A new respect

I have developed a new respect for the DJ’s of Buenos Aires. Every day and every night these (mostly) men  create tandas straight from their vast knowledge and entirely off the cuff.

It looks easy, all you have to do is put three or four tunes together from the same artist and from the same era with similar rhythms. Of course anyone could do it, and many over here think they can.

I decided to create a Milonga to celebrate our Coral wedding, a simple matter of putting together about twenty tandas with a Cortina between.

My first problem was with a milonga tanda, I just could not find enough tunes by D’Sarli, I had to add one otherby Firpo to my list. Several times I could not find what I wanted but after a lot of work in the end Ithink I managed it. It all looked grand until I played the whole lot together, then I realised that there were more than one or two errors.  My Fresado tanda consisted of three canjengues and one melodic tune; I had a similar problem with Troilo.

I have rewritten my list over and over, maybe I am striving for a perfection that cannot be achieved, but I know that every day in Buenos Aires this is done successfully.

This work has taken me several weeks, I think I am finally there, but I would not want to do it again in a hurry, never mind putting it together on the night, with an audience in waiting.

To some here I am the expert on the music, because I am able to name some tunes and, mostly, knowing exactly when they are to end. This though is just an illusion I create, I have my favourites, tunes that I know well. These I can name, but if you could imagine the vast catalogue that exists outside my knowledge, then try to imagine knowing all this music, when it was produced, the cadence and the rhythm, you would get some idea of the skills possessed by the Buenos Aires DJ’s.

These men were born into a world of tango, from their mothers knee they heard the tunes of  D’Arienzo Tantori and Biagi, we can try to ape them, we can work on preparation, but in the end they are almost as great as the artists themselves and they have a genius that we can only wonder at.

Footnote Jantango has just published an article about Dani a Buenos Aires DJ. Read it and enjoy:http://jantango.wordpress.com/2010/03/21/best-dj-in-buenos-aires/


Filed under milonga, Tango

7 responses to “A new respect

  1. tangobob

    Have you read Janis’s article on Dany? A truly great tango DJ. Personally I have a few tandas in stock just in case, saves me winging it.

  2. Captain Jep

    Yes I have everything ready from the start as well.

    The only change I sometimes make is to add a second “final tanda”. Either because people want to keep on dancing or (as on Sunday) because I havent yet had the chance to dance with somebody I really want to dance with (the DJ’s prerogative! lol).

    I dont actually want to change the playlist as I go. It’s just too risky. Too many knock on effects. So yes I am always in awe of those who do and can make it look seamless.

  3. tangobob

    Hardly an experienced DJ. I have created milongas, but always in advance, so that I have it crafted before I even start. As you say it is not easy so I think it is better to do your preparation well in advance. You are right about alternative music polarising opinions, I think it is best reserved for those milongas where they do a lot of nuevo, abit of Cumbia in the middle is great, just like BsAs.

  4. Captain Jep

    Hi again.

    Ah sorry Bob didnt realize you were already an experienced DJ.

    Have just done some more DJing at the weekend. Some people liked it, others not so much. Crikey its not easy…

    I think in the UK we do try to add more alternative stuff than in BsAs. It was that stuff anyway that polarized people’s opinions like nothing else. Its definitely the hardest thing to get right.

    I like the idea of having a cumbia/salsa tanda. Im becoming convinced that it’s a much more attractive thing to do than put on some electro tango. Maybe along the lines of it being better something completely different, than having something which is a half baked substitute for the real thing 😉

  5. jantango

    That’s why I am amazed every night at the superb quality of programming that Daniel Borelli gives us at Lo de Celia Tango Club on Wednesday and Sunday. He is a true professional who takes his work seriously. He knows the music and how to blend the tunes into a combination that flows. Dany doesn’t dance tango, but he certainly knows how to please the most discriminating dancers who expect to hear the best of the 40s recordings. His selections of jazz, rock ‘n’ roll, salsa and cumbia also keep the dance floor full. Dany turned 40 yesterday. His other milongas include El Arranque (Monday), Nuevo Chique (Tuesday & Thursday).

    Assembling tandas for a night requires a knowledge of the tango recordings and a good ear for music. It also helps to understand the lyrics.

  6. tangobob

    I have spent years accumulating the “tools” as you call them. But you are right shaping them into some sort of order is another thing entirely. Something the so called tango DJ’s of the Northern Hemisphere do not seem to grasp.
    My time in Buenos Aires has shown me how the real tango DJ’s perform, all I can do is bow to their greatness.

  7. Captain Jep

    You and me both Bob 🙂

    It took me a while to get the “tools” – a large catalogue of tunes together. But shaping it into a set is another thing entirely. You want the tunes to flow one into another and from there to shape the mood of the milonga. The last of these seems to be the hardest – to use the music to create a rollercoaster of an evening, with highs and lows. And you just thought that all the DJs did was to put on a sound track 🙂

    It will get easier. But yes it takes a lot of trial and error. Im not surprised you’re going through agonies trying to get it just right for one special evening.

    Good luck!

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