Hola Naifas y Garabos,
this has been an interesting topic, albeit IMHO just
another round in the seemingly endless battle between
the conservative and liberal camps of the tango spectrum.
Coincidentally, a friend of mine who just came back from
Buenos Aires posted the following in a local tango list:
Tango is in trouble. Living in our own world of music and dance, we
are failing to see it. The milongas in Buenos Aires are full. And
when they are not, the practicas are (100-300 people). But in the
real world, outside of the milongas, the picture looks very different.
Argentines, essentially, are boycotting the tango. Many even hate
it. Out of 100 radio stations in Buenos Aires, only one plays tango
music. Argentine companies do not use tango music in their TV
commercials, preferring rock, foreign or national. And Argentine
people that love tango music are in despair. They no longer have
hope that the young Argentines will embrace the tango. Many also
have lost hope in the Europeans. But they have a lot of hope in the
Many Argentine people that are involved with the music of tango, such
as tango historians and others, who may not even dance themselves,
feel that the Americans have a genuine interest and love for tango
music. It appears that many people from the US are buying a lot of
tango music, and not just the most obvious selections, but things
that are rare, and they know what they are buying because they have
been looking for it. These Argentine tango historians look at the
Amerian dancers and DJs with respect and hope. They believe that if
anyone can save the tango, it will be the Americans that love it.
There are many young people (18 +) in Buenos Aires, who dance
beautiful traditional tango with great style and energy, and they do
not dance "nuevo" or dance to electronic tango (both of which seem to
be the domain of dancers outside of Argentina). Instead, they love
to dance to Donato, Canaro, Lomuto, etc. But there are not enough of
them to keep tango from oblivion.
Traditionally, tango orchestras played at the milongas, sometimes as
many as four or five on the same night at the same milonga. There
was also recorded music. Each orchestra had its own unique sound,
and each orchestra's signature was their endings. After the WWII,
there were only two recording studios - Victor and Odeon. As a
result, many orchestras recorded either very little or not at
all. Those that recorded, left a legacy unmatched by anything else
from the more recent history of tango.
Why are the recordings of Pugliese, made in August of1945, have a
very special feel, something very haunting and beautiful that does
not appear in his later recordings? This was the first recording
that Pugliese did with his musicians as a full orchestra. Maybe we
feel that excitement in the music. It was a precious moment for
And what about Orquesta Tipica Victor? That was a special
time. Victor created a tango orchestra that never played in
public. They only recorded. But many, many musicians played with
them. That is why the sound of Donato and Carabelli powerfully
echoes OT Victor.
Because each orchestra had a different feel to their music, the
dancers became very selective regarding who they danced with to
particular music. The tandas maintained the feeling and the dancers
were never surprised by a sudden change. The lyrics of tango also
played an important part. The poetry of tango is beautiful,
memorable, and often painful. It was often written by very famous poets.
If, as my friend says, we Americans are the last hope for
tango, I think the tango will not last to celebrate its 200th