Posts Tagged ‘music’

Hugo Diaz …

August 5, 2012

Damian Boggio was playing a tanda of Hugo Diaz which I was sitting out when a local teacher (who runs a small milonga and does the DJing there) comes up to me and complains that she find this nuevo stuff boring. I pointed out that this was Hugo Diaz and she managed to remember he’s the one who plays the harmonica (quite obvious from what was being played). I said I think Hugo Diaz is folk as opposed to nuevo. She didn’t quite agree so I googled it this morning but don’t see many Nuevo links to Hugo Diaz.

The same teacher later taps me behind the back and asks if I knew how to dance and wanted me to dance the tanda with her. After about three songs, she wondered who the orchestra was. Well, assuming Damian didn’t just play Francisco Canaro’s Poema and then switch orchestras, I would say that it was a Canaro tanda.

What can I say? If you’re a teacher please please please study the music, especially if you DJ for your own milonga. Thank God she didn’t try to sell me stuff this week.

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Things that can help with musicality

June 21, 2012

I’ve always struggled with the music, like a lot of other dancers I know, I grew up not having much music education besides what I did for a couple of terms in secondary school.

So when I started tango, not only did I struggle to move in time with the music, I struggled to even know how to find the beat. I was so used to modern pop music and tango had so many more layers to it.

Teachers taught me figures and sequences, but never explained the music. Occasionally there were “musicality” workshops where the teachers talked briefly about the music and taught sequences they thought fit the music.

I was lucky enough to have attended Joaquin’s classes in Carablanca and also purchase his book Lets Dance to the Music which can be ordered from his website. The book comes with a DVD with examples for each chapter. It starts bottom up, with finding the beat, double time, half time and moves onto more advanced (for me) topics such as question and answers and the form of tango songs.

Another book I found useful is Aaron Copland’s What to Listen for in Music. Its not about tango, but its about music and written for the laymen like me. Unfortunately, there are no musical examples on a CD so I had to find the examples on youtube.

There are many other resources out there and I’m more than happy for someone to give me suggestions.

What is this music?

June 26, 2010

I caught up with a friend the other night at Negracha. We both started dancing tango three years ago and met in classes at OKTango. I’ve jumped to various schools across London while she’s remained loyal to her original school. Its been a while since we’ve seen each other in a Milonga although we keep each other updated via Facebook.

We were both at Negracha and she’d just been dancing downstairs where they play nuevo, pop and stuff I can’t quite tell what it is. In the past Negracha hasn’t been known for great music (or floorcraft or dancing), however, I think you can get lucky and on some nights, there are decent DJs.

My friend had come up during the last song of the tanda and a cortina came on. “How do you dance to this? Its strange music” she asks. “Well, this is a cortina, you don’t dance to this” I replied as people started clearing the floor. She had admitted that she didn’t know what a cortina is. They just don’t play them at her regular milonga.

I can’t believe someone can be dancing in a Tango scene for three years and not quite know what a cortina is. I must admit, sometimes I get confused when the salsa or nuevo tanda comes on but it never surprises me. Some DJs only play cortinas when there a change from Tango to Vals/Milonga and vice versa. Not ideal but better than those that just random mash songs together.

Why we need good DJs …

February 10, 2010

Was dancing on Saturday night on a very crowded floor. Actually, the number of couples on the floor itself wasn’t that many, it was the fact that there were at least five couples dancing large, some more skilfully than others. It was almost impossible to avoid them and the music was something upbeat, probably D’Arienzo and so they were probably getting more excited than normal.

While dancing, I was really hoping that the next tanda that would come on would be a DiSarli or something a bit calmer so that the dancers won’t be as wild. But instead, a milonga came on which was even more upbeat. But instead of it being a total derby, a lot of people in London don’t dance milonga and the DJ knew this, the floor started clearing up leaving plenty of space for those unscathed from the previous tanda.

A good DJ not only knows good tracks to get everyone dancing, but also when the floor is a bit chaotic and puts on the music that was allow it to settle down a bit. Good to know that there are some decent DJs in London.

Head of a horse

May 4, 2009

There are thousands of tangos and there are countless good songs. Where and how does one start when discussing music?

Lets start with a well know favourite:

So what do you think of the dancing? Its not bad, its got sexual tension, flirtation and seductiveness that makes tango such a sexy dance.

This is a popular song with Hollywood, you’ll see it in The Scent of a Woman and probably some other films as well. The song is called Por una Cabeza and was originally composed in 1935 by Carlos Gardel and Alfredo Le Pera.

Por una cabeza is one of my favourites. I don’t know any Spanish but when I heard the song on my Mp3 player the other day, something reached out and I wanted to know more about the song.

Here are some lyrics: http://www.planet-tango.com/lyrics/porunaca.htm

and also on wikisource.

In a nutshell, the protagonist is comparing love to gambling at the horses and although looking like a sure win all the way to the end, he  just loses out – by a head. Like gambling, he insists that he won’t do it again, but the temptation is too strong and in the end, he is still torn whether to gamble once again.

If you haven’t read the lyrics, then I strongly encourage you to do so. They are beautifully translated by Alberto on Planet Tango.

So, now after having read the lyrics, what do you think of the dancing in the video clip?

Is this song a sexy song? Can you visualise the sexual tension and seduction through the lyrics?

I can’t. But everyone feels tango differently. What do you feel when you hear that song?

To me, there is a sense of sorrow and loss. Everyone gambles on something. We all know the feeling when our gamble didn’t pay off. That if only feeling.

So what about the sexual tension and seduction etc? How does that end up in your dance? Its not in mine but then I’m no milonguero. If someone can find a video of a milonguero dancing and portraying the same sexual tension found in Hollywood movies I’d like to see it.