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Translation of El Ultimo Cafe

The Last Coffee
lyrics by Cátulo Castillo
?music by Héctor Stamponi

Your memory touches down like a tornado,
the autumn sun begins to set again
I watch the drizzle, and as I watch
the spoon stirs in the coffee…

In the last coffee
that your lips coldly
ordered that time
in a sighing voice. 

Visit Poesía de Gotán: The Poetry of Tango to see the rest of the lyrics.

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Juan D'Arienzo: A Biography

Juan D’Arienzo (December 14, 1900-January 14, 1976) was a violinist, pianist, band leader and composer. His nickname was “El Rey del Compás” (The King of the Beat). D’Arienzo was born on December 14th, 1900 in the Buenos Aires neighborhood of Balvanera. His orchestra is considered one of the "Big Four" orchestras of Argentine tango. 

Part 1: Introduction and Early Career (1900 to 1934)

Part 2: Tango Cancíon and The Guardia Nueva: The Lead Up to D'Arienzo

Part 3: The D'Arienzo Revolution (1935 to 1939)

Part 4: Re-Invention and the Final Years (1940 to 1975)

Part 5: References and Resources

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Tanda 63: Pugliese Instrumental Tango from 1944

This week's tanda is a beautiful, dramatic instrumental set by Osvaldo Pugliese.

The first song of this set, "Recuerdo" is considered by many a turning point in the composition of Argentine Tango music. It was composed in 1924 and has a complexity that had not been seen before. There is some debate over who the composer was. It was originally registered by Adolfo Pugliese, Osvaldo Pugliese's father, but Osvaldo said that he gave it to his father to register because his father was having a hard time financially. Apparently, it was later re-registered under Osvaldo's name. Some also say that it belongs to Osvaldo's brother, who left the composition behind after moving away. I would go with Osvaldo's story, since the music sounds so similar to his other compositions. If it was Osvaldo's composition, then he wrote it at the age of 19.

The title means "memory" and the original title was "Recuerdo para mis amigos (Memory of my friends)." Pugliese said that he wrote it in honor of his friends who used to meet at a café called La Cueva del Chancho (The Pig's Cave).

And the other songs in this tanda are just as strong with Pugliese's characteristic flow of melodic tenderness marked with strong punctuations of rhythm.

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Gambling on Tango: Casinos again the center for the Argentinian Dance

Gambling on Tango: Casinos once again becoming the center for the Argentinian dance

In the late 1800s, Argentina had become a place of cultural diversity with major influences from the Africans, one of which was their rhythmic drum beats that later developed into the most sensual dance that's known to man - the Argentine Tango. Because it was a dance deemed unacceptable among the upper white class, many young men that belonged to the upper class still scoured the corners of Buenos Aires to learn the forbidden moves. These men eventually traveled to Paris, bringing the seductive dance to theatrical venues, creating a hyperbole that surrounded the dance and thus becoming more widely accepted as an art form.

Fast-forward more than two centuries later, the dance still holds a certain appeal that has got people wishing they could move as smoothly as a dancer executing this wonderful art form. To bring the tango to a wider audience, casinos are now inviting people to their establishments so that they can join them in reveling in the culturally significant dance.

Perhaps it's the long history between casinos and the Argentine tango that has had casino providers reminiscing. For a time, the tango was only performed by the lower class in what was referred to as low-life establishments, such as dance halls, bars, and gambling houses. Casinos are now tracing back to their old Argentinian roots and celebrating the dance in leading entertainment hubs. Although the major incentive for hosting tango events could stem from the popularity of online casinos, a trend that started when InterCasino launched in 1996. Since then, operators of land-based casinos have had to diversify and look more appealing for people with different interests. Whether it is actually a strategy to increase both gaming and non-gaming income or not, a tango night in a casino aims to give participants a glimpse into the heritage of a once forbidden art form.

At the tango-themed charity event in Casino Shangri La, casino goers now have the chance to witness articulate and intimate moves of professional dancers, as well as have the opportunity to learn the steps of this beautiful Latin art.

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Tanda 62: Francisco Canaro with Roberto Maida

This week's tanda is calm, rhythmic tanda by Francisco Canaro with Roberto Maida singing. It starts with the very popular "Invierno." It is such a sweet and smooth song. Click here for a great translation of the lyrics from the Poesía de Gotán blog.

You might notice that there are 5 songs here. No, this is not a 5 song tanda... but rather, I could not decide which song to end the tanda with. I think "Viejo Tiempo" is probably the best fit, but I also love "Paciencia." So, I put both on here so that you could listen and decide. "Viejo Tiempo / Old Time" makes sense because all of these songs have more in common with the "Guardia Viejo / Old Guard" period (1910 to 1925) than the Guardia Nueva or Golden Age period. To give a super brief and over-simplified explanation, the songs of the Guardia Viejo period would have focused more on the underlying rhythm while the music of the Guaria Nueva would have focused more on melody and harmony. Canaro is working with both here. 

 

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Here is one of my favorite all-time favorite performances by Pablo Rodriguez and Noelia Hurtado. It is such a sweet and tender performance. To me, nothing says tango quite like this performance. It also demonstrates the statement that "Tango is a sad thought that can be danced." You might notice how emotional they are after the performance. I do not know the details, but it is my understanding that this was their last performance together after many years of teaching and dancing with one another.

Performances and Demonstrations

Augusta, GA Tango Festival 2018


Colgadas Workshop Demo, Dec 2017


Spoleto Tango Festival Workshop Demo, May 2017


Columbia, SC Regional Tango Festival Performance
November 2014

We had planned on dancing to something very slow, but then we were asked to perform live with the Alejandro Ziegler Orchestra. So, we decided to be bold and dance to their arrangement of Astor Piazzolla's "Michelangelo '70." This is completely improvised and we have never danced to this song before, much less their live version. I do wish we had been able to practice to it a few times, because i feel like it started coming together about half-way through. Thanks to Martin Ahrens for the video.

 

DubStep Tango Performance for Daza Dance Showcase
June 2014
This is our performance from the Daza showcase. This was part of a showcase put on by Daza Dance to showcase the students and teachers of the studio. This was an improvised performance, except for the lift at the very beginning.
 

 

History of Argentine Tango Performance
May 2014

The concept of this performance is to show a progression of Argentine Tango from its early days up to today, demonstrating different rhythms, embraces and styles.
 

 

Vals Performance from Charleston, SC Spoleto Tango Festival
May 2014

 

Leg Wraps Class Demo from Charleston, SC Spoleto Tango Festival
May 2014

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Tanda of the Week 61: Rodolfo Biagi con Alberto Amor

This week's tanda is low key tanda by Rodolfo Biagi with Alberto Amor singing. We usually think of Biagi as being more rhythmic and staccato, but with Alberto Amor his signature sound is more calm. The rhythm is still there, but more subdued. This is a great tanda for the end of the evening. "Seamos Amigos" is another great song that could go in this tanda.

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Tanda of the Week 60: Juan d'Arienzo with Alberto Echague

This week's tanda is spirited set by Juan d'Arienzo with Alberto Echagüe singing. "El Rey del compás" (The Rhythm King), as D'Arienzo was known, worked with many great singers. But, to me, Alberto Echagúe's canyengue style of singing was a perfect match for the rhythmic nature of D'Arienzo's orchestra. They recorded 27 records in the 1930's and "Trago Amargo," was the last before Echagüe left D'Arienzo's orchestra. He did return to D'Arienzo twice more, from 1944 to 1957 and 1968 to 1975.

Translation of Mandria: http://poesiadegotan.com/2009/09/03/mandria-1926