The Rise of the Tango DJ

by sebastien.barre I am thrilled to see the increased interest in djing and playing quality tango music for dancers the last few years. In trying to understand how it all came about, it is tempting to focus on the efforts of individuals to bring good dance music to their local community, but thereby we might miss the big picture. Technological and economic changes can be transformative. Some of the most famous examples from the world of tango are the invention of the electrical recorder/the microphone, the fierce competition between orchestras during the golden age of tango and the selective pressure following from men largely outnumbering women in the milongas as the dance developed. [Read More]

The Impossibility of Re-Creating the Tango of Times Gone By

by OldOnliner There is a paradox concerning my relationship with tango, and maybe with tango itself. On one hand, I want to learn from the sources, learn the ‘true’ tango. If that even exists. On the other hand, I want to see progress, to move on, and to find or invent ‘my own’ tango. Which may not exist, either. This tension between a certain nostalgia and the Sisyphean quest for the authentic, and the longing for progress, a rational approach, the tension between being controlled by the tango and taking control over the tango is at once frustrating and tantalizing. [Read More]

Tango (the Dance) Genealogy

The evolution of tango has not followed a single, easy to track, path. It is rather quite a mess, so in an attempt to figure out how it all goes together, I tried putting my current understaning together in a chart (pdf) showing the main developments of the tango dance in all its incarnations. Just to reiterate: in my opinion there are two distinctions that really matter in tango: Social vs. [Read More]

From 'Band Union' to bandoneón?

by Rüdis Fotos What is the origin of the word bandoneón? Two competing theories exist. They both agree that the instrument is somehow named after the assumed inventor, Heinrich Band. The name ‘Band Union’ was used by Heinrich Band and partners, and it got mispronounced and reinterpreted in Argentina as bandoneón. The name was invented by Band or others based on the naming of other instruments such as the accordion, Band + ion was transformed into bandonion, which in turn became bandoneón in Argentina. [Read More]