Monday, January 26, 2015

Tanda of the Week 05/2015 - Francisco Canaro y Nelly Omar

1. Francisco Canaro / Nelly Omar - "La canción de Buenos Aires" 1947
2. Francisco Canaro / Nelly Omar - "Canción desesperada" 1946
3. Francisco Canaro / Nelly Omar - "Sentimiento gaucho" 1947
4. Francisco Canaro / Nelly Omar - "Sus ojos se cerraron" 1947 this weeks post, I wanted to go back to some real classics of tango, since quite many of the blogs recent tandas have been pushing past the most traditional views of traditional tango. However I happened to stumble upon these songs by Canaro with Nelly Omar and was very pleasantly suprised and thought I'd share them with you all. So let's get back to the true classics next week.

There are not many tangos recorded with female vocalists and only a fraction of those would be concidered suitable for dancing. Canaro recorded also with Ada Falcón and Tita Merello, Edgardo Donato with Lita Morales and Donato Racciatti with Nina Miranda. Out of these it is probably Lita Morales who you might hear in milongas the most but only when sharing the spotlight with one or two of her male colleagues. So finding these songs was refreshing for me. Especially because the songs have such a good traditional structure and Canaro's orchestra, for once, doesn't bring the trademark wind instruments to the forefront and they've pulled the plug off the hammond organ and they actually sound like a.... like a tango orchestra. I'm sorry, I had to say it. I do not like all the extra instruments personally.

If you want to have a more generally recognizable song as the first one to open the tanda... I'd suggest "Sentimiento gaucho".

So what do you think? Could this be the best tango tanda with a female vocalist out there? Or am I forgetting someone and/or you'd rather give the honors to someone else?

Enjoy and have a nice week!

Canaro, Francisco - TOTW - Todo Tango - - iTunes Store

22 kommenttia:

  1. A good one... "Sus ojos se cerraron" instantly makes me remember Olga Delgrossi and I wouldn't be surprised if Olga's records can be combined into a stellar tanda (although when I played them, it was usually just a couple of her tracks augmented by Racciatti's instrumentals or Nina Miranda's). I also played Tania's but I have exactly one usable record of hers (with Orquesta Discepolo)

  2. I wouldn't mind having a drink to these. I wouldn't leave but I don't think I'd get up; perhaps - if I heard them more often in the milongas. But I doubt it. And Sentimiento Gaucho I prefer in the Lomuto, or even the Biagi.

    What puzzles me is this. The great subtitle to this blog is "Nothing improves your dancing more than knowing the music you dance to". I could hardly agree more. But I don't think I understand the same thing by it as you because I have been surprised to see tandas of tracks that I don't hear regularly played in the milongas. This, the last Di Sarli, the the last Troilo. So perhaps the idea is: learn them here so that you can play them and dance to them in the milonga and pass on the education?

    Looking forward to next week...

    1. Hey Felicity. Thank you for your comment.

      The blog is not only about educating dancers about the music they are most likely to hear in milongas. It is also to introduce dancers to tango music on a wider spectrum. I never wanted to have a very strict policy of what music to share here. I have been open to publish guest DJ tandas that I personally would never dance to and I have posted some tandas of my own that I have not ever played in a milonga and probably will not. Maybe I should think more about how to express all of this, since I am slightly afraid that I'm giving out the wrong picture of myself as a DJ. I am a big fan, addict and consumer of tango music but still rather conservatice as a DJ.

      The whole line "Nothing improves your dancing more than knowing the music you dance to" is an encouragement to put musicality as a top priority in dancing tango.

    2. And as far as this tanda goes.... I am not crazy about it. I'm happy to hear such a good female singer and I'm happy to hear Canaro's orchestra play in a rather unusual way. And I'd say the first three songs are rather wellknown tangos and the version of "Sentimiento gaucho" is probably not the best one, as you noted, but still a good one. I just made this tanda up for the blog and I'm not sure if I'll ever play it. Like you said it's nice to listen to but it lacks that something.

  3. I wondered for a moment what it was about "an encouragement to put musicality as a top priority in dancing tango" that seemed odd. And I see now, I think it's because it's tautological. What else do you do when you dance tango, but well, dance tango.

    What I understand by that line "Nothing improves..." is rather that if you know the music you will dance it well. That's why I like to dance to music I know. What music do I know? The kind I most often hear in the milongas. Will I dance to all of it? No. Some music I know is so good it's hard to be in the room and not dance. Some tracks I know well & dislike, but plenty do like them, lots of well known Di Sarli is like that for me, a few popular milongas, a few tracks that get unusable through overplaying but I don't mind waiting through those.

    Nor do I mind hearing tracks I don't know if I take a guess that after another X many hearings in the milongas they might be genuinely danceable. But tandas I don't know that don't seem danceable - that's the pits. Two or three of those in a row and I've lost my dancing feeling want to leave.

