Tango Argentino > Live music - not tango

Discussion in 'Tango Argentino' started by oldtangoguy, May 17, 2017.

  1. oldtangoguy

    oldtangoguy Active Member

    Question for the open-minded.

    My wife and I love dancing to live music - golden age tango preferred, but those bands/orquestas are hard to come by, so we dance to blues, jazz, indie rock, reggie, grateful dead covers, you name it (NOT 2-steppin' country music however!). Our dance is totally improvised, in part because we may not know the music, and generally don't know the band. Everything we do is "tango", commonly seen in the world of "Alt-tango" and "Nuevo-tango".

    However, we have not even once seen others out dancing as we do, not even those who claim to prefer alt-tango. Is this true everywhere? Or is there some community in which the (alt) tango dancers hit the bars and dance halls?
  2. opendoor

    opendoor Well-Known Member

    In Hamburg/Germany it started around 2005 that people that used to dance the way you do were freezed out from the normal milongas. Since then the community is splitted, with the alternative dancers beeing the smaller crowd. Giving birth to a new profession: the traditional tango djay. The alternative dancers keep dancing tango also to non-tango music (ambient and jazzy tunes, balkan, neotango). In Berlin there is still a big alternative scene, also in many french, spanish and italian towns I´ve been to. I find the ideological schism to be deeper in Germany than in other european countries.
    Last edited: May 18, 2017
  3. newbie

    newbie Well-Known Member

    Makes sense. Golden Age ended before 1955, the bands and musicians of this time must not be playing live any more.

    As for places where alternative music is dominant, yes we have some in my neck of the woods. But not many. The music can be Murray Head's "say it ain't so joe", any of Virgin Suicides OST, Angie by the Stones, etc. And the DJ makes it very clear in his ads that he will play alternative music. And he plays alternative songs, not Electro ones. And, finally, it's not a full-alternative milonga. At best (or at worst, depending on your PoV) he will play 50% alternative, the rest is usual tangos.
  4. oldtangoguy

    oldtangoguy Active Member

    One clarification - although there is a bit of an alt scene where we live, we don't attend "Alternative milongas" with DJed music, much of which I don't like. I regularly DJ a traditional milonga, strongly prefer traditional music, and if I'm going to dance to recorded music, please let it be golden age.

    The question was less about alternative djed music and more about peoples willingness to go out and dance to live music. Also, I'm not necessarily advocating "nuevo tango moves". One can, and we often do, dance close embrace ("milonguero style", sort of) to the live music, depending on the feel of the music.
    opendoor likes this.
  5. TomTango

    TomTango Active Member

    There's a group from my community who goes out and "tango bombs" live music venues (blues, rock, swing, whatever) after our practicas. It's not really my thing, but they seem to have a blast doing it.
  6. opendoor

    opendoor Well-Known Member

    So why do you make a difference between djayed and live music? Music will go straight to the legs or it will not. When passing a street musician with his accordion I will grab my woman and do some sort of improvized dancing. But of course I would try to match the style as far as I can (folklore, or swing, or carribbean, or what else).
    By the way I like Dominic's "mil-ipso" improvisation in Time Square…​

  7. From my experience the distinction between live and recorded music lies in the fact that while recorded music has an even and predictable beat, live music depends and the musician and that moment and usually it's either too slow, too fast or it alternates in between the two.
    I find that in a Milonga it's easier to dance to a recorded music.
    jantango and opendoor like this.
  8. Oliver

    Oliver Member

    That's interesting. My experience is the opposite. The energy of live tango music, with good musicians connecting well and leading each other, creates a more palpable force than recordings for me. I tend to have much better dances to live music.
    oldtangoguy likes this.
  9. newbie

    newbie Well-Known Member

    And mine is the opposite of yours.
    Last Sunday we had an orchestra of two musicians. Band and unplugged guitar. So much for the energy. And even the sound volume. The worst I've been supposed to dance on in terms of live music was an outdoor milonga with an orchestra of one musician, playing the guitar (unplugged too) and singing. Well I suppose he was singing, the lips were moving. Difficult to say though in such a large place and full of passers-by
  10. Tango Distance

    Tango Distance Active Member

    Hmmm, what's an analogy that will work with this crowd? Ah, here it is: Live music is the close embrace version of music. Recorded music is the open embrace version.

