Monday, November 30, 2009

My past life as a mountain man, or "Why am I green?" :: Part One

ALX_0451_PS

I've been pondering the subject of "Why am I green?" for some weeks or maybe even months now. You guys know I ponder a lot, and when I'm not a ponderin', I'm pontificating. Grin.

So I've been wondering what it is that makes me (or anyone) an environmentalist - a greenist. What is it that makes me care about this planet? Sometimes I wish I didn't give shit. I have been going back to my childhood and trying to recall elements/factors in my life, locale, and upbringing that may have formed the foundations of my earthy-ness. I remember my second ex-wife telling me when she first met me that I seemed "earthy" because of my leather watch band. I haven't worn a watch since then, I'm just now recalling. Cell phones ya know.

Anyway, on to the point. Or points. Sometimes, perhaps most times, I digress and get wordy or even verbose. But I digress. Grin.

THE EARLY YEARS :: THE SPORTSMAN'S PARADISE

Okay, so one of my earliest memories is going down to the coolie (Louisiana-speak for a large-ish ditch, but not a full blown bayou, which is pronounced "by you") with my best bud and our black lab(rador retriever) named "Blacky". We were four. All of us. Well, Blacky was two I think. Kyle, my bud, and I were four - maybe even three. Nah, three is too young to go fishing down at the coolie.

I don't want you to get the idea my mom was a bad mom or inattentive or anything - she's the best mom a man could ask for. It was me - my fault. I used to push a chair up to the door so I could unlock it and go 'a ramblin'. I was a ramblin' man at a very young age. An adventurer, an interloper. One time, I woke up at 6am, pushed the chair up to the door, unlocked it and headed on down the street to my favorite neighbor. I knocked on the door, or rang the doorbell, at 6am mind you, okay, 6:05. The mom came to the door. Without missing a beat, or any hesitancy whatsoever (as I recall), I presented my request.

"Do you have any chocolate chip cookies?" I remain addicted to cookies to this day.

But I digress. Grin...

So me and Kyle and Blacky would head down to the coolie to go "fishing" every chance we got. My mom says she would find us by looking for Blacky's tail - wagging the excitement and flagging the notification of where we were. I say "fishing" because we were too young at four or five to do things like use a rod and reel, tie knots and handle lures and such. But that didn't stop us. We just needed a good stick and some good imagination and we were "fishin".

So that's the first "outdoor", "nature" influence I can recall in my life.

The next is Butte La Rose. Our family, along with another family, leased a fishing "camp" on Butte La Rose. It was on a bayou, the ubiquitous reddish-brown muddy water of South Louisiana. Willow trees. Skeeters. Black moccasins. Poison ivy. Thickets of brush home to who knows what - in the mind of a four/five year old kid. All surrounding a basic ramshackle little shack - our weekend fishing camp.

So it was there that my mom dutifully trained me to pee on a bush. Being in the Louisiana wilderness, and being five, there was no inclination to be private about it and position oneself appropriately behind a tree. Whip it out and let 'er rip.

Which I promptly did on the next-door neighbor's bush, or shrubbery, the very next time I had to relieve myself outside. Boy did that cause a stink. I think the family with the young daughter was coming home from church or something, and I was out there in their yard in all my glory - nature boy - answering the call of nature.

THE NEW ORLEANS YEARS ::: THE MIGHTY MISSISSIP

1st through 5th grades. Mm. Kindergarten, too. Ms. McDonald. Ms Viviano, my first grade teacher. Wow. She was getting married and I begged my mom to buy her a gift. Somehow, we actually went to her house to give it to her. Not something you do these days. Politically incorrect bordering on inappropriate. Anyway, we're in her living room, giving her the gift, and a card I suppose - my mom was the consummate prim and proper mom - appropriate gifts, cards, social graces, thank you notes, southern hospitality.

So we're in her living room - and damned if I don't propose to her. Well, maybe not an actual marriage proposal, but I point blank ask her not to marry this guy, and to wait twelve years for me. I'm six, she's twenty-four or thereabouts. What can I say? She was hot.

But I digress. So the New Orleans years involved going fishing with my dad, playing junior golf at the Country Club (dad was huge golfer), and running off with neighbor buds to explore along the levee. I used to climb on the roof of our house - we had a flat/shed roof up high - a cape cod/saltbox kinda thing - and look at the ships plying up and down the mighty Mississip' (river) through my dad's binoculars.

