off, and the “chinas” (Quechua word for “woman”) the less favored. The legal business, called “casas de tolerancia” (“houses of tolerance”) were located downtown, in the area of Corrientes Street, San Nicolas, Palermo, San Cristobal and Barracas. The clandestine ones were called “cuartos de chinas.” "Milonga del tiempo guapo, milongón de rompe y raja, la bulla del empedrado va marcando tu canción; soy porteño del 80 y al compás de tu canyengue desfilan por mi memoria los recuerdos en montón. Te conocí en los fortines que cuidaban la frontera reclamando los amores de una china cuartelera. Animando las retretas del Parque de Artillería y en la barriada bravía de las Barracas del Sur. Milonga del tiempo guapo, milongón de los milicos, de “kepises” requintados y bombachas de carmín; con tu música sencilla fuiste ley de los porteños, grito de los cuarteadores y alma del piringundín. Te conocí en los corrales de los viejos Mataderos, hecha jerga en los quillangos del recao de un forastero. tu canto fue la corneta del cochero del tranvía y el Palermo de avería tu escuela sentimental." "Del tiempo guapo", Vicente Fiorentino and Marcelo De La Ferrere. The demand was always greater than the supply, meaning customers had to wait. The owners of these houses soon realized that they needed to offer something to these customers while they waited, to keep them from leaving and to entertain them. They began to hire musicians as a form of entertainment. The most popular music at the time was polka, habanera, milonga and a new kind of rhythm called… tango. Sometimes the men who were waiting would dance, which led the owners to the realization that perhaps the dance in itself could generate business. The first “academias” began to open during the 1870s. These were places where men could go and dance with a superb female dancer, improve their skills, and try some new moves, all for a fixed price per song. These women shared the customer’s pay with the owner of the hall. The better dancers were more in demand and would dance nonstop for several hours, song after song, man after man. They did not need to be pretty or possess any other quality outside of being great dancers. The academias were located mainly in the area of Constitución and San Cristobal, and were also very popular in the City of Rosario. The owners and managers of the academias were mostly Afro-Argentineans. Outside the circuit of academias, in 1857, the Spanish musician Santiago Ramos provided a distinctive Andalusian contribution, which in turn recognized Afro-Cuban and African roots. He composed one of the first tango flavored songs known as "Tomá mate, che", a proto-tango with “Rioplatense" lyrics and Andalusian style musical arrangements. It was part of the “sainete” “The Gaucho of Buenos Aires,” which premiered at the Teatro de la Victoria. Also from that time came the proto-tango "Bartolo tenia una flauta” or simply "Bartolo", derived from a classical XV century Andalusian melody, and the Montevidean “candombe tangueado" "El chicoba”. The first Andalusian tango to reach mass popularity was composed in Argentina in 1874. The title is "El queco" (slang for ‘brothel’, of Quechua origin), from the Andalusian pianist Heloise de Silva, which makes open reference to the “cuartos de chinas.” Also, a candombe called "tango" with the title "El merenguengué" became very successful at carnivals organized by the Afro-Argentinean population in Buenos Aires in February 1876. In 1877, the restaurant “Lo de Hansen”, located in Palermo, was the first in a series of restaurants, cabarets and pubs where the youth of high society would socialize and dance tango. The year of 1880 is when some authors mark the transition between the gestation of the tango and “La Guardia Vieja” (“Old Guard”.) There are some others who prefer to wait for the further evolution of the genre and the appearance of the first scores. In this decade, the tango and milonga are confused with one another, and both began to impose their dominance over habanera. During this time is when tangos began to multiply, “Señora casera" (Anonymous, 1880), “Andate a la Recoleta” (Anonymous, 1880), “Tango # 1” (José Machado, 1883), “Dame la lata” (Juan Pérez, 1883), “Qué polvo con tanto viento” (Pedro M. Quijano, 1890.) In 1884, the Afro-Argentinean Casimiro Alcorta composed the oldest famous tango, "Concha sucia”, with openly pornographic lyrics referencing life in the brothels. Three decades later, Francisco Canaro changed the lyrics and the title to “Cara sucia” (“Dirty Face”), definitely making it the inaugural tango. Casimiro also composed “La yapa" tango which was later recorded as “Entrada prohibida”, then signed by the Teisseire brothers as the composers. Casimiro Alcorta was also a celebrated tango dancer, together with his companion "La Paulina", of Italian origin. Around the same time, another Afro-Argentinean, the “payador" Gabino Ezeiza, introduced the “contrapunto milongueado”, linking the milonga to candombe. He told another payador, Nemesio Trejo, that “contrapunto milongueado” is ‘pueblera’ (‘of the city’) and a daughter of African Candombe, and while hitting his fingers against the edge of the table began to hum "tunga ... tatunga ... tunga ..." to demonstrate with an onomatopoeia the link between the milonga rhythm with the Candombe (In an interview to Nemesio Trejo, made by Jaime Olombrada, published in the newspaper "La Opinion" of Avellaneda -Province of Buenos Aires, Argentina- on April 15, 1916). At this time, the most common tango ensemble was guitar, violin and flute. In the following years the guitar and the flute disappeared, and the piano and then the bandoneón were integrated, which shaped the “Orquesta Típica.” In those years the “organito,” a portable player, had a major role in the initial spread of the tango. It was made of tubes or flutes and a keyboard which is operated by the cylinder, enabling the passage of air to produce the different notes. Air is generated by bellows which are activated simultaneously with the cylinder by rotating a handle. The “organito,” like the organ and the bandoneón, is a wind instrument. It is important to differentiate the “organito” from the “organillo,” which is more common in Spain and produced its sound from strings. The sound of the “organito” prepared the ears of the Porteños for a natural transition to the bandoneón in tango, when it finally arrived in 1880. It is around these “organitos,” where men were seen dancing tango in the street, practicing “cortes y quebradas.” “Las ruedas embarradas del último organito vendrán desde la tarde buscando el arrabal, con un caballo flaco y un rengo y un monito y un coro de muchachas vestidas de percal. Con pasos apagados elegirá la esquina donde se mezclan luces de luna y almacén para que bailen valses detrás de la hornacina la pálida marquesa y el pálido marqués. El último organito irá de puerta en puerta hasta encontrar la casa de la vecina muerta, de la vecina aquella que se cansó de amar; y allí molerá tangos para que llore el ciego, el ciego inconsolable del verso de Carriego, que fuma, fuma y fuma sentado en el umbral. Tendrá una caja blanca el último organito y el asma del otoño sacudirá su son, y adornarán sus tablas cabezas de angelitos y el eco de su piano será como un adiós. Saludarán su ausencia las novias encerradas abriendo las persianas detrás de su canción, y el último organito se perderá en la nada y el alma del suburbio se quedará sin voz.” “El último organito”, Homero and Acho Manzi. Read also History of Tango - Part 1 History of Tango – Part 3 Bibliography: “Antología del tango rioplatense”, Jorge Novati, Irma Ruiz, Néstor Ceñal e Inés Cuello. Instituto Nacional de Musicología “Carlos Vega”, 1980. “Crónica general del tango”, José Gobello, Editorial Fraterna, 1980. “El tango”, Horacio Salas, Editorial Aguilar, 1996. “Historia del tango - Sus orígenes”, Rubén Pesce, Oscar del Priore, Editorial Corregidor 1977. “El tango, el gaucho y Buenos Aires”, Carlos Troncaro, Editorial Argenta, 2009. SaveSave SaveSave
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    History of Tango - Part 1: Women and men of the Colony
    February 17, 2015
    The dance of Tango originated in the second half of the XIX century, in the area designated Rio de la Plata, on the outskirts of port cities like Buenos Aires, Montevideo and Rosario.[1] Historically, this area was an important part of the Spanish Colonial Empire, which gained its independence from Feudalist Catholic Monarchic Spain towards integration into a Western capitalist globalized economy. This economic revolution was led by the United Kingdom and the United States, in the beginning of the 1800s, as a direct consequence of the transformations that swept through Europe due to the Industrial Revolution, the French Revolution and the Napoleonic Wars. The elite class that led this process of transformation, although not unified – as many internal conflicts arose after the final defeat of the Spanish Army – were inspired by the ideas of the French and American Revolutions, and saw the industrialized countries like the United Kingdom as beacons of civilization, superior to the models of a feudalist Spain, and Aboriginal Native nations of America. Since the arrival of the first Spanish expedition to the Rio de la Plata under the command of Juan Diaz de Solís (1515), the changes that affected this territory were very slow for almost 300 years. During that time, Spain allowed its colonies to only trade with Spain and other Spanish colonies. To avoid ships being captured by enemy’s nations and pirates, Spain established a unique route for the transit of goods between the colonies and Spain. This route was not at all favorable to Buenos Aires, making goods too expensive and scarce to the inhabitants of Rio de la Plata. As a consequence, smuggling became the only profitable business for its population and the only way to acquire what they needed to survive. The first Spanish colonists that arrived to what today is Argentina and Uruguay could see that the land was great for cattle. The animals prospered and reproduced rapidly, creating a source of leather. In an area that had no other natural resources like stones, metals or wood, this new resource became the main material to create the necessary tools for everyday life activities. Leather was also the only product available to exchange for the goods being smuggled in to the area. Since the cattle were wild, there was no reliable tracking system in place, which was ideal for those in the area looking to make the most of this resource. Cattle producers (“estancieros”) were one of the main forces behind the process to gain independence, with the goal of ending the monopoly imposed by Spain. In 1776, this territory was given more autonomy, becoming the “Virreinato del Rio de La Plata,” with the capital in Buenos Aires, mainly because Spain wanted to end the growing smuggling business in the area and profit by regulating the trade. The isolation of this territory geographically – due to the enormous distance from Spain – and politically and economically – due to the strict trade policies – shaped the characteristics of its population, and created an environment that allowed for the appearance of first, the “gaucho,” and then later, the tango. The early expeditions that arrived in Rio de la Plata were comprised of men who did not integrate well into Spanish society. In addition, the men who commanded these expeditions sometimes behaved in very authoritarian way, which is understandable due to the harsh conditions and the riskiness of expeditions at the time. Historical records show that the first gauchos descended from Andalucians and Moors of North African background, who accepted Christianity only as a way to avoid persecution. Once these men reached America, many broke loose from the expeditions and went to live as nomads, living off the wild cattle that rapidly populated the lands and coexisting with the natives.[2] In “Tierras de nadie” (No man’s land), the area that is today the border between Uruguay and Brazil, the first gauchos (1771) lived off the land and hunted wild cattle, which they sold to the population of what is known today as Rio Grande do Sur, Brazil. To hunt the wild cattle, the gauchos used various techniques. One method, which they learned from the natives, was the use of “boleadoras”, an artefact made of three balls of hard wood, stone or metal, lined with leather and tied together with leather strings, which they skillfully launched at the rear legs of the animal in order to make it fall and capture it alive, and keeping it in good condition, thereby maximizing its profitability. Another origin of gauchos came from the Jesuit Missions after they were dismantled, in the area which is now known as the border between Argentina, Brazil and Paraguay, populated mainly by natives of the Guaraní nations. These missions were efficiently organized and very productive. For that reason, the missions attracted the attention of the powers of the time, who were suspicious of their prosperity. The gauchos developed a new and truly local lifestyle and culture produced by the mix between the members of the expeditions and the American natives. They prized independence, self-reliance, honor, friendship, hospitality, loyalty, rejection of arbitrary authorities, courage, virility, resilience in the face of adversity, and appreciation for a life based on simplicity and in harmony with nature. These values are still the ones that guide the identity of Argentinians and Uruguayans. More specifically, these values permeate tango and are most evident in the lyrics, as illustrated in the song below. "Tango que sos un encanto De quien escucha tus sones, Tango que atraes corazones, Con tus dulces cantos Y tus bandoneones. Sos de cuna humilde, Y has paseado el universo, Sin más protocolo, Que tu música y tus versos, Para abrirte paso Has tenido que ser brujo, Por tus propios medios Lograste tu triunfo. Tango que sos un encanto, Hoy vive tu canto, En mi corazón. ¡Tango!, ¡Tango! Tango bravo, tango lindo, Tango noble, tango guapo Tango hermano De mis largas noches tristes, Compañero de mi pobre corazón. Tango bravo, fascinante, ¡Tango brujo!, Tango bravo, combatido, Tango bravo, Tango gaucho Que a pesar de tanta contra Defendiste con altura, Tu bravura de varón." “Tango brujo”, Francisco Canaro.