Tango Celsius

events - DJing - photography

A DJ Stream of consciousness

 

"The soul becomes dyed with the colour of its thoughts." Marcus Aurelius, Meditations.

Shoes. 8pm, two couples on the dance floor, first tanda. Help them warm up, not very experienced, something easy to dance to, early thirties. Guardia nueva or guardia vieja, it's a label, put the volume up as more people arrive, acoustics will change, dim the lights a bit. Crazy nuevo moves in the ronda, evil stare from the DJ, music to calm them down. Medium tempo to get the ronda going, Donato con Lagos, with steady rhythm, nopoinitthosetwodon'tlistentothemusicmightaswellplaychachacha. Easy-peasy rhythmic music at this point, more dancers, let's get more lyrical as the dance floor fills up, De Mare, "Torrente" to start, look at the dancers faces, smiling. She looks grumpy while she dances, she always does anyways, he dances the nuances in the piano, need more energy, Biagi valses from the 50s, steady rhythm but not too fast, Juan, what were you thinking when you fired him? Build up energy, not all at once, 9pm, time for the hard core stuff, D'Arienzo time! Up the volume a bit, adjust medium range, sustain energy. Play something light and uplifting, Calo con Berón. Milonga time, Canaro will get them going, "No hay tierra como la mia", the dance floor is getting chaotic, slow down, Fresedo or OTV? Keep the ronda going with a rhythmic tanda, faster Rodriguez or slower Malerba? Sip the whisky, time to get romantic, Di Sarli, Rufino or Podestà? Give them some rhythm, Lomuto time, pick up the energy with De Angelis valses, look at that smile, the ronda is flowing, who is that guy at the door? Time for some Troilo, now, the time is right, look at the dance floor, not Marino tonight too many inexperienced dancers, Fiorentino it is, everyone is on the dance floor. Look at that smile, 10 pm, more mainstream, people enjoying themselves, slower or faster here? People are getting tired, don't play fast milongas in the last half an hour, slow down again, start with something strong, Canaro con Maida, "Yo me burlé de vos, porque no te entendí, ni comprendí tu dolor". More mainstream tango. Everyone is up dancing, rhythm again, keep the energy up with D'Arienzo valses. Tanturi con Campos, Una Emoción. Energy, rhythm, smiles. Pugliese. La Cumparsita. 11 pm. Shoes.

  

Please bear in mind: this is an example of stream of thoughts when I play music at a weekly event in Edinburgh. In other venues the music selection - especially at the start - and the train of thoughts that go with it, would be quite different. 


The Violin

Sunday night - Edinburgh. 10:45.

The milonga is bringing to a close. Second to last tanda of the evening, third tango. Biagi with Saavedra. There is a suspended energy in the room. A nice flow channelled by the strong vocals. Everyone is dancing now.

Everyone except for her. She is sitting at the side of the dance floor. Her eyes are on her husband. He is dancing with another woman, he has been for the last two tandas. He wants to stay until the end.

Impatience is creeping up on her. She has been trying to make eye contact with him. Tonight is a school night. She wants to go.

The tango ends. She springs up from her chair as she finally manages to capture his gaze, her tired hands suddenly come to life. Her right index sharply pierces the sky. I can read her lips from the DJ box: just one. more. tango.

He rolls his eyes and, slowly shaking his head, he embraces his momentary partner again. They dance the last tango in the tanda. 

The cortina plays. People chat as they clear the dance floor. He walks back to his chair and sits down, ready to take his shoes off. She sits next to him, grabs her bag and, without talking, she starts collecting her things.

Last four tangos. Violino Tzigano starts playing.

They suddenly freeze on their chairs. He looks at her. She looks back at him. They both look at me. I try to look as innocent as possible.

She smiles at him and nods. They walk onto the dance floor and embrace tightly. In doing so, he briefly closes his eyes against her forehead. I get a glimps of a smirk on his face.

He won.

Violino Tzigano (Violín gitano)- Francisco Lomuto con Jorge Omar
Translations are my own, if you have any comments, please contact me here: 

 

Letras:

¡Oh, gitano violín!
Para mí sólo gime...
Quizá vibras así,
Añorando un amor
Muy lejano de ti.