We, my buds and I, would go exploring along the levee, up to no good with the innocent bent of grade school kids. Between the levee and the Mississippi were thick stands of green and dead and broken willow trees. There were also a few stranded barges - made into flop houses for drug addicts and hookers - we would sneak and crawl around and spy on the people inside - laying around doing whatever on nasty old mattresses. Dangerous stuff looking back on it now. But those were the days of innocence.

Boy Scouts. I remember being in Boy Scouts or Cub Scouts. I begged and pleaded with my dad to build a fire. A campfire. In the driveway. On the concrete. With bricks laid around it and on top. Small. Very small. A little camp fire of twigs and dead grass. I'll be careful. Please? Please? Thank you!

My brother, who was mowing the yard (I was still too young for this ever-so-desirable activity) walked by and asked what I was doing. "I'm building a campfire!", I excitedly replied. Excited is an understatement. I was overjoyed. My little twiggy fire was burning and smoking perfectly. I think I had even started it with magnifying glass - the "no match" fire.

My brother says "That's no fire. Stand back, I'll show you a fire." He proceeds to douse my baby blaze with gasoline from the gas can he's holding in his hand. Fire, being what fire is, and accelerants, being what accelerants are, did their thing together. The fire traveled up the stream of gas to the can, at which time my brother flung said can into the yard, leaving a trail of liquid flames across the dry, dead-ish thick St. Augustine lawn, and exploded in a ball of fire some twenty feet away from us. We were fine, but the yard was not. Dad was pissed. I don't remember the punishment.

Looking back now, and knowing my dad better (although he died when I was 21), "knowing" him better as I grew into adulthood without him - I would guess that he was somehow proud of his boys. Not your average run-of-the-mill slackers or ne'er-do-wells. No. We were more intellectual and creative than the neighbors.

Nawlin's recap: The mighty Mississip, the levees, the willows, the adventuring, fishing with dad, Cub Scouts, ships through binoculars, fire on the lawn, stomping around on the golf course and Miss Viviano.

THE MISSIONARY YEARS :: DEEP IN THE HEART OF MISSISSIPPI

6th through 8th grade. Junior High. This is where it gets serious, so I'll try to be more serious. Grin.

We moved from New Orleans to a small town just outside of Jackson, Mississippi. My dad was a geologist with Union Oil Company and he got transferred there to run the office I think. We joined the Episcopal Church. Actually it wasn't a church, it was a "mission". Imagine in the mid 1970's, the Episcopal Church sending their missionaries into deep Baptist Mississippi to start a church. I was told I was a sinner because we drank wine in church and swam in the pool with the opposite sex. Dancing was a sin, too, for these folks. Imagine what they think about Argentine Tango. Hard core religious zealots. In school, I was also told by the same God fearing God loving morally superior 12 year olds that I was a "niggerlover" because I drank after African-American kids at the water fountain, and sat with them at the lunch tables. Hey, I was from New Orleans. New Orleans. What's the big deal? They were my friends. The first ones to extend a warm and welcoming hand to this new kid in the school.

So that was one of my early socially conscientious experiences. It was wrong. I knew it was wrong. It felt wrong. Did that come from my parents? Where did that come from?

We ended up in a brand-spanking-new 3 bedroom, 2 bathroom house in a master-planned community called Crossgates. Middle class suburbia albeit in the country. The street was Cedar Cove. 12 Cedar Cove. A huge lake. Deep dark piney woods. A new German Sheppard puppy named Duke. A cat named Tiger. A banana seat stingray bicycle to explore my new world on. Yazoo clay.

My first explorations that summer started close to home - getting my bearings. Right behind our house - just a hop over the split-rail fence - sat an old, dilapidated antebellum plantation home. It was pretty run down as I recall. It had a long, straight drive approaching it, as is typical, with a row of stately magnolia trees on either side. Mature magnolias. Big'uns.

Within the first few months of being there, the developer bulldozed the house to start building condos or garden homes. As I recall they did leave the magnolia trees intact, lining either side of the new asphalt street. I remember being pissed. Angry. I wanted to do something about it. I did what any intrepid and creative 12 year old adventurer would do. I executed my first eco-sabotage. First and only? Perhaps.
I appropriated and redistributed all the rubber pipe gaskets and lubricant for the RCP drainage pipelines the were laying in the neighborhood. Appropriated on my red banana seat stingray bicycle with a sissy bar - several trips with gaskets looped over my shoulders - several trips with buckets of lube balanced on the seat between my legs - redistributed as deep in the forest as I could manage, never to be found.