[3] The gauchos represented a continuity of the Middle Age Knights of Spain and Europe in general. They were skillful horseback riders, and were very proud of their ability in the fight. The gaucho’s weapon was the “facón”, a 16-inch knife – that could be seen as a shortened Knight sword. In general, the “facóns” were made from bayonets and used alone or in combination with the “rebenque” (a sort of whip) or the “poncho” (an outer garment designed to keep the body warm) rolled on the left arm and used as a shield. The “facón” was not only a weapon, but also an indispensable everyday tool, as well as the “rebenque” and the “poncho”. The gauchos trained their fighting skills in a game called “visteo,” in which they used a wooden stick burned at one extreme, or the index finger colored with ashes or grease. They played inside of a small marked square called “cancha.” The main goal of the game is to force the opponent out of the square. "Tome mi poncho... No se aflija... ¡Si hasta el cuchillo se lo presto! Cite, que en la cancha que usté elija he de dir y en fija no pondré mal gesto. Yo con el cabo 'e mi rebenque tengo 'e sobra pa' cobrarme... Nunca he sido un maula, ¡se lo juro! y en ningún apuro me sabré achicar." “Mandria”, Juan Rodríguez, Francisco Brancatti and Juan Velich.[4] The body language that came out of this physical training eventually gave shape to the dance of tango. The gauchos were horseback riders by nature. In their childhoods, they learned to ride horses at the same time they learned how to walk. Similarly to the cattle that the Spanish brought, the horses brought over from Spain reproduced very quickly, providing the gauchos a plentiful pool of horses to use and trade. They use to call their horses “pingo”, and also “flete.” "Pasó la tranquera y el pingo miraba, tal vez extrañao de no verla más, y el gaucho le dijo: ¡No mire, mi pingo, que la patroncita ya no volverá!" “Lonjazos”, Andrés Domenech and Jesús Fernández Blanco.[5] During the 1800s, when the gaucho moved into the cities, he became the “compadre.” This move required him to give up his horse and shorten his knife. The “compadre” will show up again later in relation to tango. The gaucho’s favorite musical instrument was the guitar (”guitarra criolla”), inherited from Spain (guitarra española.) The poetry of the gauchos accompanied by guitar is called “payada”, and the performer “payador.” The “payada” evolved into “milonga” when Gabino Ezeiza (1858-1916), Afro-Argentine payador, introduced its rhythm derived from African Candombe[6]. The landscape of Argentina and Uruguay is said to have influenced the gauchos, deep into their character. "Hay una hora de la tarde en que la llanura está por decir algo; nunca lo dice o tal vez lo dice infinitamente y no lo entendemos, o lo entendemos pero es intraducible como una música..." “El fin”, Jorge Luis Borges.[7] Courage, skillfulness, resilience and knowledge of the terrain made the gauchos vital elements of the Independence War, forming the core of the liberation armies. In honor of them, the Argentine writer Leopoldo Lugones coined the term “Guerra gaucha.” Unfortunately, shortly after being praised as liberators of the new countries, they found themselves expelled from their habitat by the reorganization of the resources by the new leaders, dividing the precious productive land in plots suitable for large-scale agricultural production. Also, to foster the growth of the cities, in 1736 the new leaders prohibited hunting wild cattle without a license, which deprived the gauchos of their source of living. This prohibition forced the gauchos to choose between being excluded from society – as criminals – or being hired by the new owners of the land – as “estancieros” – or emigrating to the cities, where they would be partially integrated as “compadres.” During the colonial time, the place of women in society was determined by racial and economic factors. The women of the elite class were subject to arranged marriages in order to create family alliances. The purpose of these alliances was to preserve Spanish traditions, promoting religion at home and consolidating the model of family life. Women had the responsibility of maintaining family honor, fulfilling the ideal of chastity. The most important moment of a woman’s life at the time was her wedding day, which she was prepared for since childhood. Women were expected to be docile, respect the authority of the husband and live within the confines of the home. To achieve success in this model, female education was entrusted to the Church, educating them in a domestic scheme of submission. The public role of a woman was to accompany her husband, attend charitable activities and Mass (a true female social center.) Women who were widowed took the reins of their husbands’ businesses and managed their assets; if they did so successfully, they entered the male world and were able to interact with civil institutions. For the mestizo woman, life was not limited to the home as they had to engage in productive work or service outside the house: trade, domestic labor (maids, laundresses, seamstresses, etc.) and handicrafts (hand-spinners, candle makers, and cigar makers). They also worked in grocery stores, which meant they had more contact with the wider society. Although marriage was an ideal in their lives, this did not have the degree of complexity as in the elite class because there was no obligation to continue the family lineage. This left more room for sentimental marriage. Although chastity and marriage remained an ideal for all women, the mestiza women were not held to the same standards and did not have to worry as much about maintaining their honor. They received instruction only through Catechism and the teachings of the Bible, as well as productive activities. Initially, the mestizo in general and therefore the mestizo woman was frowned upon by both Hispanic-Creole and the Indians alike. But then, the whole society was crossbreeding, mixing, becoming a hybrid; after that the mestizo condition ceased to be defined accurately. The role of indigenous people and the indigenous women varied depending on their position within their community; it was different to be an elite member of a native community than a regular native. After the arrival of the Spaniards, native women were responsible for transmitting traditional traits of indigenous culture (housework, trade, clothing, etc.). With the imposition of monogamy, which opposed the polygamous structure of the indigenous society, many women were left alone. Also, the increased mortality of native men due to hard work left more women alone, which led them to look for work. They were employed mainly as housemaids, where they acquired great power and were essential, and were also active in trade. In this way, they learned to use the currency and learned the Spanish language even before the native men themselves. With the reduction of indigenous peoples into personal service, slavery, etc., Spanish-Criollos imposed a new social structure, disintegrating the indigenous organization, resulting later in a total integration into the Spanish-Criollo society at the cost of the annihilation of the indigenous culture and social structure. Thus, the role of indigenous women in the colony was determined by the needs and ambitions of the Spanish-Criollos and the Spanish Crown. Because of the indigenous population decline, black slaves were brought to America as labor force for agriculture, domestic service and work on farms. Urban slaves were mainly housemaids, bakers and laundresses. They were the property of married white women (becoming part of the homestead) and were considered objects, like property (living under worse conditions than indigenous or mestizo, although there were exceptions.) During the Independence War, women had a prominent role, no less important than men. The ideals of the women of tango, of the “milongueras”, were developed through these times. They value the nature of femininity, with its attributes of maternity, companionship with the male partner, independent minded, capable of successfully taking on the tasks traditionally attributed to men, when necessary. An example of the ideals of women can be seen in the life of Juana Azurduy de Padilla (1780-1860). Juana descended from a mixed family and was orphaned at an early age. She spent the first years of her life in a convent. In 1802 she married Manuel Ascencio Padilla, and they went on to have five children. After the outbreak of the independence revolution on May 25, 1810, Juana and her husband joined the pro-independence militias of the area that today belong to Bolivia. In fact, Juana was one of many women who joined the fight. Juana actively collaborated with her husband in organizing the squadron known as “Los Leales”, which joined the troops sent from Buenos Aires. During the first year of fighting, Juana was forced to abandon her children and was in combat on numerous occasions. The government of Buenos Aires was impressed by her courage, and in recognition for her work, in August 1816, decided to provide Juana Azurduy the rank of Lieutenant Colonel. More recently, she was posthumously promoted to the rank of General by Argentinian President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner and Bolivian President Evo Morales. "Yo soy la morocha, la más agraciada, la más renombrada de esta población. Soy la que al paisano muy de madrugada brinda un cimarrón. Yo, con dulce acento, junto a mi ranchito, canto un estilito con tierna pasión, mientras que mi dueño sale al trotecito en su redomón. Soy la morocha argentina, la que no siente pesares y alegre pasa la vida con sus cantares. Soy la gentil compañera del noble gaucho porteño, la que conserva el cariño para su dueño. Yo soy la morocha de mirar ardiente, la que en su alma siente el fuego de amor. Soy la que al criollito más noble y valiente ama con ardor. En mi amado rancho, bajo la enramada, en noche plateada, con dulce emoción, le canto al pampero, a mi patria amada y a mi fiel amor. Soy la morocha argentina, la que no siente pesares y alegre pasa la vida con sus cantares. Soy la gentil compañera del noble gaucho porteño, la que conserva el cariño para su dueño." “La Morocha”, Ángel Villoldo.[8] "¿Dónde están las mujeres aquéllas, minas fieles, de gran corazón, que en los bailes de Laura peleaban cada cual defendiendo su amor?" “Tiempos viejos”, Francisco Canaro, Manuel Romero.[9] Read "History of Tango - Part 2: Origins of Tango" Bibliography: “El Tango, el Gaucho y Buenos Aires”, Carlos Troncaro. Argenta 2009. “Crónica General del Tango”, José Gobello. Fraterna 1980. “El Tango”, Horacio Salas, Planeta 1986. “Historia del Tango”, Ernié, Del Priore, Sierra, Zucchi, and others. Corregidor 1977. [1] [2] [3] Tango you are an enchanter Of those who listen your sounds, Tango you attract hearts, with your sweet songs and your bandoneons. You have humble origins And traveled the universe without more attributes other than your music and your verses. To open your path you had to be a sorcerer with your own resources you achieved success. Tango you are an enchantment, today your song lives in my heart. Sorcerer Tango! Brave Tango, Beautiful Tango!, Noble tango, courageous Tango! Brother Tango Of my long sad nights, mate of my barren heart. Fascinating courageous Tango! Sorcerer Tango! Brave Tango, Opposed, Brave Tango! Gaucho Tango, that despite the odds against you, with loftiness you defend your manly bravery. [4] Take my “poncho”… don’t be sorry… I’ll even share with you my knife! Name the place of your choice I’ll be there, be assured without regret I, With the end of my whip, more than enough to collect I swear I’ve never been a coward And in no situation You’ll see me retreat. [5] He passed the fence and the horse watched, perhaps wondering for not seeing her, and the gaucho told him: Don’t look, my horse, that she won’t come back. [6] [7] "There is an hour of the afternoon in which the plain is about to say something, it never says it or perhaps it says it infinitely and we do not understand  it, or we understand it but it is untranslatable as music ..." [8] I am the brunette, the most graceful , the most renowned of this population. I'm the one to countryman very early at dawn provides a mate. I , with sweet accent , next to my humble home, sing with tender passion , while my owner goes at trot speed in his horse. I am the Argentine brunette, I do not feel regrets and happily live with my songs . I am the gentle companion of the noble porteño gaucho I keep my affection for my owner. I am the brunette, Of ardent look And in my soul feel the fire of love. I'm the one who to the Criollito most noble and courageous love with ardor. In my beloved home, under the arbor , in silvery night , With sweet emotion I sing to the pampero wind, To my beloved homeland and to my faithful love. I am the Argentine brunette, I do not feel regrets and happily lives Singing I am the gentle companion Of the noble porteño gaucho I keep my affection to my owner. [9] Where are those women, faithful women, of generous heart, that at Laura’s dances fought each defending their love? SaveSave SaveSave SaveSave SaveSave SaveSave SaveSave
  • Argentine Tango dance classes for beginners, intermediate and advanced level. Argentine Tango dance Private lessons. one to one Argentine dance lessons. Argentine Tango dance lessons for couples. Argentine Tango Milongas and workshops. San Francisco, Lafayette, Walnut Creek, Orinda, Danville, San Jose, Cupertino, Campbell, Mountain View, Sunnyvale, Milpitas. With Marcelo Solis at Escuela de Tango de Buenos Aires.
