Name that tune

I began dancing with Enrique Rocenza this year in El Maipu.  He is interested in talking about the music, and nothing else, although he admitted he has danced tango since he was 15 years old.  Deejays learn the music when they build a collection and then program tandas for milongas.  I learned most of what I know about the tango recordings between dances from the milongueros viejos.

Enrique invited me for the Troilo tanda yesterday.  After the first tune, he said, I can’t tell if this is Milongueando en el cuarenta, Cachirulo, or Guapeando.  They all sound alike to me.  I can relate to how Enrique feels; there was a time when I confused El Choclo with La Cumparsita!  I confidently told Enrique that we danced to Milongueando, and that the next tune was Cachirulo.  When we finished dancing the second tune, we were close to the DJ booth to ask Brian.  Was that Milongueando followed by Cachirulo?  He confirmed so.

Later in the evening, Enrique and I danced Juan D’Arienzo.  He told me the name of the first tune, and then when the second one began, he asked if I could name it.  La Bruja, I said.  “Correct, he replied in my ear while we danced.  Most women I dance with don’t know anything about the music.”


6 Responses to “Name that tune”

  1. Tango Tails Says:

    I’m doing my best to follow your lead, but it is going to take me many years to get to your level, if ever. I do study the music and take it as a serious responsibility, as a lead, to know the music and orchestras that I’m dancing to in a milonga. And yes, over the 4 years of studying tango, I’ve built-up quite a library of tango music. If I don’t know the orchestra, I’ll ask the DJ after the tanda, especially if my dance partner is interested. Since I don’t speak Spanish, knowing the names of the songs will take me years to learn. Since I live in Italy, I’m studying the Italian language, as I’m not fluent, yet. My Italian is helping some, though with some of the Spanish, and I’m beginning to recognize some of the names of the songs of the major orchestras . . . As a young dancer to tango (though not young in age), I have a lot to learn and will keep studying to be worthy of sending my cabaceo to the lovely experienced tangueras like you. . .

  2. jantango Says:

    We never stop learning in life. Tango is a worthy pursuit.

  3. Chris Says:

    It’s worth keeping in mind that knowing the name of a piece of music is not the same as knowing that music. And it is of much less use in dancing.

  4. jantango Says:

    Precisely, but the milongueros viejos are so interested in the music of tango, they want to know all they can possibly remember. I appreciate their dedication to the music. That way, I benefit from their knowledge. Occasionally, I share a tidbit with one of them.

  5. Felicity Says:

    I’m learning Spanish with a little more commitment than in previous years. I learnt French at school and then I had a French boyfriend for some years. I learnt Italian as a waitress in Italy and working with Italians in the UK. So I’ve tried the formal way and the pick it up way. My French is better not because of the grammar but because I started younger, spoke it for longer and had more opportunities to be in and around the langauge.

    With Spanish I balked at things like “Yo lo trato bien a el” (for emphasis). It is very foreign to us – the a in “tratar a”, the double use of lo and el. It was the same with este, eso, esta. I could never remember what the differences were between those kinds of designators – which one meant ‘this’, which ‘that’. Eventually I half realised it was fear of not getting it that was holding me back, so I just decided to ignore it and be fine with whatever happened. Bingo! It started to come to me by itself.

    So I found if I’m patient and just stick with it, get used to it, accept the difference, it become natural. That’s true of a lot of things.

    I met a young German guy last week who wants to go to a language school in France. “Why a school, when you’re going to be in the country anyway with native speakers?”. “To learn the grammar”, he said. But I think it’s much easier to feel language and forget grammar. We don’t grow up with a conscious knowledge of our own language.

    It’s like learning the titles of music tracks. I know some because the music just tells me. But I agree with Janis, the passion the milongueros have about music comes from the music itself, and from loving that music, not from wanting to acquire knowledge or be a certain level. Guys everywhere have machismo, never mind how PC or not that is or whatever you want to call it. Argentinian guys may express it differently to guys in Europe but I don’t think theirs is based on analysis and knowing stuff.

    There aren’t levels in dancing tango, there’s just compatibility.

    There’s knowing music with the head and knowing it with the body and soul, which is easier and more natural. Learning a language, learning to dance, especially to music the body isn’t familiar with is a bit like stepping into an unfamiliar river and stirring up all the silt then just being OK with being in the river and letting it all became calm and clear.

  6. Chris Says:

    Oops. I omitted to indicate that my comment was a response to Tango Tail’s “knowing the names of the songs will take me years to learn”, rather than Janis’ article.

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