Jorge Ruben Orellana

July 8, 2021

July 8, 1931 —

Jorge was among the first interviewed when I bought a camcorder to document them dancing in the milongas.  I called Jorge today for a chat on his birthday.  He turned 90!  I will always remember dancing with Jorge at the milonga Viejo Correo during the first several months of 1999 when Buenos Aires became my new home country.

Alberto Luis Ayala

July 6, 2021

July 2, 1941 — October 2018

Years had passed since I saw or spoke with Beto.  His 80th birthday was a few days ago.  I called his former employer to ask if they were in contact Beto.  The man suggested I search Facebook for his son.  That’s what I did and hoped for a reply.  His son wrote to me today with the news that his father passed in October 2018.

I am grateful we have recordings of Beto teaching, dancing, and talking about his life in tango that are posted on my YouTube channel.

Rogelio Heredia

July 3, 2021

September 21, 1932 — May 27, 2021

DSCN7523Yesterday I made a list of people from the milongas that I want to call, especially those I got to know in Lo de Celia.  The first call I made was to check up on Rogelio.  His wife Julia answered the phone.  When I asked how he is, she told me the sad news that he passed on May 27.  They went to Cordoba in February by bus.  When they returned, Rogelio said he wasn’t going to get out of bed anymore.  The doctors wanted to do many things that didn’t help Rogelio.

I remember Rogelio for his smile and joking around.  After Lo de Celia, he and a couple of friends always went for dinner at the restaurant on the corner.  On one occasion, my friend Jean and I stopped to talk with them.  Rogelio kept us laughing constantly.

Julio Ale (1932-2014), Victor Alberto Ramire (1932-2001), Roberto Alvarez (1933-2010) and Jorge Orellana (1932-) at the milonga El Arranque in Nuevo Salon La Argentina organized by Juan Carlos La Falce.

When I was getting ready to take this photo, Rogelio got up and walked away.  He was at the table with his friends, but for some reason, he didn’t want to be in the photo.  I didn’t ask why and never knew the reason.  I remembered this later and wanted to share it.

Musical intelligence

July 1, 2021

Scientists have discovered that when the brain is focused on the rhythm of music, the brain creates how the body will move.  This subject is explored in a television program on NatGeo entitled, Musical Intelligence.  It gives us something to consider, especially those who are focused on memorizing step sequences.  If our goal is to improvise our dance in the moment and express what we are feeling in the music, we can learn to rely on our brains.

Music and dance preceded language.  No human culture is known that does not have music.  Daniel Leviten, Ph.D. is a music psychologist at McGill University in Montreal who authored, This is Your Brain on Music: the Science of a Human Obsession.  He studied the brain of the popular singer/song writer Sting to see how various areas respond when hearing music and the creative process.  The big question is why do we like the music we like?  Answering this would help us understand why some tango dancers prefer to dance to music other than tango.  Sting said he remembers listening to his mother play tango at the piano.  He likes the rhythm of the tango and said it fed his muse.  His song Roxanne is a tango.

In the program, School for the Ear, Daniel Barenboim said: The music speaks to us when we are actively listening.  We have to become active listeners as dancers.  Then the sound, melody, harmony and rhythm make us dance.

Robert Jourdain says we don’t need an ear for music, but a mind for it in his book, Music, The Brain and Ecstasy: How music captures our imagination.  When music dissolves into ecstacy, it transports us to an abstract place far from the physical world that normally occupies our minds.  Sounds like a perfect description of what happens to many of us when we dance tango.

Jose Maria (1938 – May 17, 2021)

June 18, 2021

Soledad and Jose Maria were regulars in Lo de Celia Tango Club.

Horacio Julián Prestamo

June 18, 2021

January 22, 1943 —  June 2021

Horacio Julian Prestamo

Juan Topalian

June 18, 2021

May 12, 1937 — June, 2021

Juan Topalian….

Juan Topalian

The last time I saw Juan was on a Zoom call when I took this screen shot of him.

WordPress believes it has improved its technology, but I disagree

May 14, 2021

Writing a post on Tango Chamuyo used to be simple and enjoyable. What used to be simple is now impossible. The techies at WP, with all their new ideas and innovations, don’t know how seniors like things to stay the same. “If it works, don’t fix it.”

I want to let my readers know that when I have some important news to share with you about the milongas and milongueros in Buenos Aires, I will use Facebook. This is all I can tolerate of this new writing format that has driven me crazy in only a few minutes!!!!

Open the milongas of Buenos Aires

March 13, 2021

I found this announcement posted on Facebook today.  I wish I had seen it days ago so I could have been there to support it.

The Association of Milonga Organizers went to the Minister of Culture of the City of Buenos Aires to solicit approval of protocols for the milongas and economic assistance.  Dancers were invited to participate wearing black clothing, a mask, and holding a white sign with black lettering with one of the following statements:

  • TANGO IS AN INVISIBLE CULTURAL HERITAGE
  • ONE YEAR WITHOUT WORK WITH TANGO
  • ECONOMIC SUPPORT FOR TANGO
  • TANGO WANTS TO RETURN TO WALK
  • TANGO IS THE ONLY CULTURAL ACTIVITY PROHIBITED IN THE CITY

Maintain social distancing during the protest.

I had no doubt that the organizers were planning something to draw attention to the plight of the milongas.  Let’s hope that they achieved the desired results that day with the Minister of Culture.

It’s been one year since the milongas closed in Buenos Aires

March 11, 2021

A “new normal” has emerged in downtown Buenos Aires so everyone can enjoy the outdoors during the summer months. . . with masks, of course.  I walked along Avenida Corrientes and was stunned by all the new establishments.  All the theaters are open with live shows, and movie theaters are open as well.  I saw new restaurants that are booming with business on Saturday night.  They have tables and chairs on the sidewalks, so there is less room for walkers.

Teatro Colon reopened this week for the 100th anniversary celebration of Astor Piazzolla’s birth with concerts every night that are streamed live on YouTube.  Central Cultural Kirchner has been open for concerts on Saturday and Sunday since January.  Children returned to school on February 17.

The one noticeable exception is the milongas.  I am certain that the association of milonga organizers is working diligently to obtain permission from the city after one year.  Everyone working in the milongas has been without income for the past year. The only tango dancing in the city happens at a few clandestine locations in plazas.  Of course, the fate of the milongas reopening in their previous venues depends on meeting protocols.

This is the entrance of the former cabaret Marabu, later known as Club Maracaibo at Maipu 365.  Every Thursday night there is a live orchestra for dancing.  It’s a very special place where Anibal Troilo debuted his orquesta in 1937, and Carlos Di Sarli’s orquesta performed regularly.