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    Tango is a social and partner dance
    September 16, 2014
    Tango is a social and partner dance that originated in the city of Buenos Aires, where, together with its music, poetry and culture, the population consider it their identity.
  • Dance Argentine Tango with Marcelo Solis at Escuela de Tango de Buenos Aires
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    Walking, dancing, body and words
    September 10, 2014
    Humans are the only known beings that walk upright. Our walk is as characteristic as our rational mind. They are related. You can know about other people by looking at the way they walk. You can know yourself better if you can see yourself and see the way you walk. Others can know about you by paying attention at the way you walk. You can improve yourself by improving the way you walk. How is the life of an average American affected by the lack of walking that is becoming more and more a characteristic of the "American way of life"? This is a very "American" problem, because the rest of the world walks, and a lot. Tango has made an art of walking in company, with your partner, on the dance floor full of other couples. Where else in real life would you walk as proud, happy, honestly and powerful, besides the dance floor of a true milonga? Body and words: How to talk about something without knowing it? Do we really know our body? Perhaps the ignorance of our body produces the ignorance of the materiality of the world in general, of its reality. Learning to dance is as important as learning to talk. Is it possible to learn to speak without the participation of another human being in the process? Would it be possible one day in the future for a baby to learn how to talk from machines? Speech is transmitted only with the participation of our body, and when our body teaches others how to talk, we dance. Language is an aspect of dance. A word that is not danced - that does not have the support of a body - is destructive, evil, anguishing, a dead end, conducive to perish, not alive. True dancers do not talk too much. Resources: I am looking forward to seeing you and dancing with you soon, Marcelo Solís
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    What is your goal in learning tango?
    September 7, 2013
    I want to ask you a question: What is your goal in learning tango? Tango is a multidimensional form of art. Most see it primarily as a dance. This is absolutely true: it is a dance. However, what I consider unavoidable to understand is that dance involves much more than an activity reduced to visiting a dance studio, practicing a series of body movements and gestures that later are going to be repeated more or less by heart, with attention only to the body movements, without any consideration of the music (and by “music” I mean: listening to every musical note, beat and silence of it, knowing the name of the song, who plays it, who composed the song, the general history of all of it and all of them ..), the environment in which the dance is going to be performed (in case of tango: the “milongas”), the social aspects of it (the codes of behavior at the milongas, its ethics and aesthetics), and the role that the dancer (as an individual participating in that whole approach to dancing) is going to take. If I am going to learn all that, if I am going to dedicate that much of my time and energy to it, I would only do it if I am passionate about it. And why? What is my goal in all that? Sometimes, in my classes, I have to face the problem of letting my students know that dancing does not require “pretending”, but rather “being” yourself. A particular movement is usually so simple, that the real core of the move is the character that you imprint in it, which is your character, your “self”. Since there exists a prejudice to see dancing only as a “performing art”, the initial approach is usually to “pretend”: something like pretending to be on a stage dancing for an audience. And a movement that in essence is very simple (and easy), comes out with a very artificial look. That is all unconscious. Naturally there is a tendency to hide ourselves from the eyes of others, and that artificiality serves as “defense mechanism” to protect you from whoever may take advantage of knowing you. All that makes you put in a lot of effort. Dancing is supposed to be easy. It will be easy if you strengthen yourself. Tango asks you to be honest, and show your honest self. Very probably, at the beginning you do not recognize yourself in what appears when you allow yourself to be natural, let it go, and you may not like it! But, good news, once you know yourself and how you actually move, you can change it, you can shape it, and you can work on making yourself more elegant without pretending. And that is going to make you stronger. And for that, you will be thankful to tango forever. That is why I consider the process of teaching/learning tango as requiring some “familiarity” approach. Let’s be aware that the generation of my parents in Argentina learned tango from close relatives and friends, so those “defense mechanisms” were at their lowest level of alert. When I came to teach tango for the first time to the Bay Area, I tried to adapt my teaching method to the general rationalistic/ballroom-like approach the students were expecting (my limited knowledge of English, and the fact that everybody was more or less of a stranger to me also contributed to the adaptation of that approach). However, overtime I realized that it mostly did not help students to understand the particular characteristics that makes tango what it is. So I decided to return to the “familiar” approach we all are used to in Argentina, although sometime it does not match the new students’ expectations. Many times a new student asks me: - When am I going to be ready to go to milongas? My answer is: - Whenever you want to go. The student would reply: - But I am a beginner, those people in the milongas are too advanced, and they are not going to dance with me! What you really need, in order to go to a milonga and have a good time, is basic social skills. Basically, you need self-awareness and a good sense of placement. If you are nice, people will be nice to you. If you relax and enjoy of being at a place where everybody is enjoying the experience of tango, pay attention and listen to the beautiful music tango is, allow yourself to be happy (tango should make you happy. Why would you do it if were not so?), the aura of happiness makes people want to be near you. Milongas are the best places to see people dancing tango. It is the place to see tango in its own environment. It is a great opportunity for you, during your first visits to the milongas, to watch the dance, to see the dancers. You will learn a lot just from watching. Also, if tango is to become a part of your life, the milonga is going to be your home. Those who do not regularly go to milongas develop an abstract (false, incongruent) image of tango. Beware: there are many “teachers” on that list. Tango is democratic. At the milongas, your title, either you are a PHD, a CEO, a Prince, a tango teacher or a performer does not matter. What matters is how good you are as a milonguero or milonguera. When I talk about milongas and milongueros, my image is one of my favorite milongas in Buenos Aires. I work on reproducing their main characteristics here, in the Bay Area, organizing and hosting such milongas as Café Florida, Lafayette Milonga and San Jose Milonga, and educating my students as milongueros and milongueras in my classes. I want to take an opportunity now to say thank you to all my business partners, assistants, dedicated students and regulars of the milongas and classes I host. It would not be possible without you. Thank you!!! In order to effectively recreate what I enjoy there, one of my key activities are my tours to Buenos Aires. I organize a tour twice a year, during spring and fall. These tours are very educative: Buenos Aires is a big city; you have hundreds of choices to do tango activities. But keep in mind that tango is, for many, a business, a source of income. When tango came back to the mainstream in Argentina, during the middle 80’s, it was a” tsunami”. It suddenly inundated the sociocultural scene of Buenos Aires and other cities. It produced a big demand on the “market” that was very undersupplied. The milongueros at the time, were very unaware of that process. You can take a look to the documentary “Tango, bayle nuestro” (“Tango, our dance”), by Jorge Zanada, 1988. It that documentary you can see the old milongueros of 1987 stating that tango “had died”. It happened that most of the people, who took the lead in satisfying the strong “demand” for tango, were “sociocultural entrepreneurs”, only tangentially related to tango. Some of them are still predominant in the tango scene of Buenos Aires. Their initial lead was essential to the revival of tango. They helped to create the conditions that allowed later the milongueros’ comeback to the mainstream, so the people with real knowledge of tango were able to organize milongas and teach new milongueros. That is why, if you go to Buenos Aires without a guidance of a real insider, most probably you will come to know tango as an entertainment industry, much improvised, very “homemade”, but an industry, not a culture. One last thing: is walking boring? When you exercise your walk at the beginning of the class, do you feel bored? I have to tell you: if you get bored when you do this exercise (walking), you most probably will be a very boring person to dance with, when you dance during the milonga later. That is the moment to exercise your passion, your feelings, your emotions to come out in your walk, your connection with the music, not to show it off (the pseudo performer that pretends), but to explore your own emotions. THAT will make you a dancer who is fun, enjoyable, and interesting to dance with. SaveSave
  • Argentine Tango dance classes for beginners, intermediate and advanced level. Argentine Tango dance Private lessons. one to one Argentine dance lessons. Argentine Tango dance lessons for couples. Argentine Tango Milongas and workshops. San Francisco, Lafayette, Walnut Creek, Orinda, Danville, San Jose, Cupertino, Campbell, Mountain View, Sunnyvale, Milpitas. With Marcelo Solis at Escuela de Tango de Buenos Aires.
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    Tango is passion
    September 7, 2013
    Dear students, milongueras and milongueros, I’ve being very busy since I came back from Buenos Aires. I had plans to be in BA right now, but so much is going on, I am still here. Among many things that I had no time to do writing about tango is the one I missed the most. In the meantime, all that kept me busy –mainly, teaching new students- gave me new experiences, new approaches, and new thoughts about how to present tango to those who are curious about it, and show up to a tango class for the first time. Tango is passion. A new student asked me in the middle of her first private class if I thought that she was going to be able to dance tango. I answered that we were dancing to the music of Juan D’Arienzo Orchestra, recorded between 1940 and 1943, with Héctor Mauré singing and a 20 year’s old Fulvio Salamanca at the piano. I told her that Mauré used to be a professional boxer, until a bad punch made him quit boxing and dedicate himself exclusively to singing. I told her that if she gets to love tango to the point of finding that information really interesting, relevant, then she would dance, otherwise, not. That I could not order her to “love it”, same as it would not be possible to order someone to fall in love with a person. Whether she falls in love with tango or not is nothing I can do about. I cannot make a new student passionate about tango. I can share my passion with my students. But many would judge me crazy, obsessed, neurotic, and I would reply that while you judge, you cannot dance. Dancing tango implies dancing every single note, every nuance in the expressivity of each musician of each song. It takes knowing those songs and those musicians as you know your closest relatives and friends. I am satisfied if the new student learns, at least, to respect tango for what it is. I am very patient. Tango made me so. You do not have to rush in getting to know tango. Tango is infinite. Also, you have to enjoy your path in becoming a real milonguera or milonguero, enjoy it the way you enjoy a tasty flavored meal, even for the moments it may get too spicy. I will not say “I told you that already.” I will always present the concepts you need to know and apply, as if it were the first time I am presenting them to you. Repetition is needed, but we can make repetition a non-boring exercise if we do it to the wonderful music that tango is. I promise not to say: “Just”. Sometimes I’ve being in the situation of explaining a move that is simple in appearance, and the student says “Just that!?”, or “Ok, just that”, or something similar. Each single move is very, very, very important. Every little part of a move is something you have to feel fully. “I got it”. Each move in tango requires decades to be understood. We have to begin somewhere, and I will patiently show you the move. But you probably won’t be able to see it all. So, please, do not undervalue it. You need to be very humble to learn to tango. Please, accept that you start from ignorance, and have respect for the one that shares with you something he loves a lot. It is like introducing you to my family. Now, I remember a joke: One boy says to another boy – Look at that woman! She has a moustache!!! The other boy responds – She is my mom. And the first boy clarifies –The moustache looks very well on her!!!