Lucky little shit. Lucky I didn't get caught. I'm not sure, but I think I remember the foreman coming and knocking on our door and asking if I/we had seen anything. I was likely the primary suspect with all my explorations around the neighborhood.

I made friends. We explored the woods. We camped out, sleeping under the stars in our funky bedrolls. We appropriated plywood and lumber to build forts. We hunted in the woods. Well, we depleted the overpopulation of blackbirds in the woods. We made huge piles of pine needles and set them ablaze. No real blaze, but tons and tons of smoke. Huge clouds of thick white smoke that alarmed the National Guard. I joined the Boy Scouts. I went to Camp Kickapoo. My cat died. My first French kiss. What was her name? Going "steady". I was on the football team. All the typical Jr. High stuff. I remember writing a letter to the school administration. They had banned wearing flannel shirts unbuttoned as jackets over a T-shirt. That was the style back then. I wrote the letter. I protested. Where did that come from? My parents? Something genetic? Where?

Recap: First memories of a social conscience. Boy Scouts. Camp Kickapoo. My brother's senior trip to Devil's Tower. Running/exploring/camping in the woods and hills. Noticing nature. Watching storms roll in.

The Yazoo clay story I'll have to tell another time.

Stay tuned for Part Two.

Buenos Aires Milonga Guide & Maps

From someone on Tango-L, here is a great milonga map & guide. Very useful if/when you go to Buenos Aires. When I went on my tango pilgrimage a few years ago, I got a great milonga listing from Sharukh, found a map of Buenos Aires and all the barrios online, and figgered it out for myself. I'm geo-centric, a geophile, whatever the word is - I have to look at a two dimensional pulp based graphical representation of the landscape (aka "a map") wherever I go in order to get my bearings - download the lay of the land so to speak. I'm disoriented in a new place until I get my hands on a map. It must be from my past life as a mountain man.

I love a good segue - even if it's a bit obtuse.


Here is the website with links to maps - norte y sur: [Note that there is other jazz on the website as well - classes/teachers, etc.]
http://caseronporteno.com/tangomap.php



Milonga Guide/Listing PDF File:
http://caseronporteno.com/upload/tangomap/milongas.pdf

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Gratitude

A day at the landfill[A day at the landfill...foto by AlexTangoFuego]

There is so much to be thankful for this year. Too much to mention. I'm just happy to be having family and close friends out to the ranch today for some sumptuous grub. A campfire to chase away the chill. Some stars overhead. Good stuff. All very good stuff.

Gratitude in all aspects of a man's life - it's a nice feeling.

Hope you are feeling it too.

Monday, November 23, 2009

I shot three deer today...

A buck and two does...

#1
A deer I shot today #1

#2
A deer I shot today #2

#3
A deer I shot today #3

Okay, I gotta get my head around this...

Another blog post from my PickensPlan profile...trying to get my head around what Mr. Pickens is proposing - was proposing - when the PickensPlan first appeared on the horizon about a year ago.

A little closer...
Photo by AlexTangoFuego

This appears to be a useful resource :: EIA :: Energy Information Administration :: Official Energy Statistics from the U.S. Government ::
http://www.eia.doe.gov/cneaf/electricity/epa/epa_sum.html

Total U.S. electricity generation capacity is currently at about 4,065 million megawatt hours [MWh].

Here's the breakdown ::

Total U.S. Electric Power Production

According to PickensPlan (info gleaned from the home page), wind turbine power is currently at about 48 million megawatt hours [MWh] or 1% of total U.S. power production. Doing the math, that would put the figure at 4,800 billion kWh.

So, for argument's sake, let's say total current capacity is at 5,000 billion kWh.

First and foremost, which I don't ever hear anyone talking about, is the concept of maximum energy production. Under the current state of "affluenza", it's all about more, more, more. We need MORE power, more this, more that. But we don't. Can we all agree that we can't continue building power plants and extracting finite resources infinitely for ever and ever until the end of time?

We need to come clean with the concept of using less energy, figuring out how to live the American dream consuming LESS energy.

So, given that, let's say 5,000 billion kWh is our max - the concept that we should never need more power than that.