  4. The idea of introducing people to a wide spectrum of music is interesting. When I look for a milonga I want to go to the last thing I look for is a milonga that plays a wide spectrum of music. Varela? Racciatti? No thanks. Villasboas? No way. Lots of Pugliese - not even. Stuff from the Leaden Age and "undiscovered classics"? No. Perhaps what would be useful in this blog is separate musical areas in the same way people have separate milongas - trad milongas, people who like more alternative stuff, people who like music from a bit later on say, and discussion around that. The interesting bit would be when there are controversial tandas from uncontroversially good orchestras.

    1. I'm with you on this to a certain degree. My style of playing is deeply centered around the golden age masters like Troilo, Di Sarli, D'Arienzo and Calo. Also Pugliese, Tanturi and Laurenz. Then comes Biagi, Demare and D'Agostino. Canaro and Donato for milongas also. And I play all of these with great variety as much as I can... different time periods and both rhythmical and melodic styles. On top of that I'd play a few tandas of something more special which still might be something classic from Troilo/Marino or some vocal 50's Di Sarli... in a long set might play also some Orquesta Tipica Provincianos or Ricardo Pedevilla. But never Racciatti or Villasboas for example.

      There's great variety in how DJ's approach their sets. I try to keep the exceptions as just that... exceptions. You play too many of them and not only they lose their magic but they really change the overall atmosphere.

      Two or three tandas I don't like in a row and I'm out the door also. And my problem is the DJ's who center their style around Canaro, Lomuto and OTV.


      I could think of tagging the tandas with something like "super-trad" and "one-of-these-per-night-is-def-enough" but I'm not sure if I'd be able to draw the lines in a scientifically proven correct way that would have everyone's approval. I guess now if you want to look for something more special on the blog... hit the 1930s or 1950s labels and you'd surely find a lot of somewhat-unconventional un-super-trad tandas.

  5. That's interesting although curious you don't mention Rodriguez, Fresedo, De Angelis...

    Agreed about agreement! But that's the interesting question isn't it: about what counts as good & how do we (speaking generally) know & how do we agree & if we don't agree, where are those lines drawn & can they be drawn broadly rather than merely personally....

    1. There's a huge difference in popularity of Rodriguez and Fresedo when comparing Buenos Aires vs. the rest of the world... But I play a tanda or two of them every now and then. Mostly because I know it's so essential for many tango scenes in Europe. De Angelis I play more. Especially the valses.

    2. Fresedo is very much essential in Buenos Aires too. No less popular than in Europe. I doubt I've ever heard a BA set that doesn't include it.

      For interest, here's a recent example from one of BAs best-known DJs:

      Derecho viejo 1941
      Mariposita 1941
      Pimienta 1939
      Poliya 1939

    3. Yes these instrumentals are essential true. And these are the Fresedo's I play myself too. But all the vocal songs dominate European milongas but are missing in Buenos Aires for the most part.

    4. Antti wrote: "all the vocal songs dominate European milongas but are missing in Buenos Aires for the most part."

      I've found songs by Fresedo and Roberto Rey to be popular in Buenos Aires milongas. A particular favourite in BA is Vida mía. It gets played with Como aquella princesa, Niebla del Riachuelo, No quiero verte llorar, Araca la cana, Sollozos and the like.

    5. Ok. I don't remember such a thing from my visits... But I'm sure you agree Fresedo is at least more popular in Europe than it is there. Or at least it used to be. Maybe the Fresedomania has toned down a bit even here.

  6. What else is played here that isn't played there? I believe there isn't much Canaro, much Rodriguez (why?), anything else?

  7. Last week I was in quite a traditional milonga (El Arranque, a day milonga where I, with my 44 years, was the youngest person). The DJ - Mario Orlando - I would guess a well known one, at least here, passed a tanda of milongas by Villasboas. The 50+ year old crowd enthusiastically flocked to the dance floor.

    I'm also a tango DJ, though I'm from Europe myself, all my tango life has evolved in BsAs. When I go to Europe I've got a feeling I should be much more conservative than here, in Argentina. Any explanation for that? What's wrong with Villasboas, Racciatti, Varela, yes, and many times even with Pugliese from 50ies in Europe? Not to say they should make the backbone of the milonga, but every now and then - why not (and least something fresh at least once a night).

    P.S. Fresedo, including the vocal themes is quite popular here.

    1. Often we might have a very romantic picture of how milongas and music in Buenos Aires are, while the reality is a lot more versatile. I think my seven months in Buenos Aires weren't enough to understand or remember everything that goes on in there.

      Somebody wants to draw a line in only 40s Pugliese, while others embrace late 50s Pugliese with pleasure.

      Like I said, as long as the exceptions stay as exceptions, they can bring some extra quality and flavor to the milonga. Our dance crowds are also often more versatile than we might think. So I favor your suggestion of playing something "fresh" at least once a night. Just make sure it's the best this orchestra has to offer.

    2. I heard Mario in Salon Canning on a Sunday (and a Wednesday) for a trad crowd (I followed the trad DJs and so did they). Most of his music was traditional with indeed occasionally a more unusual turn. Once I heard him inexplicably nosedive into Canaro 1927 - which was the only time I heard a trad DJ in BA play this sort of plodding music favoured by so many European DJs. Many dancers shunned it. I felt guilty because just before I'd asked him about Canaro in BA. He said many traditional dancers liked music "más picada", a term I heard several times, meaning they liked it more rhythmic, - Troilo, D'Arienzo, which indeed I found, unsurprisingly to be true.