  • Argentine Tango dance classes for beginners, intermediate and advanced level. Argentine Tango dance Private lessons. one to one Argentine dance lessons. Argentine Tango dance lessons for couples. Argentine Tango Milongas and workshops. San Francisco, Lafayette, Walnut Creek, Orinda, Danville, San Jose, Cupertino, Campbell, Mountain View, Sunnyvale, Milpitas. With Marcelo Solis at Escuela de Tango de Buenos Aires.
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    What can we do to contribute to the health and continued development of Bay Area Tango community?
    September 7, 2013
    Dear milongueros and milongueras, Tango is fun. It makes us happy. But Tango is also RESPONSIBILITY. What can we do to contribute to the health and continued development of Bay Area Tango community? Here is my answer: Milongueros and milongueras: 1- Dance better. 2- Behave better. 3- Dress better. Milonga organizers: 1- Choose good DJs. 2- Give milongueros the necessary set up a milonga should have. 3- Pay attention to what actually happens on the dance floor. 4- Get to know, greet at the entrance, and say goodbye at the exit, to everyone coming to the milonga. 5- Introduce new people at the milonga to the regulars. 6- Travel to Buenos Aires and go to traditional milongas with high level of dancing to see how things are organized and run there. DJs: 1- Go to Buenos Aires and visit milongas to learn how to do their job, not one time, but several times a year. Teachers: 1- Stop trying to attract customers by showing them steps inappropriate to the milonga, and therefore, to Tango itself. 2- Go to the milongas, and show their students and the community that the way they teach is the way they dance at the milongas. 3- Go to Buenos Aires not one, but several times a year, study there with the milongueros, meaning: the ones that dance Tango. Prove themselves to have their place in the wide Tango community, and not to be mere local instructors without any connection to Buenos Aires, and therefore, to Tango. To follow these guidelines, we will get together and put them in practice in all my classes and events through the Bay Area. I am looking forward to seeing you and dancing with you. Warm regards, Marcelo Solis  
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    Tango and Buenos Aires
    September 7, 2013
    Buenos Aires is the world capital of Tango, and its birthplace. There, I wish to share with you the friendship and appreciation of the milongueros that I am lucky to enjoy. We all feel Tango in our bodies. In each move, each new milonga we go to, each partner we dance with, each new learning experience it reveals, Tango belongs to us, and we belong to Tango. It is a wonderful feeling, and one of the key reasons why Tango is so appealing, why its rhythm is so haunting. However, Tango also belongs to others, to people we share it with. If we do not pay attention to that, we may fall in a very egotistic, self-centered, selfish approach to tango. That would leave us with nothing, or with something we may call tango, but it is not. Among the others we share Tango with are those who have danced it before us. Most of them are not with us anymore, but a bunch of them are still alive, and dancing in the milongas of Buenos Aires. Would you miss the opportunity of meeting them, seeing them dance, chatting with them, and dancing with them? If you let it pass you by, it will be a big loss for Tango, especially for “your” Tango, the one in your turn you will share with those who come after you.
  • Argentine Tango dance classes for beginners, intermediate and advanced level. Argentine Tango dance Private lessons. one to one Argentine dance lessons. Argentine Tango dance lessons for couples. Argentine Tango Milongas and workshops. San Francisco, Lafayette, Walnut Creek, Orinda, Danville, San Jose, Cupertino, Campbell, Mountain View, Sunnyvale, Milpitas. With Marcelo Solis at Escuela de Tango de Buenos Aires.
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    The Tango Journey
    February 19, 2013
    How long since you have started your Tango journey?
  • San Francisco Milonga
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    Tango is education
    January 12, 2013
    Perhaps you were asking yourself: Why a Tango School?
  • Argentine Tango dance classes for beginners, intermediate and advanced level. Argentine Tango dance Private lessons. one to one Argentine dance lessons. Argentine Tango dance lessons for couples. Argentine Tango Milongas and workshops. San Francisco, Lafayette, Walnut Creek, Orinda, Danville, San Jose, Cupertino, Campbell, Mountain View, Sunnyvale, Milpitas. With Marcelo Solis at Escuela de Tango de Buenos Aires.
    + TANGO +
    What I get when I pay the entrance fee of the milonga?
    December 18, 2012
    When I go to the supermarket, I buy groceries, take them home, and then do with them pretty much whatever I want. 
  • + TANGO +
    Why MUSICALITY is so important?
    August 8, 2012
    Often people get attracted to TANGO first by what they SEE. Then, to be able to reproduce the BEAUTY they had seen, they need to realize that it is not rooted in the GEOMETRY of the figures. Furthermore, the MUSIC that is danced shapes the proportions of this Geometry. If the initial energy that makes us dance comes from our PASSION, the music is what channels and shapes that energy.
  • + TANGO +
    To dance Tango is to belong to a society: the milonga
    June 25, 2012
    Tango is a partner dance that is based on the embrace. Therefore, from the moment that we lose the embrace it stops being Tango. All these intricate footwork that we see is secondary. The real challenge of Tango is to be able to dance while keeping embraced. Also, you must know that all the movements we do in tango are not just designed to keep the embrace. but to produce it. Tango starts when we embrace and continues with movements that make us to embrace each other. It is a social dance. To dance Tango is to belong to a society that exists in the milonga. Milonga is not just a dance floor. Milonga is like a temple. You ought to know and respect the rituals of the milonga because a collective created it. It is not a rigid set of rules, but you have to agree to listen and pay attention to those who already have spent their whole lives there. Over time you will see that it all makes perfect sense, but you are not going to understand it right away. To understand it you must think as a dancer. To be able to think as a dancer you need to become a dancer first, and that takes a lot of time. Not just any place that assigns itself the name of the milonga is a milonga. A milonga is a milonga if a big chunk of its participants are educated enough in the subtleties of the milonga and the dance. The milonga is like a family or a country in many aspects. If you are new, you will be respected as a “baby” in the family, but you ought to understand and consider that you, as a “newborn baby”, won’t be able to do everything the “adults” do.  Same as an immigrant in a new country, you first have to demonstrate your acceptance of the ideals of your new country, your desire to become a part of it. For sure, you will incorporate your own particularities, same as a new person in a family would, but you will start where everybody starts. If a place gathers a lot of new dancers and a very little amount or none of the senior “family” members, it is not a milonga in reality. Milonga is not a place where anything goes and where the kids play without their parents watching, otherwise it is just a kids’ playground. It is understandable that Tango, being rooted in the most profound characteristics of human being[1], makes many people think that Tango is whatever their body would do, feel and express when they embrace their partner and move to the cadence of their favorite music. It is true up to a certain level. But Tango also exists outside them, outside their own body, and outside their lifetime. If you are attracted to Tango, if you feel Tango, if you love Tango, its music, if you ARE Tango; then you belong to the family. If you belong to a city, let's say San Francisco, California; you would be proud to be able to guide a visitor into your city. If you do not know the names of the streets, nobody would consider that you belong to this city. Imagine that you suddenly discover you belong to a family you do not know. At any age, you would like to learn about your family. It is a fundamental element of your identity. You would like to know its origins, the entire genealogy of your family. Wouldn’t you? What if you visit Paris, fall in love with the city, and decide to live there? Would you be satisfied with just staying at home, and knowing just your address? Let’s now imagine that you just discovered Tango. You saw a performance, perhaps. Something inside you told you “I want to do that”. What was it? Was it the outfit, the moves, the music, the attitudes or all that?  Then you go and take a class. You may get introduced to a basic set of moves, get an explanation of the rhythm, the posture, the embrace, a little of Tango history.  If you do not get at least a few of these topics, you may like to look for another class. An authentic teacher teaches you to dance Tango as it is danced in the most authentic milongas of Buenos Aires. He or she would be able to transmit that to you only if he or she does it too: dances in the milongas, belongs to the Tango family, knows the geography of Tango, because he or she loves Tango. How to know?  You will have to go to Buenos Aires to find out, and even then, you may get lost on the way, and end in some of the zillion of parties that are called milongas, but milongas they are not, or just approximations. You will need to be guided into the Tango realm by someone who belongs to it. You won’t be the only or the first one: everybody in the milonga arrived there in the same way. Would it bother you if I tell you about the History of Tango? I understand that you probably come to dance Tango to experience of "living in the present", to liberate yourself from the stress of your mundane life. But you have to know that the "present" you live in when you dance Tango connects you to all the "present" moments lived by those who have danced Tango (and the ones that will in the future…but we do not know yet what to say about those ones). When Tango was the most popular activity of Buenos Aires, you would come for the first time to a milonga accompanied by someone who already is a regular, most probably a relative (that's why the family comparison is very appropriate). You wouldn't go to the milonga without previous longtime preparation at home, in the social club of your neighborhood, in family parties, with your relatives and friends. The task of a Tango instructor is to integrate a new student to the milonga. Many integrate their students to their groups without encouraging them to be individuals at the milongas. They end up participating as assistants in the organizations of their teachers classes and events, and remain forever related to Tango only in the indirect way. Groups authenticate each of its members. As a teen, with my buddies we once got into a very popular quinceañera party where nobody knew us. A few of us climbed into the roof of the club where the party was taking place, and entered through the bathroom window. Once inside, unnoticed, we took place at a table with empty chairs close to the door. The rest started to enter through the door, and we greeted them. That was enough to let them in. We authenticate them, so they were authenticated by the group members as belonging to the whole group. In the story, finally we were discovered as outsiders because some boys in the group started to misbehave, throwing cake to each other with such unlucky aim that it reached the quinceañera’s dress. We were expulsed from the party by the adults. I think that we could have been integrated, stayed till the end of the party and made new friends if those guys were more moderate. We did not behave according to