Daily Archives: November 23, 2020

Milonga Sentimental

I have been asked to write about a weekly tango tune, to help us through these hard times. I will research as much as I can, but please forgive any errors or omissions. Any you spot you can post in the comments and I will try to correct my mistakes.

People often ask “Why milonga” and why is the event the same as the dance. I will try to answer that here.

Long long ago in the days before Rap music even in the days before Tango people met up to create music. Now in old Buenos Aires it started with people creating songs to the same tune. Where they met was called a milonga and so the tune was also a milonga. Milonga is an old African word for words. So we think this was started by African immigrants or possibly slaves. Slavery was not completely abolished here until 1861.

This carried on for a time span that is largely unknown. Then along came a guy called Carlos Gardel. He may be French born or not, but we know for certain his mother was and he spent his formative years in a house behind the Abasto Centre around Almagro.

Now Homero Manzi wrote the words for Milonga Sentimental and needed it putting to music. He asked a guy called Sebastian Piana to do this for him. Now Sebastian was a bit of a rebel and did not want to simply copy everyone else. So he went across the Rio De la Plata to Uruguay and listened to their candombe rhythms. He wrote a tune with the same catchy beat and fitted it to the words. So here was born the milonga, but it would probably would have gone no further without Carlos Gardel.

Now Carlos Gardel was the most famous tango singer of the time, he heard this new tune and rhythm and made a record of it. The rest, they say, is history. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=27HlY0umlmA

The song has gone down through the years having many iterations. I do not intend to list them all here (It would take a book ) My favourite recent one is Miguel Di Genova’ s Otros Aires. If you listen there is a cameo from the Carlos himself at the end. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aIZj1m-rt1c

Much of my knowledge on this comes from Christine Dennison, other references are Wikipedia and much I have absorbed through osmosis.

As I say if you have any issues with what is written here. please comment. I don’t profess to be the font of all knowledge and am always open to corrections.

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