The best way to become familiar with tango music is to listen to it as much as you can. Listen at work. Listen in your car. Listen while working out. The more you hear, the more you internalize the music, and, consequently, the better you dance. One of tango's little secrets is that there are only about 200-300 tangos that get played regularly at the Milongas in BsAs. Old-time tangueros will have at least a fleeting knowledge of most of them.
Think about it this way: a "Classic Rock" radio station in the US may only have 200-300 songs in regular rotation. If you grew up in the States, chances are you have heard all these songs and can sing along to a few. If you grew up in the tango world, you'd know just as many tangos.
The problem is that is can be difficult to find tango music outside of Argentina. Most of what you can buy at a records store is Piazzolla or show tango, which are not the most suitable for social dancing. People often ask me what CDs they should buy to become familiar with tango for dancing. Every dancer or musician has their own opinion. There are some good guides on the Internet. However, each CD only has 2 or 3 "hits" that are commonly played at Milongas. DJs seem to pride themselves in paying $25 for an imported CD just to get a single danceable track!
You can buy good CDs at Zivals.com The store is in Buenos Aires, but they ship all over the world. You can buy most CDs at the Argentine equivalent of U$5. Unfortunatley, shipping for a single CD may be U$8, so a CD from Zivals ends up being about the same cost as a CD from Amazon.com.
One of my favorite sites on the Internet is Tango RBerdi: El diario. This is a blog by an Argentine gentleman who posts 2 or 3 albums worth of MP3s nearly every day. He posts them to rapidshare.com, which is a German file-sharing service. You can download one file an hour for free, or you can buy an "all-you-care-to-download" pass for a few euros. Most of my tango MP3s have come from this site or other sites like it.
Anyway, I wanted to post a very subjective list of 70 of the most played tangos. If you are a dancer, most of these will be somewhat familiar to you. You can download the complete collection in .ZIP or .RAR format (280M). You can also new window. If you want to become more familiar with tango, put this on your iPod or burn it to some CDs and listen, listen, listen.
PS: I've also put together big, downloadable collections of the most common Milongas and Vals
You can download the tunes in one big file at milonga.zip / milonga.rar (145M) or vals.zip / vals.rar (175M).
Posted by bbarnes at May 8, 2008 11:56 AM