the “etiquette” of the party. If we did, we could have been accepted as a part of the family. In the meantime, we were a small closed group inside of the wider community of the quinceaňera party. We did not integrate, and it makes sense: we were outsiders. From all the groups that form Tango, I have chosen those composed by the oldest persons that started dancing Tango as teenagers or even children, and were not interested in Tango as a profession. For them Tango was an important part of their lives because Tango was an important part of the lives of all the inhabitants of Buenos Aires, Montevideo and Rosario. They were born between 1920 (Roberto Segarra and 1944 (Ricardo "Tito" Franquelo[2]. Tango was a source of identity, not the only one (football is another), but extremely important. They went with their relatives and friends to the milonga. They met their spouses there. They came back as couples to find there other couples of friends. They went alone again after separation, divorce or death of their partner. The milongas recorded a reflection of their lives. Today they are extremely wise. You can see it in their attitude, the way they dance, talk, behave, shake your hand, the way they embrace. Also, they have a very particular power, knowing the remained days of their lives are less than the ones behind them, they have no fear to be sincere. They put everything in each single move, in each word, in each gesture. And they do not have to pose. They are living, in a very natural way, in a very honest way. That is a particular privilege, since in Tango, at the distance of a close embrace, you cannot avoid honesty. Also, because they are not "professional dancers", they do not have to pretend, to be nice to you in order to get business. You need to be educated to be able to see that. It is not evident. You won’t see all these subtleties unless someone draws your attention to them. Of course there are many ways your sensibility could be educated. Your own life educates you, well or not. You may have the sensitivity from your cradle.  You may remember your grandparents dancing, listening, playing, and singing Tangos. If you were not so lucky, you can still go to school. We don't go to milongas because of a special occasion, a birthday celebration or whatever special. We go to milongas regularly because we like the music and the dancers. What matters for a dancer is the aesthetic experience of dancing. It is important that the music is good and the dancers are good. Of course, the beauty of the place, the lighting, etc. add to the experience. But if what you really appreciate is dancing, you'll stick to a milonga that offers you what I mentioned first: good music and dancers. Of course you may like to meet new people, chat, be in a crowd; but you could also find all these experiences outside Tango. We should look for the essence of Tango experience, and that involves the appreciation of the aesthetics of Tango and its dance. You have to be aware that your level of commitment to Tango, understanding of the art, sensitivity to Tango will affect other participants of the milonga. You can compare it with going to a concert. Is not the same appreciation for the educated in the kind of music performed and not (or mildly) educated. Also, consider that you have to play, because the milonga is a participative event, not one where you merely act as an audience. Dance is an expression of beauty that is not mainly visual. You discover Tango as a dance through your eyes. Tango has visual components. But the visual beauty of Tango is the manifestation of internal mechanisms that make it possible, not the opposite. It would be wrong to start the construction of your dance from the visual end of it. What we see is the result, the glow of Tango. Tango is a kinetic experience, with all the sensual aspects the sensations of our body and our partner's body provoke in us, and an auditory experience. Tango music tells us the way to move in connection to our partner. It is not Tango if you dance with the goal to be seen. To see is important as a guide. When I watch people dancing Tango at the milongas I let my eyes guide me. They will stop at the couple that dances for each other, to the music that is played, respecting everyone around, assuming a good posture, letting everything fall in place effortlessly, not trying hard, not forcing steps. The eyes also participate in the way we invite to dance. We look at the person we want to dance with, and patiently wait her to become aware and look back at us. Patience is indispensable. A wrong approach to the building of a Tango community is to give support for reasons that are external to Tango. That is a great mistake, since it lowers the general quality of the dance level, and promotes misinterpretations. We should save our support for those who promote improvement of the dance at the milongas. There are lots of lies, misunderstandings and misinterpretations surrounding Tango. But the truth comes out in the milongas. Remember that, for me, milonga is a very special name that I do not give to just any gathering where people play music that they believe is suitable to dance Tango, and move in a way they decided to call Tango. I am not going to fight with those. They are not a match for real milongueros. What I want is to pass my knowledge to those who want to continue the lineage of Tango, which is beautiful, honest, humble, great and very, very real. There is so much to say about Tango that I could be writing forever, but I think that the best is to go dancing, as I will do now. [1] Characteristics of human being:  a) its unique body.  b) A limited existence in time (to be born and to die).  c) To be consciously aware of it.  All of these three characteristics imply sexuality. [2] According to Enriqueta Kleinman and Mónica Paz, these are the oldest and the youngest milongueros respectively.
  • + TANGO +
    "Série rare", by Jean-Sylvain Negre
    June 7, 2012
    In this channel - from Patagonia - travel back to 1910-1920. By the low number of hits, evidently hardly anyone knows in Argentina, or around the world for this matter , that this jewel exists! One of the videos in this series takes an upward look and brief tour at a vast number of boxes containing these pianola rolls. These pianola rolls get old brittle and break.   These YouTube videos are therefore Very Rare. The pianola mimics the pedal work of the original performer, so it captures more than a simple reproduction of the notes.   Hopefully this gives us a window into the popularity of tango and of the approach to these compositions in "real" time! If people that could afford a player piano in Patagonia, could afford to buy Tango pianola rolls, clearly in 1910, 1920, Tango was NOT simply the music of the brothel !!!! This video of an expensive pianola, that lived its life in the parlor of a rural family, clearly shows that this myth is pernicious and reflects a bias against Latin American culture.  Any music was played in any brothel in the world in the early 1900s including  Jazz and classical music . Maybe someday someone in the English speaking world will notice how many of the songs are about social commentary.   Not usually the topic in houses of ill repute! Jean-Sylvain Negre
  • + TANGO +
    Lesson number 1, by Olga Besio
    May 9, 2012
    Where do I start? What any person who wants to dance the tango should be made clear from the beginning. (And anyone who wants to teach, too) Many times I have wondered how they should be taught to dance the tango to beginners. It is likely that each teacher will pose this question a thousand times, depending on the students who should initiate this way at every opportunity. It is also the mysterious mystery of those days to decide on a first dance to this very complex in appearance, but whose fundamentals are so simple and yet so full of meaning. The answer to this question suggests, in my opinion, not only the methodological aspects, and even less to the “content” such as a purely formal mathematical steps or cool ways to walk or turn. Indeed, what is fundamentally, deeply, tango dancing? is NOT a succession of steps, figures, structures, movements. Something much more profound underlies everything. And that something deeper is not exactly “technical”, but is a factor much earlier, primary and fundamental. In a simple statement, without attempting to assign a chronological or hierarchical order, we could say that this is a natural, human, intuitive, sensory, with a “other” with a human and “other” sound. Then maybe we could also say that we should first develop, construct or uncover the relationship of unity-duality with the other person, partner or companion dance, anyone can do something as simple as moving together (which is often very difficult) or moving objects together. (All this, without even the roles of lead and follow, should work simultaneously for both  in order to reach a full understanding of both aspects – that are not absolutely opposed but complementary, since they need each other.) How do we get? Allowing my body talk to the body of another person, that “straight talk” that “listen” to a communication flow so simple and natural as flowing in daily life when I do something with someone or when I talk with someone,  placed against that person, with be my “front” and not just two bodies … with a soul, feelings emotions and the human, animal and divine ability to be-with-another. Ah, I forgot: What about the hug? Yes, of course: the arm in this position, the hand in a given height, angle … how complicated can perhaps measure with ruler, compass and square … Hmmm … And if you just hug the other person to me and I hug. A real arm, human, warm, strong and sweet at the same time … Then you can take your hand or let it take me … and maybe if we measure now is an ” correct “embrace tango!  My friends, the embrace of tango is just that: ¡¡a hug!  And not a mere “arm position” … A hug is a natural, humane, comfortable and enjoyable for both people and will address other aspects of our theme: the movement, playing with the weight of another person with his own, doing something together … like dancing.  As I said on another article, dancing is a natural fact that human being is born with. Everything is here, so is. And we usually consider “technically necessary and / or right” is neither more nor less than a consequence of something in your home is absolutely natural. Dancing is a natural fact.  So we avoid stereotypes … Uh, I think we still lack something. The dialogue is, by definition, “two”. But in the case of the tango (perhaps in the case of every dance is a dance of two?), the dialogue is presented as me. Of course, the “third” is the MUSIC And in this wonderful, amazing, catching “TRIALOG,” is where we see the birth of tango dancing and walking with him, improvisation and creativity. After will be the steps, figures, styles and all the infinite variety that tango or milonga, and vals, can give us. So I think this is what should be taught and learned in the first lesson: Dialogue with the other person. The absolute certainty that everything that happens in the dance is the work and responsibility of both people in the sense that, in fact, the dancing is built between the two (one each from its role) that each developing it at all, and collaborating with your partner or colleague. Withinthis dialogue as one of its aspects, including the embrace is. Dialogue with the music. Within this dialogue, as one of its options, includes a walk. In short, the “trialogue” deep communication between these three key elements (both people and music), with all the incredible significance, depth complexity and detail that it contains. Within this “trialogue” is included and embraced as walking music. And understanding no doubt that all these aspects are a that nest precisely and as a fundamental fact, the essence tango. This would, in my view, the first lesson. But … how should last? An hour and a half? Two hours? A month?  Perhaps a lifetime. Olga Besio's bio.
