Julio Balmaceda and Corina de la Rosa
AS THE WORLD TURNS
in interview with Carlos Bevilacqua
They are a personal combination of tradition and modernity since 1996. With Forever Tango they gained stage experience to augment a style that is taken from the milonga. Young and acknowledged to be excellent dancers, Julio y Corina show in this chat they are also sharp watchers of reality.
We are in Boedo, an area of low buildings in Buenos Aires. After going through the long corridor of an old house, we reach a big kitchen and living room. The atmosphere breathes tango. It is easy to feel fine at Julio and Corina’s place. They are kind and vital, and after a while we feel at home.
What are the advantages and disadvantages of spending 7 months abroad?
CR: The good part is that it opens your mind in an amazing way. You adapt yourself to another climate, food, habits, minds... Even codes with students are different.
The bad thing is that strange routine of changing place every week. I sometimes don’t remember where I am when waking up.
JB: Though it may sound frivolous, I like shopping, taking advantage of bargains. The negative side is that I miss many things.
What is the DVD you have just launched about?
CR: It is a 70 minute digital video that demonstrates our technique, something much more subtle and meticulous than an ordinary instructional DVD. It’s planned mainly for our students and for people already dancing. We took on two specialists in cinema: Miguel Schverdfinger and Marcela Valero Narváez. We are really satisfied with the result because it has an unusual image and sound quality.
What did you mean with “a workshop like those given abroad”, as you promoted your last classes in Buenos Aires?
CR: In each city we visit abroad we are there for a short time, so we must condense the information in 3 or 4 days of hard work. That allows a very fast evolution of students. As we were going to be just for a month in Buenos Aires, we prepared a workshop like these, with a maximum of 20 couples.
JB: We gave priority to Argentine people, since foreigners get our lessons most part of the year. Even prices considered the lower average incomes of Argentines.
Where do you go when you are free?
CR: We used to go to the theatre. I try to see plays both here and abroad to see what’s going on.
JB: I now like theatre too, thanks to her. I also like to see football and box or just watch sports on TV.
CR: I can’t stand television. We have many differences. I guess we try to have our own activities because we are always together at work.
JB: When we arrived in Amsterdam, Corina thought of Van Gogh and I thought of Van Basten. But I must admit going to museums with her helped me to discover many interesting things.
What music do you listen to when you are not working?
CR: I like singers in Spanish: Joan Manuel Serrat, Ana Belén, Alejandro Sanz, Charly García, Juan Carlos Baglietto...
JB: I sometimes prefer music in English: Yes, Genesis, Deep Purple, Frank Sinatra. I also like blues, jazz and fusion of blues and hip-hop.
And do you like any of the new groups and solists of tango?
CR: Yes! I’ve fallen in love with “Chino” Laborde and I like Ariel Ardit too, but Julio is aware of that...
JB: I like Laborde and Ardit too, but also Lidia Borda and Roxana Fontán. We also like the orchestras Color Tango, El Arranque and Fernández Fierro. What we don’t like is electronic tango. We don’t find it really a novelty.
How did you end up specializing in waltz?
CR: It was not a decision, it just happened, because we feel it a lot. Waltz moves me. When I met Julio, he seemed to float when dancing it. Later, people started to praise our style.
What does waltz have that tango doesn’t?
CR: A like-flying dynamic. Tango, instead, is more linked to earth.
JB: I think waltz is the fluidity of movement, it transmits to me that freedom typical of Fred Astaire’s dance.
Who were your models when you started to dance?
JB: In my case, they were the “milongueros”, especially my father, Miguel Balmaceda. He transmitted to me the floor-tango. He worked in the harbour during the day and at night he went to milongas. He only made a living from his classes in his last 11 years of life. Later, Corina helped me to be conscious of body and movements.
CR: When I started my model was a friend called Camila Villamil, who danced great. Later, my teachers were Néstor Ray, El Tete, “Pupi“ Castello, Graciela González and Rodolfo and María Cieri.
What happened with classical dance, Corina?
CR: I studied classical since I was 6 years old until I was 19. When I left, I was 9 kilos thinner than today, but still too heavy for classical dance. I was not a virtuoso either, I knew I could never make my living from that, so I tried to channel my artistic vocation in some other way. I studied theatre and set design and even got jobs related to that. But those activities didn’t inspire any passion. When I found tango, I discovered I could be happy dancing something that was not classical.
Many tango dancers started with classical dance.
JB: It is the big step tango took in the last decade. They brought new techniques, a better consciousness of body and another work discipline.
What is elegance?
JB: Pupi, Tete and Rodolfo Cieri insisted so much on correct posture and correct stepping that I finally changed them.
CR: I think elegance is respect for others. In dancing, for example, it is to give your best for your partner. The same happens in the rest of your life.