Also according to the PP home page, the average American household uses roughly 10,000 kWh (per year). I backed into the figure by using the statement that "4,800 billion kWh is enough power to supply 4.5 million households...".

Keep in mind though, that infrastructure, commercial and industrial power needs are in the 5,000 billion kWh figure.

Now moving on to the dollars.

Pickens says $1.0 trillion for enough wind farms to bring the wind power proportion to 20% of total. Plus $200 billion for the electrical distribution/power grid.

So, corporate sponsorships with little decals on the blades of the turbines aside, let's start talking about where we are going to come up with $1.2 trillion dollars. Or let's say half that as a start - $600 billion.

The momentum of this movement will solve the land challenges - that is the easy part to me.

$600 billion...plus the manufacturing capacity to build millions and millions of turbines.

According to this article on Wikipedia - "Wind Power in Texas", "The Wildorado Wind Ranch is located near Amarillo and consists of 161 MW of wind turbines (70 Siemens Mk II turbines each with a rating of 2.3 MW). These turbines have the capacity to meet the electricity demand of more than 50,000 households."

I'm not sure of the conversion from MW to MWh, but if it's linear, that would mean it takes seventy one [71] 2.3 MW turbines to generate 161 MW of power. It seems to me from driving by Wildorado, that there are more than 71 turbines, but let's go with that figure.

We need 10% from wind (remember, I am going with half of the 20% figures to start out) - so 500 billion kWh. 161 MW = mega is 1,000,000 right? Kilo is 1,000. So 161 million kWh?

I'm lost now. Any engineers out there care to help?

I'm trying to figure out how many 2.3 MW turbines it will take to provide 500 billion kWh....? Let's just say that's a lot of turbines that need to manufactured - not to mention the manufacturing facilities that need to be built to do it. I'm sure the production capacity is not there right now.

Also, to get your head around the dollars involved, a $250 million dollar construction project is huge - like Coors Field (baseball stadium) in Denver. $4.8 billion is the final cost of the Denver International Airport - and I think it took 10 or 12 years to build it. So, $600 billion dollars is huge - the equivalent of building 125 huge airports.

So, now I have my head around the problem...did this help you at all?

Brother, can you spare 22 terawatts?

I'm dredging up some old blog posts from my PickensPlan profile...

I just ran across a good article on ReasonOnline by Ronald Bailey "Brother, can you spare 22 terawatts?" - with great "big picture" figures from Daniel Nocera, a professor at MIT. He looks at current figures, and extrapolates them out to the year 2050 with a global population base of 9 billion.

He also compares world energy consumption at three levels: 1] U.S. levels; 2] Western European levels; and 3] Indian subcontinent levels. I find this very useful in getting my head around the "quality of life" and "living standards" issues.

Here's an excerpt from the article:

However, Daniel Nocera, a professor of chemistry at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, writes a sobering analysis of the challenge of supplying adequate energy to the world in 2050. In his article, "On the Future of Global Energy" in the current issue of Daedalus (unfortunately not online), Nocera begins with the amount of energy currently being used on a per capita basis in various countries and then extrapolates what that usage implies for a world of 9 billion people in 2050. For example, in 2002 the United States used 3.3 terawatts (TW), China 1.5 TW, India 0.46 TW, Africa 0.45 TW and so forth. Totaling it all up, Nocera finds, "the global population burned energy at a rate of 13.5 TW." A terawatt equals one trillion watts.

Nocera calculates that if 9 billion people in 2050 used energy at the rate that Americans do today that the world would have to generate 102.2 TW of power—more than seven times current production. If people adopted the energy lifestyle of Western Europe, power production would need to rise to 45.5 terawatts. On the other hand if the world's 9 billion in 2050 adopted India's current living standards, the world would need to produce only 4 TW of power. Nocera suggests, assuming heroic conservation measures that would enable affluent American lifestyles, that "conservative estimates of energy use place our global energy need at 28-35 TW in 2050." This means that the world will need an additional 15-22 TW of energy over the current base of 13.5 TW.


Here is Ronald Bailey's conclusion:

Maybe Nocera is right that solar power is the way to go, but history teaches us to scrap the Apollo Project model for technology R&D. Federal bureaucrats are simply not smart enough to pick winning energy technologies. Instead, eliminate all energy subsidies, set a price for carbon, and then let tens of thousands of energy researchers and entrepreneurs develop and test various new technologies in the market. No one knows now how humanity will fuel the 21st century, but Apollo and Manhattan Project-style Federal energy research projects will prove to be a huge waste of time, money and talent.

