Felix Picherna | Tengo una pregunta para vos

2014 September 2

Felix Picherna is a legend, and he was clearly the first tango dj to make a lasting impression in me. Sitting with his cassette deck, rewinding the prepared tandas, live commenting the upcoming music with the microphone. Unforgettable.

Enjoy this video from the excellent “Tengo una pregunta para vos” series by Pepa Palazón, that I just recently found time to start watching. There are several gems there, and the most recent ones are subtitled in English (that includes this one).

I also really enjoyed the ones with Vanina Bilous, Olga Besio and Guillermina Quiroga, and I still have quite a few to go.

Encyclopedia of Tango

2014 April 19


Gabriel Valiente has released a dictionary of Tango which contains discographies of most tango orchestras. It was meant to be released as an ebook, but is only available in paper edition at the moment. I think it looks interesting, but find that kind of information is generally vastly more useful when available electronically, in a format that is searchable and sortable etc. I hope Gabriel finds a way to release the full dataset as well as his book.

The book can be ordered at createspace or from amazon, and there is also a facebook page for the book.

EDIT: There is also a kindle edition available now.

Masochism Tango | Tom Lehrer

2014 April 11
by Simba

This is a long term favorite, no wonder people have the freakiest ideas about us tango dancers… It should clear up once and for all, that dancing tango is not any fun.

I never knew much about Tom Lehrer, though. I recommend this excellent BuzzFeed piece on Tom Lehrer, in addition to checking out his other oevre of course. It has generally aged pretty well.

Tango Negro, The African Roots of Tango

2014 April 2
by Simba

Now this looks interesting, a documentary about the African roots of tango. It’s featuring Juan Carlos Cáceres (of “Tango Negro” fame), of which I’m a great fan. One of the best concerts I ever attended was with Cáceres and band and Facundo & Kely Posadas performing.

You can read a bit more about the documentary at the ADIFF film festival pages.


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

2014 March 27
by Simba
First Impressionism by OldOnliner, on Flickr
Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 2.0 Generic License  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.

We are, inescapably, products of our time. The way we dress, the way we talk and the way we move has changed in numerous ways over the years, not to mention growing up on a different continent. How the times we live in manifest themselves in people was beautifully captured by this interesting reflection upon the remake of the classic movie ‘Psycho’  in an article in The NewYorker:

The way that people carry themselves—their posture, their gestures, and even the micro-gestures, the sense of sharpness or tremulousness, the brusqueness or smoothness of movements, the pointedness or curves of joints, the decisive rapidity or easy offhandedness with which they move, and the precision or meander of speech—conveys more about their personality and their times than the overt signifiers of fashion or vocabulary.

I mentioned once before how I was fascinated by the refined, elegant movements  of’El Flaco’ Dany when he lit a cigarette. This fascination is despite me generally finding the the habit of smoking despicable. Still there was something about about his way, the micro-gestures, the way he carried himself that stays with me. I would never be able to make his way of lighting a cigarette my own, even if I tried. Even if I worked hard, the best I could hope to achieve would be a superficial resemblance, a bleak copy. A fraud.

We may learn from the best, the ones that lived during the golden age of tango, or at least from those few who remain.  We may keep trying, but we will never dance their tango. We are left to find our own.

Glorias del Tango — New Tango Feature Film

2013 August 7
by Simba

This new project looks interesting, you can support it on kickstarter. Not sure I believe the story, but the flashbacks look promising. On the other hand, it sounds much more believeable than Assasination Tango.

“Glorias del Tango” is an ambitious and exciting feature film that will end the decade-long silence of tango on the silver screen.

I’m looking forward to it. Time to revive the tango film club?

Guide To Tango Music Stores

2013 May 23
by Simba
Last Memory of a Record Store by Telstar Logistics, on Flickr
Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 2.0 Generic License  by  Telstar Logistics 

Tangohub beat me to it. Head over there for a comprehensive guide to stores for buying tango music online. It’s written from a UK perspective, but most of the stores mentioned are international.

I would mention Tangostore also (aka Zival’s), but they have been offline for a while.

Tango Tunes Website Up

2013 May 7
by Simba


The long awaited TangoTunes project website is now online and accepting purchases. I’ll start by checking out the few Troilo recordings they have available at the moment. The purchase went through very smoothly.

This is how they present themselves:

TangoTunes is an Austrian-Argentine project with the aim to preserve the music of Tango Argentino. This way, we also preserve and support a piece of Argentine culture, which was declared World Heritage several years ago.

In cooperation with TangoVia Buenos Aires we promote the project “Tango Digital Archive” with the goal to archive the recordings and documents of Tango Argentino in their entirety.

TangoTunes purchases selected collections of vinyl and shellac records from collectors in Argentina and digitizes them in a highly difficult process. Since the beginning of 2013, approximately 1.000 vinyl records and 5.000 shellac records are successively being digitized with precision and care. We offer these Tango recordings – our „tunes“ – to Tango lovers in our online store. Our product catalog is constantly expanding – it pays off to have a look more frequently!

Founded in 2013, TangoTunes is a young company located in Vienna, Austria and a branch in Buenos Aires, Argentina. We spend much time and care to restore the music of Tango Argentino as close to the original as possible. This not only requires much know-how and experience, but also great appreciation for the original and tenacious work for an ideal final result.


More Fast Transfers

2013 May 7
by Simba
Unbelievable!!! by Aleera*, on Flickr
Creative Commons Attribution-No Derivative Works 2.0 Generic License  by  Aleera* 

I have previously discussed too fast transfers from 78s. Age Akkerman has a well researched take on Di Sarli’s El ciruja which he found to be about 5% too fast on the Euro Records transfer.

Rare Clips of Petróleo, Virulazo and others

2013 March 31

Amazing how these old clips slowly surface on youtube and facebook. Here are some clips that seem to be from an old documentary, posted by Victor Barrios and Cristina Benavidez:

HT: @FerGaleraTango