Why is there almost nothing of dancing on television?
CR: I think it is not casual. Dance requires attention. And you don’t pay good attention to TV, it is used just as companionship. Dance needs your attention. It might not be profitable.
That’s the point, why is not profitable if it is something so attractive to see?
CR: Governments want us to stay at home watching TV in a passive way. If we watch a lot of dancing, we might want to dance, and I if we go dancing we do not watch TV any more and... there’s no business left!
JB: And people might be happy...
Can we conclude dancing is subversive?
CR: Yes, it is. And tango even more. What are you going to do this night, stay at home watching a movie or go to a dancing place to embrace a girl?
Which are the main problems of Argentina?
CR: Our leaders and we, who vote for them. The milonga is a summary of what we are: we sell everything to foreigners and then we argue. But in the moment of making decisions we just think about our own pockets.
JB: She might sound hard, but she is close to the truth.
How could this situation be changed?
JB: There should be more work for everybody and greed would diminished.
CR: You think everybody is good, Julio! If there were more work, we would be still be killing each other to get the better job. I think it is clear that, along with generous people, there are a lot of selfish ones. I think we should be more committed to country and I am including myself in that criticism.
Is the Balmaceda family like a tango dynasty?
JB: My father left me this and Ernesto learnt with me, though he is older, so it’s a strange dynasty. Now, each one has his own students and shows.
Will this tango dynasty have descendants?
CR: We would like to.
JB: Ernesto already has a daughter 15 years old, but she does not dance.
What do you want from children?
CR: We hope they could be happy.
Even if they don’t dance?
CR: Yes, but they will...
When is it that you can never agree?
CR: In reactions to people. I’m very impulsive and he is more tolerant.
How do you share the home chores?
CR: I am the executive one, I organise the work with my PC and I am in charge of toilets and rooms; he is responsible for clothes.
What do you fear?
CR: Loneliness and darkness.
When was the last time you did something pleasant?
CR: Some minutes ago, eating.
JB: Yesterday, when we made love.
CR: Yesterday? Do not lie.
JB: Well, the day before yesterday...
What would you like to do that you didn’t yet?
CR: Being a mother.
JB: I agree, and I would also like to dance at the Colón Theatre.
Tradition: my father.
New: what I didn’t do yet.
Ernesto: Someone I love.
Barrio: The billiards of Boedo and Rondeau.
Dancing: the only moment when I do not think.
Julio: the love of my life.
Tango: my country’s music.
Interviews by Carlos Bevilacqua
Two talented pianists devoted to tango reveal themselves answering the same questions about their job, the dance, our city, teaching and Osvaldo Pugliese. Sonia Possetti (32) is a tango and milonga composer now heading her own quintet. She had first taken part in group Tangata Rea and in the duo Possetti-Bolotín. Nicolás Ledesma (39) is also author of many recorded melodies, directs his own quartet and takes part in orchestras of Leopoldo Federico, Fernando Suárez Paz and Julio Pane. Both are from the interior, began by playing Argentine folk music and are now giving classes in prestigious institutions.
Why do you play tango?
Sonia Possetti: Why not? It is the most natural music in Buenos Aires.
Nicolás Ledesma: Basically, because of family influence. My father used to play bandoneon as an amateur and my brother played piano as a professional.
Can inspiration be looked for or can you only wait for it?
SP: I was surprised by inspiration many times. It arrives in conditions of maximum freedom. When it does not arrive you can look for it with some tools, such as composition notions. I think we need to spend more time at work than in looking for inspiration, but to begin, an inspiration is necessary.
NL: Neither one or the other. Inspiration is a deep longing. Once you have found that desire, your luck will depend on how you work. As Beethoven said, what is necessary is 20% of talent and 80% of sacrifice.
Who were the teachers that most influenced you?
SP: All the ones I had at Provincial Conservatory of Chascomús were part of a key period for me, the same for Orlando Trípodi and Daniel Montes.
NL: Erberto Benuzzi, Horacio Salgán, Guillermo Iscla, Manolo Juárez and Juan Carlos Cirigliano.
What kind of teacher do you try to be?
SP: A disturbing one, someone that mobilizes. I like to wake up the search spirit in my students. That is not always easy because sometimes you find quite different energies.
NL: My goal is pianists who can play the tango well. This might sound very subjective, but there are some parameters: a good instrument technique, an earthy sound, and an expression sometimes gloomy and sometimes anxious.
Do you listen to radio?
SP: I listen a bit to La 2x4 FM station and when I go to the gym I listen to some of those commercial music stations.
NL: Yes, but not a lot. I listen to FM Amadeus, La 2x4, AM 840 and every tango program I catch.