I agree, we need to keep the Federal government out of this. They haven't managed to come up with a comprehensive energy policy, and they have managed to screw up virtually every aspect of "government".

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Mother and Son, Mother and Father

Olga Besio (Federico's Mom) y Federico Naveira in 2008 at Salon Canning dancing to Carlos DiSarli's "Bahia Blanca":




Olga Besio y Gustavo Naveira (Federico's Dad) in 1999 at Sunderland dancing to Carlos DiSarli's "El Once":

Friday, November 20, 2009

Global Milonga on 12/12 :: Pass it on

http://www.globalmilonga.org/cities.html

Mariano 'Chicho' Frumboli Interview

Chicho Frumboli
Photo by Bengt Jönsson :: www.bojtec.com


After unsubscribing from Tango-L several to many weeks ago, hell who knows, maybe it was only last week. Anyway, I realized this morning that I had forgotten about it altogether. Imagine that, someone actually "forgetting" that Tango-L even exists. Amusing. To me anyway, pre-coffee.

Going online to look at the recent posts, I discovered this one, from fellow blogger Joe Grohens, sharing an interview with Chicho. Thanks Joe! Check out Joe's blog "The Topic is Tango".

Here is the full interview in Spanish (with English translation) on the Argentine Tango Dance Research Center website. The interview was done in March of 2008 - I can't find the name of the interviewer. The translation to English is by Celi Arias.

The first part of the interview follows.

ATDRC: What were the influences in your life, artistic or personal, that helped you in the development of your style of dancing?



CHICHO FRUMBOLI: My father had a artistic side that was significant. He was a fine arts professor, he studied the guitar, and I believe that this had a lot to do with my own artistic development, and creativity. I also remember that when I was a child my father often listened to Piazzola, and that was my first contact with the tango; with the music more than anything. That’s why before I became a dancer, I was a musician. At the age of 13 I had my first drum set. Ten years later I began to study theatre with the great teacher and actress, Cristina Banegas.


I began my study of tango dancing like most people do by learning the basics and the structures of the dance. But all of this was so technical that it started to feel quite limited to me. I was a milonguero, I came from studying with Tete and Maria, which was a style that took into great consideration the physical connection with the person you found yourself dancing with in the moment. I needed to express with my body something more and it was at this time that I found my first tango teacher, Victoria Vieira, before Tete, and she took me to meet Gustavo Naveira who had developed a structure to the dance that I had never seen before. Gustavo and Fabian Salas had a practice group where they researched these new forms and they invited me to participate. This was all completely new for me, I had to re-learn the dance within that new form by listening and watching. In one month-and-a-half I learned what I hadn’t learned in two years. That's why for me Gustavo Naveira has been the greatest influence in my dancing, and in my early development. Gustavo and Fabian often traveled abroad to teach, while I stayed behind with all of this information, practicing, and waiting for them to return in order to know where to go with all of this new information that was changing my dance. For me, my work with the dance became a very solitary practice. This coincided with my first trip to Europe, where I went to Paris, and I gave workshops in several other cities. I went with the idea of staying one month but ended up staying for 5. During those 5 months, I began to dance occasionally with Lucia Mazer, though I was still dancing with Victoria. When I returned to Buenos Aires, I stayed for 3 months and then returned to Europe because in that moment it was difficult for me to be accepted with this new style of tango that I was dancing, which was not very well received in the world of the traditional tango. When I arrived in Paris they welcomed me with open arms. They wanted to learn that freedom within the dance, and not fall into the same basic structure that everyone was already familiar with in the tango. It was in that moment where I began working more seriously with Lucia Mazer, and we worked for 4 years together in Paris. Those were the most creative years of my career. I began working with Eugenia Parilla after this period, and we worked together both in Buenos Aires and Paris. She arrived right at the moment where I had processed a huge amount of information that I had not been able to give form to yet, and it was together with Eugenia that I had the most artistic moments of my career. In that moment there appeared a different dynamic of the tango that has to do with using the partner in order to facilitate movements. Up until that point, historically there was always a scenario where there was a lead and the woman followed, but today the connection is works differently. There is much more working with the body of the partner and the woman appears much more as a protagonist in the couple than before. We found a new way of showing ourselves, standing out both singularly and together as a couple in this new dynamic, creating new movements, because even the sacada didn’t exist 7 years ago.



