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April 19, 2005

Making Mix CDs for our Sunday Milongas

This may sound odd, but one of the more exciting things I do as a bandleader is to DJ. Let me explain. On Sunday nights, we play 3 45 minute sets of Tangos at the Loring Pasta Bar. I prepare CDs of music to be played durring our breaks and for the hour or so after we are done playing. I especially enjoy creating the post-set music mix, since I actually get to dance to it. It works out that 2 15-minute set breaks and 50 minutes or so of post-band tangos exactly fit onto one CD.

I try to have older tangos for the set break music. I play a lot of D'Arienzo but throw in some Firpo or DiSarli. I usually play a tanda of 4 tangos followed by a milonga. (The milonga signals the band that they need to finigh their drinks and get back on stage.)

For the post-set music, I start with a traditional tango and move out from there. I'm not a fan of the "old-n-scratchy" school of tango music, so I tend to lean on newer recordings of traditional music such as Color Tango, Sexteto Major, Tango 7 (Daniel Binelli), or Nuevo Quinteto Real. (It's kinda sad that when you look up "Nuevo Quinteto Real" on google, the first entry is my blog). I usually throw in a few valses and milonga and end the evening with some more modern stuff. This is where I start to have fun with DJing.

I usually include some mondern standards such as Gotan Project, Carlos Libeddinsky (Narcotango), and Bajo Fondo Tango Club. I also play tracks from Piazzolla Remixed and Tango Crash. These bands and collectives are sort of like the "top 40" of new tango. Almost every milonga that has new tango will have these tracks.

I like to explore music that is slightly outside this arena. Some tracks, such as "Gia en Tango" and "To Tango Tis Nefelis" by the Greek chantuse Haris Alexiou have become tango standards (although "To Tango Tis Nefelis" was originally a wordless "Tango to Evora" by Loreena McKennit). The music from the Cirque du Soleil shows and the soundtracks to "Amelie" and "The Motorcycle Diaries" have some great tunes. I have also found some great eastern european music and remixes that are good tango. There are some great websites with neo-tango DJ lists. I suggest Sharna's DJ List and Stephen Brown's annotated list of neo-tangos. Some of the more obscure European tracks can be found on my favorite site, AllOfMP3.com

I'll post some MP3 soon. I have to get back to my day job now...

Posted by bbarnes at April 19, 2005 12:00 PM

Comments

Bob, thanks so much for the CD last night. I will burn it, and get it back to you very soon. I like the way you have the music become more modern and dream-like as it goes along. I met a woman named Leslie, who knows Scott (I think she said he was your drummer). Anyway, I am burning a copy for her too. I didn't arrive last night until you were done playing, but I plan to come on Sundays when I can and plan to come to the CD release party on the 19th. I love all music, and have a special interest in classical, so Astor Piazzola has been a favorite of mine for about 8 years. I will be telling my friends about Sundays at the Loring. I love the music, and love watching the dancers. Sincerely, Greg Sargent

Posted by: greg sargent at October 31, 2005 2:21 PM

3 questions not necessarily for posting but for you, Bob: 1. OK, I don't like old and scratchy, either, but I haven't heard some of the classic tango artists, e.g., Gardel and Troilo. Can you recommend a CD (or some tracks) with clean sound that capture the best of interwar Argentinian tango? 2. I've only been playing accordion for a couple of years. Sometimes I can play a lead sheet (particularly in an easy key), yet when I looked at the Mandragora book I wished you had bass notated for accordionists who might want to play some of your songbook at home without a band. If I asked for a particular title or two in your songbook, would you share an accordion bass line? 3. I actually am having a good time with Yo Soy Maria (it helps that it's in the key of C and I'm VERY familiar with recordings of the piece). But I have a Weltmeister Ruben accordion, which doesn't do diminished and sure doesn't do Bm7(flat5), Dm7(flat5), or Am6. You own an accordion just like mine. How the heck do you play these chords? Thanks for any assistance you can give.

Posted by: Dan Pinkerton at November 27, 2005 8:09 PM

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