Is it true that the one who plays does not dance?
SP: No! I have worn out my shoes on dance floors of various forms. I danced Argentine folk music for 9 years, then I started with salsa and when I arrived in Buenos Aires, I started with tango. Today I almost do not dance at all because I married one of those who plays and does not dance... (journalist note: violin player Damián Bolotín) but I really like dancing a lot.
NL: I do not dance. But I do not know if I play well either. When I got married I learnt some steps and showed myself that I could but then I gave up.
What do you think about this massive interest in dancing?
SP: It’s great. I think it is very important for the music to go through bodies.
NL: Dancing is the origin of the form. Besides, tango is one of the few dances that is practised embraced in times of individualism.
Is there a rivalry between musicians and dancers?
SP: Yes. I think sometimes both dancers and musicians forget that the most important is music. That’s the moment when human miseries turn up in the shape of dancers and musicians.
NL: Yes, they are like divided sectors. It sometimes seems as if there was a fight for who could stand out, but both groups always find their places. We are not equal, but we are all necessary.
In few words, who was Pugliese?
SP: Someone who knew very well what he wanted and what he was doing. He was not a commercial invention, nor a fashion.
NL: A man devoted to tango with unalterable principles. He was not a snob but didn’t just follow the popular trends either.
What is the best tribute we can give him?
SP: To spread his music as much as possible would be better than putting his name on an underground train station. The most important legacy of a person is his work.
NL: To play his works and keep on working to improve tango, that is the important thing, not the musicians.
Why is it so difficult to get a good piano for the shows?
SP: Because we live in a country that does not support culture. A piano requires tuning every 3 months and periodical changes of chords. The money is not so much, but there is very little investment in this.
NL: Most of them are deteriorated and when you find a good one, they tell you: “Oh, no, that’s kept for classical music”. We “tangueros” are supposed to damage the keyboards by our performing style. The truth is pianos are usually bad because there is no budget for them.
What’s the best and the worst of Buenos Aires?
SP: What I like the most is the rainbow of knowledge available. But here we lack air. It is a violent city in many senses. We have a low standard of life. Here we cannot smell the wet earth, for instance, nor see the whole sky, the moon or the sunset.
NL: The best is the people. They have always treated me very well. In general terms, the “porteño” is a committed, educated and defined-preferences person. What I don’t like is that acceleration without sense I usually see in people.
If you went on a space voyage for a month and you were allowed to take only 3 discs, which would you choose?
SP: Uuuuh! That’s really hard!... Media noite, by Edu Lobo; Utopía, by Joan Manuel Serrat, The spring consecration, by the Symphonic London Orchestra, Roberto Goyeneche de FM tango para usted and Hecho a mano, by Chano Domínguez. I would take 5 because one of them would be an MP3, but please do not tell the NASA people...
NL: I would take one with Beethoven’s piano sonatas, some of Horacio Salgán with the first Quinteto Real and another one of Aníbal Troilo’s orchestra with some singer.
SP: Now I am in love with El Milagro. But I also like a lot Fruta amarga and Divina.
What does today tango lack?
SP: Quality ambition.
NL: Bohemia, less concern, so creation and performance could flow better.
What is there too much of?
SP: Commercial interests.
NL: Information about past artists. It is difficult to escape from Piazzolla’s influence, for example.
What projects are you managing?
SP: I am in compositive rather than performing period. I’ve just had a baby and I want to be with her. Nevertheless, in September I’ll return to the stage with my quintet and some new stuff. Next year I’ll probably take part in Buenos Aires Tango Festival and later I might record a second CD.
NL: Perform with the quartet, with the “Selección Nacional” orchestra and with Filiberto Orchestra as an invited artist. In 2006 I will record a new disc with my musicians.
Note: The questions were asked separately, so answers were not influenced.
A DANCING DJ
In 1993, Oscar Moyano was going through a personal crisis. He then decided to travel from Argentina to Switzerland to meet his wife and son. But life often surprise us. Once in Zürich, he started to work in a company that went bust. In a meditation course he took to overcome difficulties, he met María Mathys and, with her, he also met tango. “I felt it coming from my inside, it was something that drove me crazy –says Oscar–. But I could never imagine I would end teaching and broadcasting music in milongas”.
Oscar has walked a long way since then, if we consider his current tango activities with María. On Mondays they give classes of milonguero style for beginners and advanced students at a club. On Tuesdays they teach the mobile embrace to employees of a company. On Wednesdays they travel to Baden (next to the German border) to give private lessons. Thursday is a “great day” for tango lovers in Zürich: both Oscar and María give a dance workshop, first; a “práctica”, later; and a milonga from 9 PM on. It is called “Don milonga” and Oscar is the DJ, a role where he shines. In fact, he is frequently taken on to manage the soundtrack of many milongas of the region and was invited to put music to 3 of the 10 nights of the recent 10th Zürich Tango Festival.
