Showing posts from November, 2010

Cortinas and the tango playlist

Cortinas (short grabs of music) have become a tradition at milongas that allow dancers to change partners - or take a break between sets of tango music. For me the cortina music needs to be in the mood. I like to play cortinas that come from the same period as the tango music but are from a different genre - they don't have to be recordings from that period, butsongs from that period... and I like to play cortinas that match the theme of the evening. This weekend we are doing our Blue Tango milonga - last year's was enormously popular so we are doing it again! And I have chosen songs about blue - blue eyes, blue skies, being blue... for the cortinas with songs with blue in them for the playlist.
Last month we had a full moon so we used songs about the moon... 'Moondance' sung by Van Morrison,  Fats Waller singing 'By the Light of the Silvery Moon' and Rod Stewart singing 'Moonglow' ... and dotted throughout the playlist were songs about the moon, such a…

Tango Music reaches new heights

What a night! The venue looked fantastic thanks to the work of Chris from Tango Encanto, the musicians played divinely and the crowd danced! It was everything we had hoped for and more.
Being given the opportunity to organise a milonga with such legends as Ignacio Varchausky from Orquesta El Arranque and bandoneon virtuouso Santiago Polimeni with Fuego Blanco and their mentor, Maggie Ferguson was fabulous and the organisers pulled out all stops to make it a night to remember.
The table of 12 from Newcastle were in awe, most had never seen a bandoneon before, let alone two played by such experts. Promoting the work of TangoVia and it's endeavours in preserving tango music for the future was also a focus of the night.
There is a chance there may be an opportunity to do it again next year! Meanwhile if you know of anyone who has a collection of old vinyl records with tango music on them - ask them to contact the Tango Digital Archive  - - they may have a tango recor…

80,000 missing tango recordings

Last night I squeezed myself into the audio room in the Cervantes Room for a presentation by Ignacio Varchausky of the Tango Digital Archive - and I learnt some disturbing stuff about what has happened to tango recordings of the 20th century. It seems we've got a real treat in store if the Tango Digital Archive can get the funding it needs to digitise the 100,000 recordings they have determined were made in the first part of the 20th century. So far we are only listening to around 20,000 (just checked my itunes library and find I am 15,000 short! - note to self to spend more on tango music!) and most of them are really bad recordings.
Pretty obvious actually - there are some I have that I could never use the background noise and scratchings are so bad you can barely hear the music.
Senor Varchausky and his team at the Tango Digital Archive have just completed the Pilot Phase of their project to digitise Every tango recording. His presentation showed us how the database will operat…

Bandoneons in Bondi

There will be two! and an amazing tango orchestra led by Ignacio Varchausky, co-founder of Orquesta El Arranque, one of my favourite modern tango orchestras! and they will be here in Bondi Junction this Thursday... at a milonga. I am so excited - not just about the music but about the opportunity to dance to a real live top-notch tango band!
When this was suggested to us months ago I hoped that everyone in Sydney who loved tango would drop what they were doing and come and enjoy the night! but of course that is just a pipe-dream and there will be many who miss it for silly reasons and others who have obligations.  But those who come will I hope have a Tango Moment to Treasure.
Ignacio will be joined by virtuosic bandoneon player Santiago Polimeni, fresh from playing Piazzolla's "Maria de Buenos Aires" in Adelaide, and Fuego Blanco, who have just returned from intensive studying in Buenos Aires and a weekend of tango in Canberra with their teacher and bandoneon player, Ma…

Crazy floorcraft

In the last week a post from Chris of Tango Encanto on the Sydney Tango forum has highlighted the problem of bad floorcraft at the Sydney Tango Milonga at Concord RSL. This is not new and was brought to Sydney's attention when Javier Rodriguez made a comment about lack of floorcraft which was reported on the same forum.. Since the Concord milonga became popular dancing there can be a bit like riding a motorcycle in Ho Chi Minh traffic!
Last night I once again saw crazy floorcraft. This time it was on a much smaller floor and there no 'nuevo dancers' taking up large parts of the floor and swooping into every gap. Instead there were dancers who, totally oblivious to those around them. lifted their feet like they were wearing snow shoes and careened diagonally through the middle of the floor knocking into other dancers as they went. Every dance I had I was danced into, even when we were marking time! Most of these dancers came from two parts of Sydney and most looked they ha…

Fuego Blanco - better every time

Sunday night was Tango night at Sydney's Victoria Room. The venue's atmosphere of a comfy drawing room from times gone by, was perfect for the wet and windy Sydney night. Golden table lighting and a friendly vibe added to the feeling that you had just popped into your great aunt's for an evening of music and company - and when Fuego Blanco started playing it was just about perfect. These young musicians are constantly striving to play better and better tango and every time I hear them I am impressed by their playing - Sunday was no exception.
I am not sure that Sydney's tango dancers realise just how lucky we are to have a group who are so keen to play good danceable tango music. As musicians they love Piazzolla, but they also want to play tangos for dancing.
The Victoria Room began to put on tango to draw people on a Sunday night and it is working. What better way to end the weekend - or start the week - than with a glass of good wine (much as I appreciate the role…