ATDRC.: What is the order of priority when you think about the woman’s role?



CHICHO: I don’t think that woman is going t occupy more or less space, if not that the couple takes on more strength and power when it is a couple, with an equality between the two, and today that is really a division of 50/50. This has to do with the way the man is marking in the moment, if she can not feel comfortable dancing, than I cannot dance. If I am only thinking in my own figure, in my step, in my elegance, and I forget completely in my partner and then surely there will be an accident, or a kick or some kind of total disconnection. If I want to take the movement to create a sacada, I have to communicate to my partner in the gentlest way that we are going to do that particular movement. To do it gently I have to be subtle in my marking, I cant mark only with my hands, I have to do a completely corporal marking, or I propose something and she responds but she does it with another proposal and I then follow her. The strongest thing I achieved with Lucia was this kind of connection and balance.



ATDRC: Do you think your way of dancing has changed the tango? And if it did, in what way?



CHICHO: I think that yes in some way my form of dancing has changed the tango, I know this mostly from comments that people make to mean also because of the process I have lived over these past 13 years I have been dancing. I know that there are people who follow the method which I teach because I see them in the milongas, I see movements that were created by me.



ATDRC: Do you believe that Tango Nuevo really exists?



CHICHO: Tango Nuevo does exist, but it has so for a very long time, it’s not from 5 or 10 years back, Copes was dancing a new tango, Miguel Angel Zotto had a new tango, so we can say that there have been periods. Every once and a while there is someone who appears and proposes something new and that is the new tango of the moment. To think that ‘Tango Nuevo’ is something that occurred only 10 years ago is a commercial exploitation that we owe to the festival organizers, I don’t think I am doing ‘Tango Nuevo’, I feel that I am dancing tango. Because today there is a new generation that learned to dance 2,3 or 5 years ago, who only know how to do the new styles, the ganchos, the colgadas, but who are not in contact with everything that came before, and I go to the milongas and I see people that know how to move but that don’t know how to dance, people don’t breathe tango like they did before.



To continue reading....click here.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Tazza Luz

Tazza LuzPhoto by AlexTangoFuego...

Actually went to a milonga Friday night...and danced...

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Tango v. Milonga :: Interview with Sebastian Piana

I ran across this Tango-L post from Alberto Gesualdi back in 2003.

Bruno wrote:

Milonga is the precursor of Tango these were originally written in a 2 x 4 notation and changed to 4 x 8. The piano scores left from early tangos and milongas proved this point.

Alberto Gesualdi (myself) would like to say this:

It is not very clear the date of start for tango music in Argentina . Some tangos like El Entrerriano are supposed to be from 1896 .

There is sometimes a confusion when using the word milonga , because it is considered as belonging exclusively to tango and being born within the tango environment.

There was a milonga campera or milonga surenia, sung by the peasants whith their guitars. This milonga was usually the same base music, and the changes were made by the singers , with the content of what they say . More or less like bards telling the news or the folklore tradition.

Sebastian Piana [b. circa 1900? d. July 17, 1994] is generally considered as the first musician to write a milonga ciudadana or milonga portenia, in 1932, when he made Milonga Sentimental . I include below part of the last interview made to Piana while he was living. The complete interview is at www.todotango.com.ar

Regarding the milonga subject as well as many other things related to tango , the words "always" . "sure" "certainty" are a bit dangerous to use, since tango origins are still very misty.

Warm regards

Alberto Gesualdi

Buenos Aires


Interview with Sebastian Piana (fragment) [For entire interview click here.]


- Do you share the opinion, held by the Bates brothers, that tango (in its development as musical genre) takes elements from candombe, the habañera and the milonga?

- Certainly. The habañera was almost the mother of tango. The milonga, on the other hand, belonged to country music, what today is known as folklore. Later the milonga arrived in town, but it was not yet that milonga of which I was the forerunner: it was a rural milonga, sung by gauchos, by that country people that, sometimes, improvised....

- Was it the milonga that Gardel and Razzano sang?

- It was a country milonga, that the Gardel-Razzano duo sang as well. The Argentine and Uruguayan payadores (itinerant singers) that had the ability to improvise lyrics: they were naturally born-poets that, among them, they ad lib rivaled to the beat of a milonga. It would not be strange that the habañera, a Spanish air well-known in Cuba, blended with black music and took advantage of the candombe small drum. Later this spread all over America. All this produces the musical origin of tango in Argentina. But tango is a Spanish word. The tanguillo is a Spanish dance.