For Oscar and María, tango is a vehicle for self-consciousness. “Our courses try to help people to find themselves and to feel better with the other”, they say. Both say they keep in mind the notions received from Susana Miller, Cacho Dante, Carlos Gavito and Osvaldo Roldán, among others. However, they also declare themselves in a permanent learning state. That’s why Oscar says many of the ideas used in their classes were given by the students in these years of work.
The relation between tango and Swiss people is growing stronger, according to Moyano’s words. “We have milongas everyday, and some days we have even 2 or 3. This was unimaginable 7 years ago, when I started”.
More data about Oscar and María’s tango activities at www.tangoharmonia.ch.
Sans Souci Orchestra was the star of the last Lisbon Festival. Performing Miguel Caló’s style and with the voice of Wálter “Chino” Laborde, this group played on 4 unforgettable nights. In one of those performances, 1,000 people enjoyed them at Teatro de los Dos Recreios, along with the amazing dance of Roberto Herrera and Jorgelina Guzzi. Every night, the selected recordings were chosen by Félix Picherna.
This international meeting was also attended by Argentine teachers Pablo Villarraza and Dana Frígoli, Sebastián Arce and Mariana Montes, Los Hermanos Macana and Juan Capriotti with Graciela Romeo. It was organised by Lusitango Association with excellent results.
FAMOUS STRANGERS (III)
by Héctor Benedetti
After listening to some tangos we can conclude that the so called “non-traditional advertising” started a long time before television’s arrival. Recordings by diverse singers mention products and brands unknown today. Let’s see what they were talking about.
Some articles mentioned in historical tangos demand an explanation. We can guess even some of the singers that pronounce them hadn’t seen the products in their whole lives. Instead, the commercial importance of those names were clearly known by the poets of the first half of the 20th century.
El bacalao de la Emulsión de Scott
Few people know that the little doll done with Michelín tyres has a name: since the 1920s it is called Bibendum (for the Latin expression Nunc est bibendum, by poet Horacio). The Spanish Anís del Mono and the disturbing head of Geniol were also part of that bygone advertising world.
In 1929 in his tango Victoria, Enrique Santos Discépolo mentioned “el bacalao de la Emulsión de Scott”, (the cod of Scott’s propaganda). He was talking about the comic strip called “El Hombre del Abadejo”, who was taken as a model for the advertisement of the medicine. That man carrying a big fish on his back was for Discépolo a metaphor of an extremely heavy load. He was some kind of modern Atlante.
The Lettuce cream
“¿No te acordás que traía / aquella Crema Lechuga / que hasta la última verruga / de la cara te piantó…?” (Don’t you remember / that Lettuce cream / that even the last wart / from the face it took?) These verses, that might sound quite vulgar, are from the tango Ivette, recorded by Carlos Gardel in 1920.
“Lechuga” (Lettuce) was the name of a beauty cream distributed by the company Beauchamps, from Paris. It was a popular cosmetic product to soften the facial skin. Some imitations have been sold until quite recently. The truth is that to take off warts it is always better to go to alternative practicioners.
Two in one
Many tangos hid commercial names. One of them was Dos en uno (Two in one), written by Rodolfo Sciammarella and Enrique Cadícamo. It seems to speak about a man who is a womaniser but it also has some strange phrases: “con todo ese brillo, quién no se va a encandilar” (Who would not feel dazzled with so much brightness?; “al fajar una lustrada, cómo cambian su pobreza y se ponen a brillar…” (After a polishing, how much better they look and how they shine! The truth was that “2 en 1” (2 in 1) was indeed the name of a product Cadícamo used to describe the main character of the tango. The score’s dedication eliminated all doubts: “For the audience of Radio Buenos Aires, in the show of Pomada del Hogar 2 en 1 (Home ointment 2 in 1)”. This tango was recorded by Gardel on August 12th, 1929.
In a field close to legendary is Che Bartolo, another tango sung by Gardel and written by the same authors. The singer was forced to mention the Boccanegra Marquis three times, though this nobleman had no relation at all to the tango’s story. But considering Boccanegra was also the name of a famous edible oil, the addition is understood.
Cunning use of language was frequent in tangos and required the cool complicity of the singer, as if to say: “Come on! What’s wrong about it?”
by Dr. Eugenio Rataplán
Determined to do a new reading of tango lyrics, Dr. Rataplán shine his light here on one of the most performed tangos throughout history: Tinta Roja.