    I'm firmly in the "Live music is better" camp:
    • It is often a more special event that has had more effort put into it.
    • It is fun to watch the musicians. It is fun to be surprised and say "Oh, that's how they do it," or "They are getting all that music out of only 2 instruments!"
    • When my DW and I dance to live music (and are often the first to start dancing), we often get thanked by the band in front of the whole crowd. BTW we always thank the band afterwards.
    • One night we had a speed contest with the band -- they kept playing fast and faster, and we kept dancing faster and faster. DW had to go to every other beat. I wasn't sure I would make it, but managed to keep the pace the whole song. It was great fun.
    • The band will speed up or slow down to suit the dancers. If a song is not as popular, they'll cut it short. If the floor is really going, they'll play the song longer.
    • I'm gong to get all touchy-feely on y'all here: There is a different feeling to live music. I'm amazed how I can walk into a club and always know instantly if the music is live or not. Recorded music is missing something.
    Onto the OP's original post: We have, but rarely, seen Tangueros dancing Tango to Rock or Blues. Something fun is having had any dancing lessons puts you at the 90th+ percentile.
  11. newbie

    newbie Well-Known Member

    Hmmm, you're biased here. But no problem, I am too. :)

    Let's say I do the cooking. Lots of time to buy everything, lots of care to check the book before and after doing anything. Eventually nobody can chew the cake, it goes to the garbage bin.

    A sampler and an electronic keyboard with lots of pre-recorded patterns? Yes the combo might generate a lot of volume. But you might not consider that as live music.

    My partner knows that when I don't like the music I will invite followers whom I don't like either, and she directly goes to other leaders until the live band makes a pause.

    Not everybody has been a hamster running its wheel in a previous life. Also, tango is not sirtaki.

    What to say, I have ears too, yes the spatial perception is different.
  12. jantango

    jantango Active Member

    Two musicians is a duo, not an orchestra. One musician is a soloist. Playing tango on the guitar and singing is equal to dancing to Carlos Gardel -- it's never done.

    It's nice to hear live music, but it's expensive. It's rare even in Buenos Aires milongas, except for a special occasion. Dancers who know the golden age recordings, know what's coming in the music and improvise. That's not the case with a tango orchestra performing live, even if they use transcribed arrangements directly from recordings of the great orchestra. The argument is why pay for a musical group to play the most popular tangos in the style of the golden orchestras when you can put on a CD of the original recordings from the 1940s and not have to charge the dancers for the additional expense?

    There were hundreds of tango orchestras during the Golden Age in Buenos Aires playing at clubs all over the city. The crowds went to hear the orchestras with their star singers. But the serious dancers went to the the city center confiterias where recordings in tandas were preferred. Orchestras didn't play for hours, only a half hour set, alternating with a jazz group. Milongueros went to dance to all the best orchestras for hours in the confiterias along Corrientes.

    We needn't long for the good old days of live orchestras for tango dancing. We have the recordings of Troilo, Di Sarli, D'Arienzo, Tanturi, Biaggi, etc. that will be played as long as milongas exist.
  13. opendoor

    opendoor Well-Known Member

    Still have Cacho Dante's words in my ears: only milongueros went to the confiterias, but us serious dancers danced to live orchestras (especially Pugliese was his favorite). And Osvaldo Cartery admitted that he preferred the jazz and latin sets over tango, especially bolero had been his favorite for dancing close together.
    I can understand that you try to stick to a dying tradition, jantango. But the traditions and customs you found in BsAs already were an artificial construction.
    Last edited: Jun 23, 2017 at 12:56 PM

Share This Page