- Originally the milonga was a music for strings, was percussion added in Cuba?

- I guess so. The Negroes, that have a great intuition and a rhythmic sense, made "their" habañera. This seems to have spread throughout America. That would be the origin of the early tango beat.

- Can we talk of a " Piana's Revolution " as far as milonga is concerned?

- It is, simply, the change from a milonga -which was regarded as belonging to the south and the Pampas, without dance or danced in privacy, and dug by gauchos and payadores-, to the milonga porteña , owed to Maffia and to me. They were melodically quite alike.

The renewal, the porteña and suburban milonga, is owed to a request made by Rosita Quiroga to Homero Manzi. We had given to her a tango that she would sing. However, she asked for a milonga.

Astonished, Manzi told me; "Rosita asked me a milonga". I answered him: but if all milongas are nearly the same thing, very much alike, because of that people improvise on them...."Look, Sebastian, I don't understand anything about milongas", Manzi answered to me. Then I told Homero that he should call me in two days, to see if I was able to devise something. During that time I had in my head the idea of a new milonga. I knew its beat because I had written a previous one so that Josi Gonzalez Castillo (Catulo Castillo's father) would write lyrics to it.

I had the need to make different milongas; and these were: they kept the simplicity of the beat, but with a defined musical shape, as if they were tangos to be sung, but without losing the milonga's essence.

When Manzi called me, precisely in two days' time, I already have composed "Milonga Sentimental", whose music only took me half an hour (the one I had prepared for Gonzalez Castillo's milonga had taken me a whole day). It was not the everlasting milonga, the one improvised by the payadores...

As Manzi, a magnificent poet, confessed to me that he did not understand about milongas, I thought for myself: will he understand mine? He understood it. He arrived to my place on a Monday, he picked up the sheet music and, the next morning, he had the lyric already written. With the lyrics added I began to like the music more. Until then I was more satisfied with the one I had made for Gonzalez Castillo.
So "Milonga Sentimental" was born. It was my second milonga, which turned out to be the first milonga porteña known.

- Catulo's father, finally did he add lyrics to your first milonga?

- No, no. It seems he forgot about it (laughs). He was a great friend of mine and of my father's.




For the complete interview, click here.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Corto de animación For a Tango de Gabrielle Zuchelli

The only critique I would offer is that there seems to be a historical disconnect between the scenes in the animation and the news headlines and the soundtrack - maybe not - I don't have the time to do the research.

I'll bite my tongue about the historical veracity of the knife fight, the fedoras and the dandy clothing. Those are my personal opinions anyway so I'll keep them to myself. This time.

Otherwise, I like it. The animation sequences are good. They are obviously done by someone, or with extensive input from someone who understands/dances tango.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

line of dance by Tony Rathburn

by Tony Rathburn...written yesterday in Buenos Aires...if I'm not mistaken, he's on the tail end of his first trip there with a group of folks from Denver, Colorado...look him up on Facebook and check out his notes - he's written some great stuff...

This is poetry.

line of dance
by Tony Rathburn

a very simple concept...
a most basic element...
it moves forward...

the pace varies...

in a crowded space...
it tends to slow...

in less of a crowd...
there may be more variation...
sometimes quicker...
sometimes...
still slow...
leisurely...

it is a part of your responsibility...
to conform to the group...
to maintain pace...
without overstepping it...

the lead who pushes to fast...
is disruptive...

the lead who fails to keep up...
is simply annoying...

it is not the responsibility of the milonga...
to conform to your desires...

if the style doesn't suit you...
you are simply at the wrong milonga...

try another...
it is your responsibility...
find one that suits you...
not the other way around...

sometimes...
we explore...
visiting many venues...
some will be more to our taste than others...

our preferences...
are very individual...
very personal...

we may both like the same milonga...
for very different reasons...

or...
our paths may never cross...

the milonga...
is reality...
today...
as you see it in front of you...

not as it was last night...
or some distant time in the past...

not as it will be an hour from now...
or at any time in the future...

line of dance...
a very simple concept...
a most basic element...
it moves forward...

we complete many turns...
seeing what is behind us...
what is going on around us...
and what lies ahead...

but...
we rarely take a step back...
and, when we do...
it is with great caution...

life...
has line of dance...


by Tony Rathburn