In this tango written by Sebastián Piana and Cátulo Castillo, the lyrics starts with a warning typical of a laundry owner: “Pare, don, tinta roja” (Hold on, sir, red ink!), something like “Be careful, it gets dirty”. A chain of contradictions starts here because the treatment is first formal (“Don”) and then informal (“Tu emoción de ladrillo feliz”). And key part of the contradiction is that he seems to be a friend but speaks about a hard heart. That phrase “Tu emoción de ladrillo feliz” (your emotion of happy brick) is in many ways unhappy. Can a brick be happy with its static and piled up destiny? Let’s imagine a mother telling her son: “Oh, darling, I hope you can be as happy as a brick” or “I was so happy piling up your father!”.
But let’s continue with the clearing up of this tango. The lyrics says: “Y al botón / que en lo ancho de la noche / puso al filo de la ronda / como un broche” (and to the button / that in the width of night / put the cutting edge to the round / as a brooch). Who can explain the meaning of this, please?! The button penetrates; the brooch, sticks; so, are their destinies compatible? If they were, it would mean that penetrating the width, the cutting edge of the round is stuck as a brooch, but if a round is round, what kind of cutting edge are we talking about?
Let’s continue: who is stuck as a brooch? The gloomy Italian man. What does he stick to? To that mailbox that makes him cry. OK, I won’t go further on this point to avoid offences, but I will give you the main message of this tango. Added to the incoherent treatment, the “happiness of piling up like a brick” and the stigma “button-brooch”, we have now the phallic image of the mailbox that causes him nostalgia. We can finally understand the first verse of this tango: “y aquel buzón carmín / y aquel fondín donde lloraba el Tano / su rubio amor lejano que mojaba...” (and that red mailbox / and that canteen where the Italian man cried / for his blonde far away love that wet him.” The lyrics do not speak of a blonde feminine person, it speaks about a masculine one. And he even feels wet just by remembering him. We can conclude, thus, that Tinta Roja is a tango of the ambiguous line, in an unequal fight against the chauvinist line that is just an attempt to hide the truth.
Tinta Roja (1941)
Letra: Cátulo Castillo
Música: Sebastián Piana
tinta roja en el gris del ayer...
Tu emoción de ladrillo feliz
sobre mi callejón
como un borrón pintó la esquina.
Y al botón,
que en lo ancho de la noche,
puso el filo de la ronda como un broche.
Y aquel buzón carmín
y aquel fondín donde lloraba el tano
su rubio amor lejano
que mojaba con bon vin.
¿Dónde estará mi arrabal?...
¿Quién se robó mi niñez?...
¿En qué rincón, luna mía,
volcás como entonces tu clara alegría?
Veredas que yo pisé,
malevos que ya no son.
Bajo tu cielo de raso
trasnocha un pedazo
de mi corazón...
tinta roja en el gris del ayer.
de mi sangre infeliz
que vertí en el malvón
de aquel balcón
que la escondía...
Yo no sé
si fue el negro de mis penas
o fue el rojo de tus venas
22nd La Falda Festival
By Carlos Bevilacqua (special correspondent)
Streets go up and down everywhere in La Falda, a beautiful town in Córdoba province. Sometimes, it is difficult to imagine what will come after the hill, but from some points the view is a panoramic pleasure. Almost a metaphor of what the XXII La Falda National Tango Festival was from July 21st to 24th. Four nights full of live music, dance exhibitions, a deluxe milonga and varied surprises.
The colourful aerial tango of group Kasalamanka opened the first night, facing the 2,000 people that filled the city’s huge theatre. The musical game was opened by Córdoba’s Orquesta Provincial de Música Ciudadana, directed by Osvaldo Piro. Next came the sextet Vale Tango, Natalia Villanueva and her dolls (comic and dance act), Ventarrón Quintet (guitars) and singer Amelita Baltar. The Ballet de Cámara Popular de Córdoba added dancing in one of the intermissions. The end of this marathon day was a main course: Rodolfo Mederos’ Orchestra.
The second was a milonga night. A square was cleared in the middle of the auditorium to allow the people dance. The starter that night was the local quartet Malajunta, followed by Las del Abasto (100% women orchestra that was the only group that performed on two nights). Hugo Marcel later renewed his romance with the audience. Next, singer Alejandra Segura surprised with good technique and a daring repertoire. However, the greatest star of the night was Jorge Arduh, veteran pianist from Córdoba who has been playing tango for 55 years. His large orchestra, of classical style, seemed to travel through time as singers of different times stepped on stage to accompany him.
