I received this page of a Buenos Aires newspaper April 17, 1943, with the comment — the word “milonga” is not mentioned — from a reader in India.
First, I tried imagining what it was like in those days when one opened the newspaper and read the list of tango orquestas appearing that Saturday night in the clubs. Miguel Angel Balbi showed me newspapers from the 1940s years ago, so I am familiar with the advertising. Was it a difficult deciding where to go? How did people choose one among the list of orquestas in the Golden Age of tango? The page features the top nine orquestas of the Golden Age, missing only Pugliese to complete the top ten.
Based on my conversations with several milongueros viejos, the reason that “milonga” isn’t mentioned in the advertisements is because these dances with orquestas were held in neighborhood clubs on Saturday. The “milongas” started around 1948 in nine confiterias bailables downtown with recorded music every day of the week. The milongueros didn’t like the competition from the singers on stage who distracted the women from dancing. The women focused on dancing with the milongueros when Raul Beron or Roberto Chanel weren’t around. Hence the dances in the downtown confiterias were known as milongas where milongueros went to milonguear. The confiterias bailables were small venues where the dancing changed.
With computer assistance, I enlarged the page to read the details in the ads.
Miguel Calo played in Asoc. S. F. Apolo at Boulogne sur Mer 547 (El Once). The location is now the IFT Theater, a venue for alternative theater productions.
Juan D’Arienzo was announced to play on Sunday with L’Orchestre Lewis Varona (mambo) at Club Atletico Independiente, Av. Mitre 450, Avellaneda, from 19-23,30 hs. Entrada was 2 pesos.
Angel D’Agostino played at Racing Club, Av. Mitre 934, Avellaneda from 22-4 hs. Male members paid 1.50, women paid 50 centavos; male nonmembers 5 pesos, female nonmembers 1 peso.
Anibal Troilo with singers Francisco Fiorentino and Alberto Marino, plus a jazz orchestra, were at Club Atletico Velez Sarsfield, Rivadavia 7855-67, in Liniers. There were limited streetcar lines in those days and few buses, so people had to rely on a friend with a car for transportation. Ladies paid 50 centavos to enter. Liniers is near the city limit.
Pedro Laurenz with Alberto Podesta performed downtown at Ocean Dancing at 25 de Mayo 279 that had another entrance on L. H. Alem, from 22-1 hs.
Ricardo Tanturi kept two groups of musicians working. One played at Tribu Social Club at Sarmiento 1374 and another with Alberto Castillo plus a jazz orchestra in Circulo General Urquiza, F. D. Roosevelt 5345, a neighborhood sports club.
Lucio Demare was the headliner at Palermo Palace, Godoy Cruz and Santa Fe in Palermo, where men paid one peso and women entered free.
Carlos Di Sarli with Roberto Rufino appeared at Club Boca Juniors, Brandsen 805, Boca, from 22-4 hs. This would have been my choice, even if I had to walk there.
Rodolfo Biaggi and two singers were at Club Miraflores at Boyacá 652, Flores, alternating sets with a jazz band from 22 hs. Entrada was 2 pesos for men, 50 centavos for women.