  • + TANGO +
    The lead is a reflex action, by Susana Miller
    April 30, 2012
    The lead is a reflex action. It is learned consciously and then left “dormant” in our unconscious. The lead and its response are spontaneous, much like the dialogue of two people who share a common system of codes: one of language, gazes, gestures or bodies (in the case of dance). Both people are submerged in Dionysian fashion in the same fountain, which is the music. The home of art lies in the soul, far from conscious thought. In dance, as in all the arts, there is a technical know-how and a series of fundamental elements. These function at first by using the mind and a certain amount control, but later on they disappear when corporeal memory outs intellectual memory. The dancer “is another.” When I surrender to my dance, it’s another person that’s dancing, with that person’s body, legs and know-how. “I am not conscious of what I’m doing.” When I see that dance objectively (video, mirror, etc.) I am “me.” Videos, mirrors and the like are elements of control. They act as a teacher, a sort of critical super-me, which, in small doses, can be very helpful. The rest is adventure, it’s allowing the soul to ride the wave of emotion, to play and let oneself be rhythmically seduced for a moment that is pure quantum rubber, glooppp…
  • + TANGO +
    Tango in Buenos Aires
    January 31, 2012
    By Alvaro Dominguez I began learning to dance Tango about three and a half years ago, on Halloween.  I live in the San Francisco Bay Area and when I started I had no idea how large the Tango community here was, and was impressed by the number of classes, teachers and events.  Recently I learned that the Bay Area Tango community is the oldest and perhaps the largest in the US.  Despite the mass and history of the Tango community in Bay Area I heard repeatedly that “the experience of dancing Tango in Buenos Aires is amazing”.  I left the Rio de la Plata almost four decades ago, without ever going to a Milonga on either side of the river; and thus, needless to say, I was skeptic about the greatness of the Tango seen in Buenos Aires; a cultural trait I guess. About two years into my Tango experience I met Marcelo Solis.  I had many conversations with Marcelo about Tango, the music, its history, anecdotes, and tales he shared about the Tango community in Buenos Aires and the Milongas. Through these conversations I learned that Marcelo’s love for Tango is indisputable and contagious, and I confess that they began to spark my curiosity and interest. However, my sense of scarcity, financially and in my dancing abilities, was big enough to prevent me from even dreaming on going to Buenos Aires to dance Tango.  Nevertheless, an opportunity to go on Marcelo’s Tango Tour to Buenos Aires materialized last November.  I took it. Buenos Aires Tango It is undeniable that in Argentina Tango is a well-developed and sophisticated industry, particularly in Buenos Aires; and not only in La Boca, a neighborhood where some say Tango was born; even though its well established that Tango originated on both sides of the Rio de la Plata sometime during the second half of the nineteenth century. I am not a stranger to Buenos Aires, its people or its culture; in fact I have friends and family there. Though I had never been to a Milonga in Buenos Aires I went without preconceived ideas on the Tango Tour, other than I’m going to have the time of my life.  I wasn’t disappointed.  During the Tour I got to meet, dance, and hang out with some of the best known milongueros in Buenos Aires, such as Alicia Pons, Blas Catrenau, Enriqueta Kleinman, Marta Famá, Monica Paz and Néstor La Vitola, among others.  I learnt a lot; from their instruction, from watching them dance, and from their tales and appreciation for Tango that each shared with us. Friday was our first night at Buenos Aires, and the first milonga we went to with the Tango Tour was at ‘Confiteria La Ideal’, a Buenos Aires icon in operation since 1912.  We arrived at around 7.00 pm.  I believe that secretly the group experienced a sense of anxiety, with each of us thinking “How will my dance skills measure in the Mecca of Tango?”  La Ideal is located in the Centro de Buenos Aires area; it has sumptuous high ceilings supported by columns and a décor that takes you back to the beginning of the past century.  We were greeted at the door by the host and promptly escorted to a set of tables arranged next to the Bar for our group.  Our table was at a vantage point from where we could see the complete dance floor, and after ordering a drink I took a deep breath and began contemplating my surroundings.    Who was there?  How are they dancing?  Who would I like to dance with? The Friday crowd at La Ideal is a mixture of locals and tourists.  Although it’s not the most renowned milonga all the patrons observe the milonga codes.  Everyone there was appropriately dressed and groomed, nothing fancy.  People sat at their tables socializing with their party while attentively looking for a potential dance partner.  From the distance and from afar people would exchange head-nods (cabeceo) to express interest in dancing.  Couples flocked to the dance floor at the beginning of a tanda.  Two lines of dance were clearly defined, and you could sense the room moving and vibrating at an unstructured though coordinated rhythm.  After dancing a couple of Tandas I realized I had received the right training; I knew the rules of the game and my skills were good enough to get out there and play; or better yet, to Tango.  Going to La Ideal was a great introduction to what a Milonga in Buenos Aires is all about, but the best was still yet to come.   At around midnight we left La Ideal as a group.  Most went back to the hotel but I was ready for more so I jumped into a cab and headed to Salon Canning.   Buenos Aires, here I am. Cabeceo On Saturday we went to one of Buenos Aires most prominent Milongas; Cachirulo at Villa Malcom.  We arrived early, around 8.30 pm, and there were a good number of people already there.  At the door we were greeted by Cachirulo who arranged tables and chairs for our group.  Our tables were on the hall adjacent to the rectangular dance floor.  Tables and chairs framed the dance floor, with women occupying two adjacent sides and men occupying the opposite two.  After ordering drinks and some food I began to sink into the Tango atmosphere at Malcom, watching the dynamics in and out of the dance floor.  I observed women dancing and admired their ease of movement, inherent beauty and grace.  From the distance I caught the attention of a pair of eyes in a body I had been gazing at; I nodded and received a head nod in return.  I was on my way to dance with ‘Salmon’, a tall slender woman wearing a beautiful salmon colored dress (thus the nickname) that danced like an angel.  She was from Madagascar. Something that caught my attention was how, during the cortina, women were extra attentive in search of a dance partner they wished to dance with.  I was also on the prowl for dancing and noticed that many of those attentive eyes would look away or just look through me when I glanced intently at them.  Yikes, completely invisible, but that is what cabeceo is all about; it’s a basic code that frames a safe environment for accepting or declining a dance invitation.  In the Bay Area I hear followers and leaders whine about practicing cabeceo, and unfortunately many resist recognizing that practicing the code of cabeceo is essential in promoting better Tango dancing. As the night progressed, and considering the times I was invisible to many of the women there, I had several good dances.  At around 1.30 am the group went back to the hotel, but I remained.  Noticing I was alone and that the crowed had thinned, Cachirulo offered me a Table by the dance floor.  Sitting in my new vantage point I looked attentively for potential dancers…but it seemed I was even more invisible; and yes, it was frustrating.  It took a while until I got an accepting nod during the second song of a Tanda.  During the small talk that takes place in between songs my dance partner shared that she decided to ‘risk’ dancing with me for half a tanda because she did not know me and had not seen me dance.  She was Argentenian and I realized that she was the first Argentenian I had danced with that night.  Inadvertently, this woman conveyed the essence and function of cabeceo and I am grateful for that.  The experience gave me confidence that all the drilling about the embrace and musicality I received from Marcelo had given me the tools to swim the waters of the Milongas in Buenos Aires, and I was grateful for that too. The Embrace One night, hanging out with Marcelo and Blas Catrenau, Blas shared his thoughts and feelings about how Tango is usually taught now days.  Paraphrasing Blas, he said something like, …because Tango begins in your ears, when you start hearing the music.  Then it goes to the eyes, as you search for and find the woman you want to dance with.  Then you feel the music and the moves it provokes in your body as you walk towards her; when you reach her you offer a gentle but firm left hand and you establish connection by completing her embrace; and then, and only then you move your feet.  Now days most Tango instructors teach Tango in the opposite order, they start with the feet and usually omit the music, the embrace, and the connection. While listening to Blas I began to associate his account with the experiences I’ve had as an incipient Tango dancer, and I agreed.  While many Tango instructors in the Bay Area talk about musicality, my experience is that most focus on teaching (or performing) steps (believed by many to be the selling points) and pay little or no attention to the connection involved and required for dancing Tango. Experience Tango in Buenos Aires Buenos Aires is a vibrant City, particularly at night.  November is spring in the southern hemisphere and people of all ages hit the streets way into the night hours.  For many the night begins after 11 pm and for some it does not end until dawn, or later.  I found men and women of a wide age range in the Milongas I went to.  Although age is not a factor determining dance skills, some of the best dancers I saw were into their sixties and beyond, and in the 10 days I spent in Buenos Aires many of these geezers were at most of the Milongas I went to.  No coco and TV for these guys; they were out dancing the night away every night. At one of the Milongas Marcelo pointed out a short thin man with few white hairs, he suggested me look at him dance.   His name is Ricardo and he was amazing; elegant, musical, subtle, and about 89 years old.  Needless to say that I got distracted with the many allures at hand, however my admiration for Ricardo solidified later, at a Milonga in El Beso.  That night at El Beso, I had been dancing for a while when Ricardo showed up; Blass introduced us and I received a warm and firm hand shake.  Soon thereafter I began dancing a milonga on the packed dance floor.  I was kneading my moves with the music and the crowd when I spotted a woman glancing with a mischievous smile at someone on the dance floor right in front of me.  Her look was as hot as she was and my curiosity was sparked, so I paid attention to the dancers she had her attention on…and there was Ricardo Suarez, dancing with a statuesque European amazon (I had danced with her earlier) that was melting of joy as her ass jiggled rhythmically to Ricardo’s lead.  Did I mention my admiration for Ricardo?  Caramba, I want to learn to lead that kind of jiggling, I want to provoke that sense of joy. Epilogue I had a great experience with Marcelo’s Tango Tour to Buenos Aires and I am thankful to him for sharing with us his beloved Buenos Aires, his friends and instructors, and his passion for Tango.  I look forward to going back, and this time I’ll remember to enjoy more the warmth and the experience of the milongueros, watch more how they dance, and dance when I can.  In the meantime, I’ll do my best to share and recreate my Tango experience in Buenos Aires with the men and women in the Bay Area Tango community.  Experience Connection – Dance Tango.