Less acts, but not less quality was the characteristic of the third night. As an appetizer, we could listen to talented pianist Nicolás Ledesma and to El Cruce, interesting experimental trio. Next, virtuouso musicians of Fernando Suárez Paz quintet announced this presence. As usual, Adriana Varela seduced later with her personal style. The most moving moments came with the show of Rubén Juárez, who got everybody’s attention with experience rather than voice. Late night, the final arrived with Orquesta del Tango de Buenos Aires with its 23 members, under Raúl Garello’s baton. The voices of Jorge Guillermo and Noelia Moncada blended with superb symphonic versions. La Falda dancers were represented that night with Ballet José Hernández.
The last night started with local artists: El Desbande quartet, first and singer Rodolfo Tulián, later. A riskier bet was that of Tangroove, electronic tango group that played along with the visual display of a dance couple. Dancing later had an exclusive role with the Ballet Esencia de mi pueblo, of the city of Córdoba. Later, Uruguayan singer Malena Muyala showed her soft style with little instrumental accompaniment. The tandem Ildo Patriarca-Juanjo Domínguez (great players of accordion and guitar, respectively) shone later in their first experience together. The closing act was the spectacular show of veteran pianist Mariano Mores, heading a reduced version of his orchestra, but with recordings, video projections, singers and dancers that compensated for the absence of the musicians.
These shows were accompanied by Expotango, art exhibition held by Fundación Che Bandoneón at Confitería La Scala, where there was also live music for 8 days. The same place hosted dance classes with prestigious teachers of the region.
As the result of great effort, La Falda community achieved an event that was as good as one could expect from the oldest of national tango festivals. Though in the first night there were some deficiencies (such as the sound volume), most of them were solved during the following days. In the debit side we can also write down the low presence of dance. The interest and enthusiasm of the audience were outstanding. In the next edition, organisers will try to give La Falda an international projection. The charming natural landscape, the warmth of local people and the tourist infrastructure are advantages. Hard work might achieve the rest.
Discs: A GLASS OF GOOD TANGO
The expression “bien frappé” describes the ideal temperature to enjoy a good white wine. Tango also has its conditions to be enjoyed better. In fact, the name “Bien Frappé” gives an exact image of the quartet made up by Laura Palladino (guitar), Flavia Rubín Saglia (flute), Ana Pérez (piano) and Belén Romano (bandoneon).
These young players visit a well-known repertoire that is renewed by the tidiness of performance and with arrangements written by themselves. The disc is clearly for dancing. That’s why they are usually invited to perform at Argentine and foreign milongas. The 11 tracks have diverse moods: romanticism in two classical waltzes (Pedacito de cielo and Romance de barrio) an introspective character in El Andariego and the orthodox dance rhythm of Derecho Viejo. The musical young women seem to take off with Libertango, Pavadita and two pieces written by Julián Plaza: Melancólico and Danzarín (which lends its name to the album). Milongas? You also have some of them, in spicy versions and a melodic leadership that changes from one instrument to another in a diverting game. The only sung theme is Después, by Esteban Riera.
A disc that flows nicely, like good drinks. –C.B.
“Danzarín”. Bien Frappé (Unión de Músicos Independientes, Buenos Aires, 2005)
It is Saturday afternoon and the tables of Salón Plaza Bohemia are slowly occupied by “milongueros”. The dance lesson by Guillermo Quirós and María Eugenia Cuyás has just finished. The black, white and red table-cloths start to play with the lights and the music delivered by DJ Daniel Borelli. After a while many couples are nicely sliding on the wooden floor. That’s how a new version of Cachirulo was born, the milonga organised by Héctor Pellozo and Norma Zugasti.
“Though we had to move three times since December 2004, many Saturdays we fill the capacity of the place”, tells Pellozo proudly. Asked to define the encounter, he declares: “It is a very dynamic milonga”. Almost all the music heard there is tango and there are no artistic acts at all. “The dancer does not like that”, opines Héctor, who considers not interrupting the recordings as a way of respecting the audience. That audience is made up of experienced dancers, according to Norma: “There are very few crashes on the dance-floor, though the floor is crowded”. Each Saturday, Héctor and Norma raffle 3 bottles of champagne and a “picada”. There is also a gift cake to habitués on their birthdays. The temperature is regulated by an air conditioner and there are plenty of drinks to recover energies after dancing.
Every Saturday from 4:30 PM till midnight at 444 Maipú St. More data, calling 4932-8594.–C.B.
“Tito” Samelnik has 35 years of experience as a tailor. Since 1991 he heads Matices, a well-known store specializing in ceremonial clothes. In order to satisfy the growing demand of tango dancers, Matices launched a special line for them 3 years ago. The stock is made up by a wide variety of suits and dresses for men and women, as well as different kind of shirts and accessories. “Garments should be made-to-measure, so they follow your body when dancing and do not leave you because of inertia" –explains Samelnik– . He designs the clothes with his wife “Cloti”, taking tango paradigmatic aesthetics as a source of inspiration.