Si un oculto dolor
Una mano te imprime,
Este tango de amor,
¡Oh, gitano violín!
Me entristece y oprime.

Este tango es de amor
Mas, mi amor va lejano,
Vibra aun para mi
¡Oh, gitano violín!
Aunque yo llore en vano...

Translation:

Oh Gipsy Violin
cry for me only.
Maybe you quiver thus,
longing for a love
far away from you.

If a hand impresses
a hidden pain on you.
This tango of love,
Oh gipsy violin,
saddens me and torments me.

This tango is about love,
but my love goes far.
Quiver even for me,
Oh, gipsy violin,
even though I cry in vain...

 

 

 

 

Moments

November 2014 - Carablanca, London. Half way through my DJ set. I am about to play a tanda of valses, Canaro. I have been building up a mellow atmosphere, this tanda is going to be the apex of it, before a more rhythmic selection starts. 

The last vals in this tanda is a little gem. It is called "Sueño de muñeca", Canaro with Maida.

The first vals starts. A gentleman sitting on the other side of the room walks over to the DJ box. He is not a dancer, as it was explained to me earlier by the organiser. He is from Buenos Aires but living in London. He is here to reconnect with his homeland through the music.

He approaches me and politely asks if he can make a request. "It depends on the request", I reply with a smile. He seems hesitant for a second, then continues:"It's a track called Sueño de muñeca, from the Canaro orchestra. It's not very common to hear it in milongas, but I would really like to listen to it." The look of surprise on my face takes him aback a little."If you cannot play it that's OK, I just thought I'd ask". I point at the screen on my laptop "Oh, but I am going to play it" I explain,"it's the track I am planning to play next. I had already made that vals part of my selection". He looks at the screen in disbelief. He reads the information of the track queued up to play next and looks at me with a smile. "Thank you" he says, and walks back to his seat. 

"Sueño de muñeca" starts playing.

I can see the man across the crowded dance floor. He is sitting on the edge of the ronda, listening with his eyes closed, slowly rocking his head and shoulders to the music. 

Moments like this one are the reason why I DJ, my friends. 

Sueño de muñeca.

This vals has a very long intro - about 30 seconds long. When I play it I edit the intro out to ensure the track is danceable.

Translations are my own.

Letras:

En el jardín de la ilusión
dormida vi bajo el rosal
a la mujer de tentación
que presintió mi madrigal.
Tenía los cabellos de oro y sol
un cuerpo de muñeca escultural
mejillas con colores de arrebol
diosa y flor virginal.
Por verla y admirarla me acerqué
y el hombre más dichoso me sentí
pues viendo que soñaba la escuché;
y al soñar
decía así...

Translation:

In the garden of illusion
asleep under the rose bushes,
I saw the woman of temptation,
who foresaw my madrigal.
She had long hair, made of gold and sun,
the body of a statuesque doll,
red glow on her cheeks,
goddess and virgin flower.
I went closer to see her and admire her
and I felt the happiest of men.
Upon seeing that she was dreaming, I listened to her;
as she dreamt
she was saying...

 

To find out what the lady said (a.k.a. full lyrics) please see:  

http://www.hermanotango.com.ar/Letras%20281007/SUENO%20DE%20MUNECA%20vals.htm

And here it begins...

I have been musing with the idea of writing a blog for some time now. A lot has been said and written about tango. Blogging has become an activity that many of my friends – the Facebook ones especially – seem to indulge in.

I will start by explaining the blog’s name – the tango monologues.

This blog is not meant to start a conversation about tango. This is a collection of thoughts about tango music and DJing in general. It will contain amusing anecdotes and personal experience laced with a few considerations. I am not setting out to be thought provoking or hoping to generate a discussion. All I am trying to achieve is shared entertainment.

Some topics might generate a reaction in the readers and that’s fine with me. Feel free to chat about it. Discussions on Facebook can be time-consuming. I have a full time job as well as other hobbies that I intend to continue pursuing. So I may not always participate.

This blog is unashamedly about me. Writing is a way to process and reflect on personal experience and I find it very liberating. You are very welcome to challenge or ignore what I write. Meanwhile, I will be listening to my music.