Archive for the ‘Alfredo de Angelis’ Tag

Tango Browsing and Dancing Modems   Leave a comment

Tango Browsing and Dancing Modems

By Alberto Paz
May 1998

I always find it rewarding when friends show a genuine interest in what is underneath the unexplainable attraction we feel towards the Argentine tango. And I mean not just the dance but the music, the poetry and all the accumulated life experiences of men and women who never imagined that their popular cultural expressions would prove Borges wrong, and instead of being relegated to being museum pieces, they would occupy a very important aspect in the lives of thousands of people around the world.

It happened on one of those overcast mornings when class was ending. Curiosity may have caused somebody to poke around the CD pile and fate did the rest. Suddenly it was the voice of Carlos Dante asking where was she going wearing a shawl from Manila, where was she going wearing such a pretty costume…? and the unmistakable sound of the Alfredo De Angelis orchestra. The tango is called Carnaval and deals with the ingratitude of someone who quickly forgot friends and loved ones after finding a wealthier companion. My late father used to sing it all the time. I guess it was very popular at the time. As a matter of fact De Angelis is credited by many as being indirectly responsible for their conception.

Yes, in the late forties and early fifties, the neighborhood clubs, especially at carnaval time, were the place for boys and girls to meet and flirt. The setting was a huge gymnasium dressed for the occasion with festive decorations. The music was equal shares of tango and jazz. The orchestra of Alfredo De Angelis with the voices of Julio Martel and Carlos Dante was hot, and people traveled just to dance to their music. Much later when the budding carnaval romances ended up in marriage, countless love makings and conceptions took place while De Angelis was playing on the radio. Now the imagery pops in living color and full of emotion..

A gray winter afternoon in Buenos Aires, the long bus ride sitting next to dad. Dusk is settling in. Calle Corrientes wakes up with a big yawn of noises and neon. Calle Florida is busy carrying serious men and women back and forth. Calle Maipu 555, Radio El Mundo, El Glostora Tango Club, Alfredo De Angelis, La pastora and her tra-la-ra-la-ra!

If it is true that in our mind we keep a record of every feeling and emotion we have experienced from the day that we were born, I must have run into some very old recordings which I did not even know I had. What is so great about these recordings is that they are stored with sound, images, feelings and emotions. Yes, a mind boggling piece of biological engineering, the kind of browser not even Bill Gates can figure out. Not that engineers and scientists have not attempted to rationalize feelings and emotions. Just listen in on any tango chats on the Internet. Well, maybe don’t, because you too may be tempted to become a tango browser and start dancing by modem.

A MUSIC PRIMER   Leave a comment

When it comes to planning the music for a tango party, the ideal situation is to go with the “Big Bands” and the “Hit Parade.” A typical CD will run on the average for about an hour. On the average there are 20 selections on a CD. The use of computers makes it even easier to stock up on choice tango music.

Take Carlos Di Sarli, Osvaldo Pugliese, Anibal Troilo, Juan D’Arienzo, Francisco Canaro, Ricardo Tanturi, Miguel Calo, Alfredo de Angelis, Rodolfo Biagi, Osvaldo Fresedo.

Next, consider that Di Sarli, Pugliese and D’Arienzo have two and even three distinctive periods, then you have about fifteen orchestras to chose from. If you were to just take four of their hits, you come out with sixty themes enough for three hours of the greatest tango music from the Golden Era. This should be enough music to cover 95% of the USA milongas. There are only a handful of milongas that last longer than three hours.

Each one of the fifteen orchestras have more than four hits to pick from, at least a dozen are classics, so that gives you about nine hours of uninterrupted dancing to the classics. You can go through three milongas without ever repeating a theme. Randomly altering the sequence in which you play the orchestras, or tandas, and it would take a year or two before the dancing community is totally familiar with the music, the rhythms and the orchestras. By then one hopes that they have also learned how to dance to them.

That’s how I approach all dances, either as a host or as an invited DJ. I carry about eighteen such CDs which I have mixed, fortunate as I am to have an extensive library and an educated knowledge of the music and the way it is danced. I wonder sometimes why friends don’t take advantage of a wealth of experience and knowledge that is available to them just for the asking. Rather than being jealous, envious or competitive of those who knew more than I did, I wholeheartedly took advantage of their generosity and I humbly learned.

The sounds of changing times

Osvaldo Pugliese music can be identified in three distinctive periods and three totally different styles. His first recording was Farol, and it took place July 15, 1943. The sound of the 1940’s orchestra can be typified by Recuerdo, Mala junta, Tierra querida and El arranque. The sound of the orchestra during the fifties can be sampled in Chique, La rayuela, Emancipacion and Nochero soy. Finally, in the sixties and seventies, Pugliese recorded perhaps the finest and most memorable tangos of which we consider to be his legacy to the Tango Hall of Fame. Listen to Que noche, La biandunga, A Evaristo Carriego, and Nobleza de arrabal among many others.

Juan D’Arienzo also went through three distinctive stages punctuated by the men who sat at the piano: Rodolfo Biagi, Juan Polito and Fulvio Salamanca.

Carlos Di Sarli‘s sound didn’t change much, but the quality and sonority of his arrangements have two major periods, before and after 1950.