According to Samelnik, Matices garments are impeccable, both for the quality of the cloths used as raw material and for the care in sewing details. Simultaneously, they do personalized work, looking for the cloth, colour and accessories that best match the client and his circumstance. Most of his clients are professional dancers and foreign “milongueros”.
Matices has dressed Enrique Dumas, José Ángel Trelles, Raúl Lavié and Juan Carlos Copes, among many other artists. For more information you can pop by 2151 Corrientes Ave. or just call 4953-0545. –C.B.
Fabrizio Forti y Mariana Dragone
Australia and New Zealand are not typical destinations for tango dancers. Fabrizio Forti and Mariana Dragone danced during July in those archipielagoes, invited by the New Zealand Tango Festival and the Byron Bay Tango Festival. During 2005, Fabrizio and Mariana had taken part in the re-inauguration of Milonga Real in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. On the local scene they had surprised the audience with a tango choreography of Matador (candombe-ska by Los Fabulosos Cadillac). Will they repeat the prank? What’s sure is that in September they’ll start a new tour through United States and Germany. Swallows don’t fear jet lag.
Classes: De Tango Somos
The group “De tango somos” tries to emphasize the feeling that beats behind each movement while dancing tango. With that aim, Guillermo Scrinzi, Karina Brovelli, Germán De Fina, Daniela Testa and Alejandra Nalda give group and private classes in different parts of the city.
Group lessons start with 10 minutes of free dance, used for students to warm-up and for teachers to detect virtues and defects. Then notions of technique are given for half an hour. That technique is later applied in a certain step and, next, the students try it on. They are also invited to add changes to it. Lastly, all dance free again. “We teach salón tango, something quite more intimate and less acrobatic than what is taught in some other places”, maintains Scrinzi. The teachers introduce remarks about lyrics and orchestras as part of the instruction. Milonga and waltz are also among the studied rhythms. With humour, Guillermo relaxes the learning atmosphere. The task of getting student’s attention is done mainly by Daniela (job therapist) and Alejandra (music teacher). Though they rotate in the leadership of the lessons, they assure always an accurate perception of each person’s needs.
De tango somos makes us think and practice our identity every Wednesday at 8 PM at 460 Acevedo St. and every Friday at 8:30 PM at 2616 Tamborini St. More data, call 4551-4522. –C.B.
Federico y Ariadna Naveira
Federico and Ariadna Naveira gave 7 shows in July. As leaders of the ballet “Tango con Niños” (Tango with children) they animated the finals of regional dance championships of the south and west of Great Buenos Aires. They were even shot for the TV show Show Match. With the same ballet, they took part in the dance marathon organised by the Association of Dancers at La Nacional. As a soloist couple, they performed in milongas El Cachafaz, Porteño y Bailarín, Rouge and Italia Unita, where they took part in the “Noche de los Jóvenes” (Youngsters’ Night) . Federico and Ariadna are the children of Gustavo Naveira and Olga Besio, teacher of the formentioned ballet.
Tango Escuela Carlos Copello
Tango Escuela Carlos Copello celebrated in August its first year with a huge party. We could appreciate there the achievements of the school in hip-hop, Arab dance, Argentine folk, swing, rock and roll and tango on many different levels. Among the tango attractions was Carlos Copello with his new partner, Angie González. The crowd met at 575 Anchorena St. shared an excellent atmosphere and 4 huge cakes. Copello evaluated: “The balance is very positive. The school surprises me day after day for the amount and variety of students gathered”. By the way, he wanted to underline the work done by Maximiliano and Miriam (his children), as well as that of the rest of the staff.
Mónica Parra is one of the three women that danced with Carlos Gavito in the film Exiliado en el cielo, shown recently in many Buenos Aires milongas. “It was one of the most important roles of my life, I learnt a lot with him and it was a very moving experience”, said Mónica. The story is about a man that has only one week of life left. He receives advice from a grandfather (performed by Gavito), who suggests he enjoy as much as possible up to the last moment. Apart from dancing as a professional, Parra gives classes with Hernán Álvarez every Tuesday at Italia Unita and every Saturday at Salón Canning. She also gave a special workshop at Pigmalión in August. Hours and prices of her lessons are available by calling 4831-0932.
Mora Godoy Studio
The Estudio Mora Godoy started in July a “U-certificate” period, adding more classes for beginners in the comfortable room at 1090 Pueyrredón Ave., 2nd floor. This academy is well known for its work with intermediate, advanced and professional dancers. The circle is now completed with a stronger emphasis on newcomers. Teachers Héctor Falcón, Horacio “El Pebete” Godoy and Geraldine Rojas are added to the staff. During August a workshop by Sabrina and Rubén Véliz was announced and more novelties may appear soon. You can ask about promotional prices by calling 4964-1225.