      I found all kinds of milongas in BA. The younger the crowd in general, the less mainstream music (though a lot of Europeans would still describe it as "traditional". I heard that sort of thing by Diego Umberti at Milonga de los Zucca with a much younger crowd.

      Carlos Moreira often plays that sort of music later on in Gricel and even more of it in other places. I don't remember hearing Dany or Vivi play it at Obelisco on e.g. Fri, Salon Leonesa on Saturday afternoon or Nuevo Chique or in Lo de Celia. Carlos Rey might play a bit. But if you're there ask them how their trad, older crowd in general finds that music. The last three don't dance tango, but reckoned the top ones in BA but Carlos M does. Also ask Martin Viqueira, a young guy who I heard play a (lovely) trad set.

      I heard only perhaps three tandas in three weeks of Fresedo songs, though was told they are played, but I did hear some instrumental, and Lomuto and QDP instrumentals not infrequently. Rodriguez was played but less often than here.

      What DJs play (here) I have found depends on their motivation. Many DJs play to "educate" dancers - as in "I think you should like this". Some DJs play what they know their crowd likes to dance. I doubt many Argentine DJs playing for a trad crowd would try to "educate" such dancers as they do here. They credit their dancers with knowing what they like.

      Some DJs here (as there) have a musically liberal crowd, some don't and some have mixed. Some DJs have crowds who don't care and will dance anything, some don't. Plat what your crowd likes to dance (and you're willing to play)- simple as, no?

    3. arc wrote:

      > What's wrong with Villasboas

      For the milonga? Nothing. Hence that many DJs in BA play it.

      > Varela

      For the milonga? Lots. Hence that few if any DJs in BA play it.

    4. Antti wrote: "So I favor your suggestion of playing something "fresh" at least once a night. Just make sure it's the best this orchestra has to offer."

      I have a few problems with that.

      One, the best music from second-rate orchestras is second-rate regardless.

      Two, the best from second-rate orchestras are so few in number that it takes very few plays for them to become stale. Think e.g. Raphael Canaro.

      Third, striving for "fresh" amongst music that goes stale so quickly leads to selecting from orchestras that are even worse.

      Beginner DJs, when you hear "Just make sure it's the best this orchestra has to offer", please think instead "Just make sure it's the best this DJ has to offer."

    5. Felicity wrote: "... less mainstream music (though a lot of Europeans would still describe it as "traditional"".

      Unfortunately a lot of Europeans have little clue about the tradition of anything... except dance classes in which equally clueless teachers use "traditional" to refer to any music that sounds old.

  8. Arc wrote: "What's wrong with Villasboas"

    Chris replied: "For the milonga? Nothing. Hence that many DJs in BA play it."

    I think there's quite a lot wrong with Villasboas. If there isn't, why haven't you and don't you play more of it?

    I found DJs in BA play many things. And although I found much great music in BA I found a lot of poor music too, though not by the same DJs. Good DJs tended to play...mostly good music for me, though I didn't know all of it. Good DJs being those I thought good but also they were the ones who were locally, generally thought the best if you asked well known organisers and other DJs. There was quite a lot of Di Sarli and even D'Arienzo that I had heard never or heard seldom here but which I thought good - and then I found it played all round the trad milongas there too. I found poor DJs played music that wasn't good for dancing or was plain whacky - like much Villasboas for me.

    Where, among the good DJs I found good music, this did not tmk contain Villasboas because likely I would've thought "what on earth is that?", and "how surprising?". Perhaps you mean the milongas?

    I don't want to be mean not least because you publish the music, but since it's come up I see they are the first Villasboas you've played in years here
    I'd put comments there if I could, but I can't, and since it seems releveant, for sure I'd sit out El portenito. Who'd dance that annoying track when they could dance the D'Agostino? It's true these guys like La Milonga que Hacia Falta but it'll take seeing some good dancers dance it for me to get over seeing what's done to it there. I always worry when I find a track advertised thus but I have unfortunately heard Luz Verde several times. There are no youtube videos of anyone dancing it. I really struggle to imagine this track being danced well and I have no doubt you'll say to the contrary.

    Personally I'd sit those out. But then you play the QDP milongas and I did hear those in BA, even by trad DJs and they were danced, though I consider them nearly as different as the "tropical" tandas.

    1. Felicity wrote: "I think there's quite a lot wrong with Villasboas. If there isn't, why haven't you and don't you play more of it?"

      I have the feeling supply of this somewhat exceeds demand currently in the UK, which is where I DJ mostly these days. If MV was played less hereabouts, I'd play more.

      "I really struggle to imagine this track being danced well and I have no doubt you'll say to the contrary."

      I'd say don't try to imagine, and instead wait until to hear it played in BA.

      "There are no youtube videos of anyone dancing it."

      No show dancers?? Great! :-)