  • + TANGO +
    Learning Tango
    January 17, 2012
    About three and half years ago, drawn by my love for and interest in Tango music, I began pursuing learning how to dance Tango.  Little did I know about the experiences this new practice would bring me or the paths it would take me through.  Like most incipient Tango dancers of the twenty first century, I thought dancing was a sequence of steps requiring a great level of mastery.  Consequently, I sought popular instructors that gave the impression of doing graceful moves across the floor on their dance studios.  These wonderful instructors showed me do a bunch of steps; the ocho, the cross, the rock-step, the boleo, the molinete… all off course with Tango music in the background. Although I had the steps under my belt I did not feel I was dancing…something was missing and I had no clue of what that was.  Pursuing the feel of dancing I began going to all the Milongas I found within a 20 miles radius.  In doing so I soon noticed that none of the popular teachers were at the Milongas.  At the time I did not think much of it, I was a novice after all, but time it made me wonder. Over a year after I began my Tango adventure a friend invited me to join her to a class.  I had heard of the teacher but I had not met him.  The class was small and the exercises were different.  No steps.  The emphasis was exclusively on musicality and connection.  Following the lead of our instructor we moved, weighing the beat of the music and keeping engaged with our dance partner.  Such approach was radical compared to previous Tango instruction I had received, and I confess that initially, the relevance and importance of being fully engaged when playing the game of dancing Tango passed way over my head…but eventually I came around as I began to realize and accept that the right attitude is essential for truly dancing Tango.  A person’s attitude towards Tango is reflected in many aspects of his or her behaviors:  our posture, how assertively and in synchrony with the music we move (or not), how we emphasizing the beat with our steps (or not), and even how we choose to dress when going out to the Milonga depict and reflect our attitude towards Tango and our dance partners.  Tango is an experience, it's an experience of engagement with the music and with our dance partner; and once I began to realize this I began to experience Tango for what it is, when you dance Tango you experience connection. It’s been funny to realize that I’ve learned as much Tango by talking with seasoned Milongueros about the dance, the music, and the curious or funny anecdotes of singers, players, or orchestra directors as I’ve learned from dance instructors.  During these conversations I learned and began to accept that, first and foremost, Tango dancing is an act of self-expression; I learnt that Tango lives and develops at the Milonga; and I learnt that for many, dancing Tango is sacred. The Embrace Repeatedly I’ve heard that the embrace is the most important aspect of Tango dancing. Being in close physical proximity to another person brings to surface many emotions; that may explain why many dancers don’t pay attention to their embrace, as if tightly holding a body you chose to embrace was a chore and not a pleasure.  Tango is connection, connection with ourselves (we must be fully present to dance), connection with our partner, and connection with the music; the embrace is where followers rest and how leaders provide assurance and guidance, and the music is the excuse for dancers to keep embraced; intermittently for about three minutes at a time; moving through the dance floor, or barely not. A good embrace holds many paradoxes; it is firm and flexible, it gives structure and freedom of movement; a good embrace allows two to become one, only if each part is accountable for its own.  When dancing closely embraced I juggle many emotions; I want to allow and fully enjoy the sensations that arise embracing my dance partner, and at the same time I want to provide her with comfort and assurance while she is in my arms. The Tango embrace represents the juice of human relations, we offer ourselves to our dance partner and to the dance floor, and whether we like it or not, part of our emotional being comes out naked.  Thus, if we believe this and the embrace brings to surface so many emotions; how do we choose who to dance with?  Seasoned milongueros and milongueras agree that when they are not engaged dancing or socializing at the Milonga they pay attention to the dancers on the floor: who is moving gracefully?  Who is musical? Who is having a good time? Is their dance partner having a good time?  All this information is processed consciously and unconsciously, and the result is our decision of who we want to dance with…or not. The Milonga and its Codes The Milonga is a social event where people gather to dance Tango.  The Milonga provides more than the physical structure, such as the quality of the dance floor, the way tables and chairs are arranged around the dance floor, or the music played by the DJ.  Like Tango, the Milonga is about attitude, and a good Milonga fosters an attitude that promotes safe dancing rendezvous.  This attitude is determined by big and minuscule details; from how you are greeted by the host to the venue’s seating arrangements; from the lighting of the space to the way the patrons dance, their social skills, and the way they cared for themselves for the occasion.  On top of all that, another essential aspect of a Milonga is the adherence to the codes of the Milonga. The codes of the Milonga are simple – music is organized in Tandas of three or four songs by the same orchestra, tandas are separated by cortinas (a non sequitur song), and dancers dance in the line of dance, counter clock wise.  Another important code is ‘cabeceo’.  Cabeceo, or head nod, is the way you indicate another person you are interested in dancing with them.  Unfortunately, this etiquette protocol is often overlooked locally; in fact, many local dancers and resist this cultural aspect of the Milonga, and refuse to accept that cabeceo is essential because it promotes better dancing. How does cabeceo promote better dancing? You may ask; the answer is simple. Cabeceo:  Establishing eye contact with a potential dance partner and nodding your head indicates you are asking that person to dance.  If the person being nodded wants to decline the invitation, he or she discretely stops or avoids establishing eye contact; instead if the person wants to accept the invitation, he or she maintains eye contact and gives head nod in-turn to confirm.  Once the willingness to dance has been established, the leader walks towards the follower, looking for her sight and maintaining eye contact when possible.  The follower remains on her seat, once the leader has approached and has nodded again she gets up and proceeds to accept the dance. Let’s say you are a seasoned Tango dancer at a Milonga.  A new Tanda starts with one of your favorite songs, ‘Te aconsejo que me olvides’ played by Troilo and sang by Fiorentino.  You know this song by heart, and you start feeling the melody slowly creeping inside your body and you start looking for the right dance partner. Who is the right dance partner?  Is it the first available follower at sight? Is it the first leader that nods you?  Well, maybe.  Sometimes those are our best options and we take them; however, more seasoned dancers usually don’t.  The Milonga is a social event, not a practice, and in general we want to dance with partners of our own dancing level, a partner that we are confident will understand how we move and respond accordingly.  When there is a big gap between dance partners' abilities, it is likely that one is enjoying it more than the other, and this gap means that degree of self-expression is distorted.  Although we learn much by dancing with a more experienced dancer, the Milonga is not a practice. Going back to you, seasoned dancer, at the Milonga where ‘Te aconsejo que me olvides’ just opened the Tanda; you look around and see followers and leaders scaning the room for potential dance partners.  So, who do you want to dance this Tanda with…maybe someone with whom you’ve already enjoyed dancing Troilo with, maybe a leader with a melting embrace, maybe a soft and sensitive follower that is like a cloud flowing with the slightest breeze.  The beauty of cabeceo is that it clearly sets the difference between a practica and a Milonga; it allows dancers to respectfully decline an invitation, or to accept without uttering a word.  Because dancing Tango is personal, and I am ready to show it.
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    Good and bad tango dancer
    December 6, 2011
    The following are my answers to a questionnaire from the Institute of Transpersonal Psychology of Palo Alto, made in 2011. 1. What qualities characterize a good Argentine tango leader during the dance? MS: Secure, precise, smooth, gentle, patient, adaptable, smart, elegant, musical, respectful, protective, spontaneous, unintentional, efficient and aware. 2. What qualities characterize a poor Argentine tango leader during the dance? MS: Insecure, imprecise, rough, impatient, rigid and single minded, silly, ignorant of the music, disrespectful, intentional, calculative and unaware. 3. What behaviors and attitudes are demonstrated by a good Argentine tango leader? MS: Asking to dance according to the etiquette, entering the floor acknowledging others, following the line of dance, listening to the music and knowing it well (knowing the song, the orchestra, the singer, the year of the recording, etc.), letting the dance just happen rather than trying moves and steps, not talking or chatting while dancing, talking nicely between songs, at the end of the tanda accompanying his partner back to her place, not insisting on a second tanda. 4. What behaviors and attitudes are demonstrated by a poor Argentine tango leader? MS: Asking to dance in an inappropriate way making the other person feel obliged, entering the dance floor at any time and place without acknowledging other dancers, not following the line of dance, not listening to music, not caring to learn about it, trying to do moves and steps, talking while dancing, being mean to his partner, correcting or teaching her, leaving his partner on the dance floor at the end of the tanda or insisting on another tanda. 5. What behaviors and attitudes are demonstrated by a good Argentine tango follower? MS: Listening to music, knowing it well, waiting for the lead but also dancing (not just following), being present in the moment like someone who takes a challenge, being patient. 6. What behaviors and attitudes are demonstrated by a poor Argentine tango follower? MS: Not caring about music, moving by herself without waiting for the lead or just plain following without any life in the moves, being absent minded (for example, thinking about the next leader she wants to dance with), impatient, asking you to dance or making you to feel obliged to dance with her. 7. What qualities characterize a good Argentine tango follower? MS: She really likes the music and knows it well, she is elegant, natural, and spontaneous. 8. What qualities characterize a poor Argentine tango follower? MS: Does not care about music, is exaggerated and calculative. 9. By what criteria do you judge a good dance? In other words, how do you know when you have experienced a good dance? MS: A good dance is when everything happens without any intention. 10. How do you know when you have had a bad dance? MS: I never had a bad dance. If it is not going to be good, I know it beforehand, so I pass. 11. As a teacher who has many opportunities to observe couples, what do you look for—or what do you see—in a good dance? MS: No intention. 12. What do you see in a bad dance? MS: The dancers try too hard.
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    Seven tips for women who want to dance more in the milonga.
    December 5, 2011
    Written by Marcelo Castelo and published in ArgenTango magazine #2. Translated by Olga Matveeva Throughout the years milonga organizers hear continuous complaints from women: "Tonight I danced very little", "There are no men", or "I am not asked to dance". The reality is, in general, in many milongas the quantity of women is larger than men. Adding that the men also take breaks between tandas to get a drink or perhaps smoke a cigarette, it lowers  the women's possibility of getting a dance. However, women also wonder: what they contribute from their part to the fact that they dance less or more? To help all those women here are some suggestions that, albeit obvious, are worth repeating, and, perhaps, would increase their possibility of dancing in the milonga. 1) Learn to look It is known that in the traditional milonga the invitation is made by the man by means of cabeceo. So it is essential for the woman to learn to observe and notice these looks and gestures. Sometimes we see women in the beginning of the tanda getting distracted, not paying attention to the man's signals, so the latter changes his mind and chooses to invite someone else. In other cases, for shyness or intimidation, women refuse to look directly at men, and end up sitting. Hence, stay alert under the men's glances, especially at the beginning of each tanda. 2) Put on your best face The milonga is a place where people want to relax, forget their everyday problems. For that reason, men will keep away from a woman with a sour facial expression. Your most attractive feature is your smile. Be in a happy mood, others will perceive it. A good moment to show your cheerful disposition would be a salsa break. In my personal opinion, this is the most important advice. 3) Care where you sit in the room Often women keep asking to be seated in places that are far from being the best in order to get more dances. Being in the first row, closest to the dance floor is not always the best. When there are no men on the sides or in front within reasonable distance, women will have to wait till someone walks closer to their table. Once you got a seat, study the best angle to direct the glances at prospective partners. 4) Do not always expect the best That one illustrates very well the paradox of the dancer: the better one learns to dance, the less possibilities occur to apply it, for the lack of suitable partners. It is inevitable one wishes to dance with somebody better than him/her, but if it were always the case, nobody would ever dance with anyone! Try to go to the milonga with no expectations beyond having some good time, and do not get super selective with the occasional partners. Also, dancing is not everything, lets not reject the opportunity to meet interesting people just because they do not fulfill our expectations as dancers. 5) Improve your dance level, take lessons A recurrent saying among milongueros is that everyone believes to be a better dancer than he or she really is. It does not matter what you think about your dance level, it matters what your partners think. When one dances better, she gets invited more. Therefore, take lessons! 6) To be and to appear Any woman who frequents the milongas cannot help but notice: when enters a well dressed man, wearing an elegant dark suit, impeccable shoes, he always attracts women's attention. Same goes for women. Hence, if you go to a milonga where people don't know you, the more you look the part, the better. Dressing with elegance, carrying yourself with poise, behaving like a milonguera will secure you a number of invitations to the dance floor. Of course, all that has to come with a decent level of dance. 7) Become a regular If you jump a lot from one milonga to another, know that you always have to pay "the floor due" before people start recognizing you. Men tend to invite partners they know, otherwise they wait for someone else to ask a woman, so they can observe her dance level. Upon entering the milonga, give greetings to the men you had danced with in other places. Becoming a regular in a place is the most convenient way of securing dance invitations ( providing you paid attention to all the above mentioned advice).
  • + TANGO +
    Etiquette: "Cabeceo", "cortinas", "tandas", and line of dance
    December 3, 2011
    "Cortinas" & "tandas" “Cortinas” are small pieces of songs that separate different sets of tangos, milongas or valses (“tandas”). Each “tanda” contains four songs by the same orchestra. In this way, you know that after the “cortina” a new set, played by a different orchestra, is coming, usually a different rhythm and style than the set played right before. The “cortinas” are also a chance to change partner. The etiquette in Buenos Aires is to dance with the same partner until the end of the set. So, when the “cortina” starts to play you can say “Thank you” and go back to your table. The “cortina” makes clear that the set is over. You will have to wait for the next set to begin before to ask any other partner to dance. Once you and your partner get into the dance floor, you want to make sure what kind of rhythm (slow, fast) is being played, so please don’t start to dance right away! “Tandas” of Latin rhythms, Swing and Argentine Folklore are also played in Buenos Aires milongas. "Cabeceo": eye contact . Asking someone to dance Facing the fact that to be rejected is always painful, the Porteños (people from Buenos Aires) developed the “eye contact” as the proper way to ask someone to dance. They just look at the person they want to dance with. This applies either for men or women. If the man wants to dance, he will let the woman know by a nod of head towards the dance floor. If she does not want to dance, she will deny with the head. If the woman wants to dance, she will answer back with a smile or an assenting sign with her head. After these subtle signs, he will go to her table (or where she is) and take her to the dance floor. If the other person does not want to dance (man or woman), when the “eye contact” occurs, he/she will look to a different direction. Another way to ask a woman to dance, and this one is maybe for the more braves, is to go to where she is at and introduce yourself (if you don’t know each other from before) and/or start a conversation. After exchanging some words, you can ask her if she would like to dance with you. Tango is a SOCIAL dance. It is not a sport, so the milonga is a place not only to dance, but also to meet new people, chat with friends, etc. In Buenos Aires if a person come out of the blue and asks you to dance, it is considered a very aggressive attitude. It will be almost like saying: “I just want to dance with you and I don’t really care what you think about that”. There are many benefits of these “techniques”. One is that it takes in consideration the feelings of both partners, so when the dance finally happens, they both know they are where they want, which is the most important requirement to have a good dance. They are not dancing because they have to. Also, it is part of the ritual of tango which is a very intimate dance. I think that if you are learning to dance a foreign dance, like tango or any other, you have to try to understand the codes that come with it, because for sure you will find out they have some kind of sense. Line of dance The line of dance is not an Argentine invention; it did not begin with Argentine Tango. The line of dance was already in the European dances in fashion of that time (1800’s). The counter clockwise direction roots in ritual dances that proceed even the social dances that originated during the Renaissance. The Argentine Tango dancers just adopted it. In Argentine Tango the line of dance is an expression of the dance itself, understanding it as a way of walking. Also, it is the result of an agreement that shows the respect among the dancers on the dance floor.Seeing it from a practical point of view and making analogy: it is like traffic on the freeway, without the speed, but everyone is going in the same direction in your lane of traffic.