In Celia Saia’s voice we can sense thorough training. Searching her history we can explain it: she sang opera for many years in demanding places and is still the singer of Medalla Milagrosa Church during the religious ceremonies. Adding tango specific requirements to that technique resulted in her first CD, Caricias. She does great work in it, singing both classical themes and not so classical, with only the accompaniment of guitars. This praiseworthy CD was already presented at Foro Gandhi and at Casa de la Cultura. For September, Celia has an appointment with the audience on 16th at Confitería Ideal, 384 Suipacha St., along with Contratiempo orchestra.
Singer Claudia Pannone presented her first CD at bookstore-concert Clásica y Moderna. We are speaking of Renaciendo, where Pannone is accompanied by a quartet directed by pianist José Ojivieki. The repertoire includes some classical tangos; some written by Ástor Piazzolla and Horacio Ferrer; a new poet’s lyric and two written by herself. The bonus track is Resistiré in tango mood. After a tour through Europe and America, Pannone will perform this new material on October 14th at Sociedad de Distribuidores de Diarios, 1732 Belgrano Ave. Entrance is free.
La Puerta de Teodoro
Considering there are not many tango “peñas” (places where people can meet to drink and sing tango), the opening of “La Puerta de Teodoro” means good news. The place is self-defined as “a room for tango, chats, wine and ‘picadas’”. Who better than a singer such as Stella Díaz (Las del Abasto) to manage it? In 112 Sánchez de Bustamante St., La Puerta de Teodoro is a warm place where people can take the starring role in company of guitars. On Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays there is also live music by professionals. Since August, Paola Bordón and Cristian Correa give dance classes with thematical days. Open from Tuesday to Saturdays, from 7 PM, with low prices. More data, call 4613-4706.
1st Bialemos Tango Festival
The 1st Bailemos Tango Festival, that will be held from September 4th to 11th, offers an intensive week of activities for foreign visitors. With a maximum quota of 20 people, the organisers promise a more fluent contact with each attendee. Johanna Copes (artistic coordinator of the Festival) explained that it is possible to take on just the dance activities or the full pack, with 7 nights at thematic hotel Dandi. The menu includes 17 classes with professional dancers and “milongueros”, a chat with Juan Carlos Copes, attendance at milongas and shows, city tours and interesting surprises. The second edition of Bailemos Tango is planned for the end of November. More info, at www.bailemostango.com .
Tango dancers cultural meeting
The Association of Teachers, Dancers and Choreographers of Argentine Tango (AMBCTA) organised in July the 1st “Tango Dancers Cultural Meeting”, a whole day of open activities that gathered 300 people at La Nacional. Apart from dancing and diverse classes, there were chats, dance exhibitions, photo shows and body painting sessions by Jorge Muscia (specialist in “filete”, Buenos Aires painting technique). The classes included a wide variety of styles: from the canyengue of MOCCA group to the milonguero of Ana María Schapira, up to and including the ballroom style of Ernesto Balmaceda and Stella Báez. Tango clothes by Aurora Lúbiz and shoes of Neo Tango were also present. Next meeting will be on September 17th. More info, call 4371-0956.
Is there life after tango? That was the title of the debate held in Paris. One of the lecturers was Sonia Abadi, psicoanalist and author of the book El bazar de los abrazos, that gathers articles specially written for el tangauta magazine about milonga’s codes and its reasons. Sonia shared the table with Nardo Zalko (journalist of France Press agency) and with Juan Carlos Cáceres (musician, author of Tango negro). This meeting was organised by the Contemporary Argentina Observatory of La Maison de L’Amérique Latine (The House of Latin America), trying to analyse the experience of tango. The main question remained without any answer since nobody wanted to leave tango or life.
Stories with history
A peculiar musical season started in August. It is called “Voces del tango” (Tango voices) and links the singing, the poetry and the history of Buenos Aires’ musical form. In the first date, held on 5th at a Monserrat café, Lucrecia Merico and Ernesto Ariel sang tangos and Héctor Benedetti (writer of el tangauta) gave a short lecture about tango history. Next editions will be held at other places and will have new subjects.
Sandra Luna felt forced to sing two additional tangos in the show given in August at Centro Cultural San Martín. The fans asked her to do it after enjoying her fine performance. Those virtues took her an honorable mention for a Grammy in 2004, among other awards. With a nice character, Sandra moved particularly with Carritos cartoneros (Buono-Ceretti), Sin tu mitad (Blázquez-Cosentino) and Milonga de Mataderos (Acuña). Each of the four musicians that accompanied her had its shining moments sharing a theme with Sandra as soloist. She also sang a piece of Ciudad de nadie in honour of Alejandro Szwarcman, who was in the audience.