It was the music that got me into tango - my first experience of a live tango orchestra was at WOMADelaide some years back when they had a tango quartet (which they have never had again, to my great dismay - but that is another story).
Today I am putting together the playlist for the next Milonga de Mis Amores. Since doing my first playlist over a year ago I have learnt so much. I am so grateful to Sydney DJ Geoff and Melbourne DJ Nadim for their advice and support as it really got me started on understanding what a playlist is all about and how crucial it is to the success of the night.
I now have a system and I use itunes... only because I am too busy to experiment with other programs such as Media Monkey. I am sure the other programs do this too but I like the way with itunes I can tell how many times I have used a piece before - and when. Of course I have favourites but it is also important to ring the changes. I have two new CDs for this playlist - a Carlos di Sarli (Coleccion 78 RPM, 1940/43) just about every track is danceable and it has a brilliant 'La Cumparsita' plus some new tracks - 'Catamarca', 'Marianito' and a couple of milongas I don't have. And Libedinsky's 'Narcotango' - I like to finish the night with new tango (phrase 'neuvo tango' has too many connotations for me).
I work chronologically - mostly, starting with the Orquestas, such as Tipica Victor and some of the lesser known ones, such as Orchestre Argentin Bianco as they have an early version of La Cumparsita that I like. Mostly I start with an old version of 'La Cumparsita' because it is an oldie and could be said to be part of the birth of tango - and I keep to one orchestra per tanda - mostly! I think it is important for a DJ to have their own style, then those who like that DJ will know what to expect. I finish the night with 'Milonga de mis Amores' because that is the name of the milonga.
Because there are generally more women than men I put three pieces in each tanda, not four. This means that there are more tandas a night, obviously - and it gives more people a chance to dance. Of course if you want to stay with one partner that is your choice.
And I use great old jazz as my cortinas. I have a huge collection of really old and rare jazz from the 1920s, 30s and 40s and it is perfect for such things... songs I have used include "Whispering'', "A Nightingale sings in Berkeley Square", "All you want to do is dance'' and ''Hello Baby'' - there is a pattern to the cortinas which is part of my trademark but when you dance at the Milongas de Mis Amores it soon become apparent.
So off to work I go - what a great way to spend Christmas Eve - tonight I will make the mince tarts with my mother's old family recipe of mincemeat, and the hard sauce - I have made the Christmas cakes - and the seafood is taken care of.
Happy Christmas to you - and your loved ones and friends - and happy tangoing in 2009.