  • + TANGO +
    On learning tango
    December 2, 2011
    On learning tango. Starting out in milongas. by Olga Matveeva on Tuesday, January 25, 2011 In my opinion, starting Argentine Tango should not be different from entering any social community for the first time. Before traveling abroad, we try to find out about some specific local rules and customs that, if not observed, paid attention to, could put us in trouble. When we begin at a new job, we do not start by saying that things had been done wrong (even if it seems so at times), and by teaching everyone new ways. When we start socializing with any unfamiliar party, we listen, look around, pay attention, learn. All teachers I have taken lessons from spoke about the rules, at least to certain extent. It might not be happening everywhere in every class people go to. I believe that instructor must speak about such matters as line of dance, navigation, social etiquette, in their classes. If your tango instructor never mentions that during lessons, then, perhaps, he or she is not qualified to teach tango, or does not intend to prepare the students to be social tango dancers. If your goal is to attend milongas, you better find another class. Behaving as an adequate member of the tango community right from the start is more important for your success than knowing fancy steps. Unfortunately, some people who take up lessons, attend milongas, are not interested in a social aspect of tango. For them tango means putting on a vintage dress with sparkles or a fedora hat, and become a passionate, exotic night creature that in real life they are not. Of course there is nothing wrong in dressing up and having fun per se. The problems begin when they bump into (pun intended) those for whom milonga is not a Halloween party, but a place where they open up, look for genuine connections, a social ritual where the codes of behavior are not arbitrary. The rules of etiquette are in place for good reasons. They ensure that all the participants enjoy themselves in a safe environment, minimizing negative feelings and frustrations that may arise from social interactions in close quarters. Understanding a culture, becoming part of it might be a fascinating journey, but it takes time and effort. Tango is a culture, and as such, should be approached with sensibility and respect.
  • + TANGO +
    Tango History
    December 1, 2011
    Argentine Tango is a dance originated in the poor neighborhoods of the largest cities in Argentina and Uruguay at the end of the XIX century. It represents the cultural mix of immigrants and the established population. In the 1800’s, Buenos Aires and Montevideo had a population of 25 % to more than 50 % of Africans each. They were servants of the most influential families of these cities and were more integrated to the life of these families and the society in general than the Africans of other societies like North America. “Tangos” were called the black people celebrations and places of meeting since the beginning of the XIX century. Is in these places where the dance known today as tango began the development of its choreography and music. Other African terms directly related to tango are “milonga” and “candombe”. “Milonga” is a Quimbanda expression that means “words” and referred originally to a kind of duel between two countryside singers called “payadores” that playing guitar will improvise verses of eight syllables with a structure type question/answer; while “candombe” is a Bantú word that referred originally to the rhythms and dances made by the Africans in their tango meetings and also to these meetings. When they were given freedom (1853) they created several associations -kinds of   unions- to help themselves, and placed them mostly in the area of the   neighborhood of Montserrat. During   carnival, they used to go out on the streets with bright colored costumes and   big-feathered hats, dancing many hours to the monotonous rhythm of “candombe”—   the music they played at these events. Different associations competed for the   supremacy and this developed into bloody incidents in the streets. The   repetition of the violence forced the police to close many of those associations   in 1877. It was the end of black people’s carnival. The consequence of this was   the creation of several dance centers where they developed a kind of couple   dance called “tango” using the same choreographic elements they used before in   their candombes. But that tango was not an embraced couple dance. They danced it   separately. Other influence in the origins of tango comes from a typical character of the Argentine Pampas: the   “gaucho”.The “gaucho” is the product of the mix between the first Spanish   arrived to the lands later called Argentina, and the natives. They were very   skillful in the techniques needed to survive in the countryside. They liked to   live far away from populated cities and towns, had not regular jobs,   occasionally get hired by the owners of the “estancias” (farms), and knew the   secrets of the knife fencing and horse riding. They had a strong morality of   independence and, if needed, faced the arbitrarily police. These “gauchos” had a   very important participation in the battles for the emancipation against the   Spanish Kingdom. They symbolized the ideals of autonomy, courage and justice   without arbitrariness. After the Constitution of 1853 the ideas of modernity and progress start to   shape the new country. The “gaucho” did not fit in this project and began to   suffer a persecution. The lands where the gaucho used to wander were confiscated   and given to others. Having not other option they moved into the poor suburbs of   the city and got jobs as butchers, herdsmen, horse-breakers or cart drivers. Even though the gaucho goes under a metamorphosis, leaving the horse,   shortening his knife to hide it better because it was not allowed in the city,   changing his clothes and getting the new name of “compadre”; he still keeps the   same ideals of justice, independence and courage. His new neighbors start to   admire him and many times came to him looking for protection or advice. The   young men of these poor suburbs start to imitate the attitudes of the compadres   and soon got for themselves the name of “compadritos”. Although the gaucho, transformed in compadre, brought the “milonga” to the   slums, he did not dance. His inheritors, the compadritos, did dance. They took   the choreographies of other dances which had arrived from other places of the   world and were danced in the port of Buenos Aires and Montevideo such as polka, mazurka, waltz, and habanera; and danced   with them to the music of the milongas. Further more, they also incorporated   elements from the black people’s dances, from their “tangos”, most of the time   with racist sarcasm. This originated a way of dancing called either “tango” or   “milonga”. Although the gaucho, transformed in compadre, brought the “milonga” to the   slums, he did not dance. His inheritors, the compadritos, did dance. They took   the choreographies of other dances which had arrived from other places of the   world and were danced in the port of Buenos Aires and Montevideo such as polka, mazurka, waltz, and habanera; and danced   with them to the music of the milongas. Further more, they also incorporated   elements from the black people’s dances, from their “tangos”, most of the time   with racist sarcasm. This originated a way of dancing called either “tango” or   “milonga”. When these dances arrived to the port of Buenos Aires in the second half of XIX   century, the embrace technique was known as “dancing to the European fashion”.   The compadritos adopted this technique and incorporate it to the movements they   took from the African’s tangos. Until this moment, all the embraced dances were   of continuous movement, which means that one time the couple starts to move will   not stop until the end of the song. On the other hand, the African’s tangos, as   well as the other not embraced dances, used “figures”, which means that one or   both partners will suddenly stop and take a position called figure. In order to put together these two different ways of dancing – the embrace and   the figures – the compadritos had to go further into the embrace technique and   create the “close embrace” technique. Before the tango, there was space   in-between the partners in all the embraced dances. With tango there are not   space in-between partners anymore. Tango incorporated the close embrace technique that allows the “figures” in the   embraced dance: one partner will stop while the other keeps moving or both will   suddenly stop for a while and restart the movement a few beats later. The   close embrace was enough for tango to be disapproved by the serious society. In   addition, the compadritos liked to play with the scandal and with a mocking and   unconcerned attitude making provocative movements in the dance for the amusement   of some and the shock of the others. The 1853’s   Constitution opens Argentina to the immigration. Millions of immigrants,   mainly Italians and Spanish, arrived to the country and changed it radically.   Tango was influenced by the immigration too. Its rhythm slowed down and its   melodies acquired a nostalgic flavor in contrast with its original joking   attitude. Its choreography also changed, leaving its provocative character and   tidying up its figures. A novel instrument was incorporated to the tango music,   the bandoneon, created in   Germany, which fits perfectly with the new shape of tango. Soon, the bandoneon   became the icon of tango music. All this will prepare tango for its acceptance in the Europeans ballrooms.   The 1913 was the year of its highest popularity in Paris. This made it return to   Argentina, its natural country, from the “big door”. Rejected before by the high   society as a product of the slums, it became praised for everyone thanks to its   international fame. Everybody wanted to learn to dance tango at this   time. Only the 1917 World   War will stop the popularity of this dance in Europe, but just for a while. The same year, 1917, a countryside singer, included in his repertoire the first   tango with a lyric, creating the way of singing tangos. This man was Carlos Gardel, and even he   died in 1935, he still reigns as the model of the tango singer thanks to his   1500 records. The WWI, the post war crisis and the bright presence of Carlos   Gardel eclipsed tango as a dance for a while. This was the period of the   popularity of the “tango-canción”(tango-song), good for listening but not   necessarily for dancing. In 1935 Juan   D’Arienzo incorporated the piano player Rodolfo Biaggi in his orchestra and with a fast and playful rhythm which reminded the origins   of tango, started to attract thousands of dancers back to the ballrooms. The   acceptance of this orchestra was so big, that other orchestras begun to imitate   its characteristic rhythm.  At this point, tango was a mature artistic expression. Music, dance and poetry   reached its pinnacle and developed during the 1940’s in what was known in   Argentina as the Golden Age of Tango. During these years, tango defined the   shape we know today. Three decades of dictators made tango blur in   Argentinean’s life, especially tango as a dance, but was not enough to make it   disappear. 1984 was the year where the democracy came back in Argentina and it   also the year which tango revived. The worldwide acceptance of Astor Piazzolla music, who knew how to integrate tango to other musical   expressions as classical music, jazz and rock, incorporating electronic   instruments; the triumph in Russia of Julio Bocca, an international known Argentine ballet dancer who danced to Piazzolla music; and   the amazing success in Broadway of the show “Tango Argentino” which presented   the greatest tango dancers at that time; all of these plus the freedom of   expression that democracy brought to Argentineans, made possible what we are   able to see today: a strong presence of tango not only in Argentina, its natural   country, but also in the whole world. Why did tango triumph all over the world? It is not easy to find one absolute   answer but maybe has to do with the necessity of expression and Tango is a dance   where all the range of human feelings can be expressed: happines, homesickness, passion, wittiness and much more. Bibliography: “Crónica general del Tango”, José Gobello. Editorial Fraterna, Buenos Aires,   1980. “La historia del Tango”, tomo 2 “Primera época”, Roberto Selles y León   Benarós. Editorial Corregidor, Buenos Aires, 1977. More about Argentine Tango:, Argentine tango in Wikipedia
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