Like a step back in time to the golden era of tango

July 14, 2017

Nina and Oscar told me they would be dancing an exhibition on July 13 in Marabu, when I met them at Nuevo Chique on June 20.  I looked forward to seeing them again.  I didn’t know what plans were in store for that night until reading the program for the month at Marabu on Facebook.

I knew I didn’t want to miss this night at Marabu, which years later was known as Maracaibo.  The purpose was to pay tribute to Anibal Troilo who debuted his orquesta in 1937 in this very same venue as it is today.  They unveiled a plaque from the city legislature at the ceremony.

I attended afternoon milongas at Maracaibo before it closed in 2000.  Years later, I attended other special events there, but never heard an orchestra perform on the stage where Di Sarli played and Troilo debuted his orquesta . . . until last night.

Nina and Oscar delighted the audience with a tango by D’Arienzo and a vals, then another tango by Di Sarli.

La Orquesta de Richard Cappz played Troilo classics as his orquesta recorded them.  It was incredible.  There I was, listening to the orquesta perform Troilo where Troilo debuted 80 years ago with his orquesta. I was trying to imagine how it was for the public who heard the orquesta for the first time and danced and listened to this music.  Troilo was only 23 years old.

I met Richard Cappz (center bandoneonist) when he was a member of Orquesta Gente de Tango (Di Sarli style). I’m glad that he formed his own orquesta with an excellent ensemble of musicians.

They finished the night playing Quejas de bandoneon, the signature composition of Troilo.

Ricardo Franquelo

July 14, 2017

July 14, 1944 —

This was another case of being in the right place at the right time for a photo.  Ricardo arrived at El Maipu as I was talking with Hector (left).  I remembered that his birthday was in two days.  He’s celebrating tonight in Obelisco Tango.

I can’t believe it

July 13, 2017

I want to know the orquesta of the tanda before I leave my chair in a milonga.  I’m as selective about the music as partners.  I rely on the milongueros viejos for help.

Last night at the milonga…

Me:  Antonio (seated to my right), what orquesta is this?  Canaro?

Antonio: I don’t know.

Me:  Hugo (seated to my left), what orquesta is this?

Hugo: I don’t know.

Me:  I know, it’s Donato!

Then the DJ was passing by on his way outside to smoke.

Me:  Brian, is it Donato?

Brian,  Yes.

Me:  Hugo, it’s Donato.  Antonio, it’s Donato.


This is not fake news

July 13, 2017

The milongas of Buenos Aires are in jeopardy.

  1. Cancellations are frequent.  The number of milongas is declining steadily.
  2. The closure of Confiteria Ideal in March 2016 is one example when seven milongas closed, and only one of those organizers moved to a new venue.  Salon Canning (newly remodeled in 2016) and Obelisco Tango host milongas seven days a week.
  3. Some organizers are operating during the winter months at a loss, yet they stay open for their regular customers.
  4. The increase in the entrada for milongas is necessary to cover costs, and those on a fixed retirement income attend less often.
  5. There are more practicas than in recent years which aren’t required to pay for music licensing fees, wait staff, etc.  Needless to say, serious dancers don’t attend practicas where the codes are non-existent.
  6. A milonguera said to me last night: “There are only five milongas.”

Roberto Besone

July 13, 2017

July 13, 1936 —

His milonga routine included Wednesday at LdC and Thursday at El Arranque in Nuevo Salon La Argentina.  Now that both milongas closed, I want to know where Roberto is dancing these days.  I miss his embrace.

Antonio Ignacio Cejas

July 12, 2017

July 11, 1934 —

Today, I was in the right place at the right time to take this photo.  I arrived at El Maipu around 7:30pm, and there was Antonio at the table next to mine.  I don’t have his phone number, so I couldn’t call him yesterday for his birthday.  He told me he is still working a few hours every afternoon.

Ilda Gutierrez

July 12, 2017

July 12, 194–

Lucy and Dany had a birthday cake for Ilda, and her friends gathered at the table.

Then she had a birthday dance with the men at El Maipu.

Dia del Bandoneon

July 11, 2017

Tonight’s concert at the Centro Cultural Kirchner had solos, duos, and ensembles performing tributes to notable composers Anibal Troilo (remembering his birthday), Astor Piazzolla and Leopoldo Federico, with new compositions and historic pieces.

The concert ended with all the bandoneonists on stage for the emblematic tango of Troilo — Che Bandoneon.

Alberto Luis Ayala

July 11, 2017

July 2, 1941 —

Beto has a corner table every Monday at El Maipu in Obelisco Tango.  Since his wife Teresa of 43 years passed on the end of 2015, he has lost weight and doesn’t dance very much.

I belatedly acknowledged his birthday when I passed by his table last night at El Maipu.  He doesn’t talk much or smile these days.  Hugo remarked that Beto hasn’t danced since Teresa passed on, and he wanted me to get Beto to dance for the Fresedo tanda.  I said, Hugo, that’s Tigre Viejo, Beto’s favorite tango by his favorite orchestra.  I absolutely wouldn’t ask him dance with me, even though we are friends.   I know that’s the orchestra he danced with Teresa.  It’s very emotional for him.

Later on when I passed by Beto’s table, I asked him, aren’t you dancing anymore?  He responded, shall we dance?  I explained that I wasn’t inviting him to dance, only that I wanted to know if he isn’t able to dance anymore.  It’s been a long time since we danced.  A milonguero needs to dance.  I got Beto to dance one tanda last night before he went home.



Rafael Caffé

July 11, 2017

January 8, 1936 – ? 2016

I took this photo in LdC a few days before Rafael’s 80th birthday.

It’s been months since I’ve been able to reach him by phone at his Montserrat apartment.  I didn’t want to assume the worst without confirmation.  Sunday was a cold, rainy day for an outing, but I went anyway.  When I arrived at Venezuela 770, there were two women in the entrance.  I motioned that I wanted to talk with them.  One lady knew that the apartment was vacant.  She rang a neighbor’s bell and asked about Rafael.  The lady said, he passed on last year.  That confirmed what I thought was the case.  I asked the woman to give my card to his daughter so that she could call me.  A dreary Sunday got even worse for me.