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Posts from the ‘Music’ Category


Record labels

Have been a bit quiet on this blog for a while, although this certainly does not mean a complete withdrawal from tango. In fact, quite the contrary. Regular milongas have been going steadily, plus a new milonga on Fridays, in conjunction with a guided practica. It is heartening to see the regulars putting in the effort and improving steadily, especially so when some the fundamentals that I have been emphasizing were vindicated in a workshop by visiting maestros over the past weekend!

Well, life and milongas go on. Regretfully I have been able to resist to add to my music collection with little success… ๐Ÿ™

Anyway I decided to refresh myself with the major tango record labels with the “A beginnerโ€™s guide to tango record labels” today. Here is a quick summary relevant to the music I already have or will receive in short order!

  • EMI-Odeon: Reliquias, From Argentina to the World, Serie de Oro.
  • Sony-BMG: RCA Victor, Tango Argentino, Solo Tango (FM Tango).
  • Euro Records: Coleccion 78 RPM, Archivo RCA, Archivo Odeon, Archivo T.K..
  • Collectors: Audio Park, Club Tango Argentino (CTA), Buenos Aires Tango Club (BATC).
  • Others: El Bandoneon, Harlequin.

New Canaro addition

The latest addition to my collection – a Canaro CD of his early 30’s output. In fact, I have been quite fortunate in acquiring a few of his tracks from the 1930’s lately. This is from Euro Records (the well-known “Coleccion 78 RPM” series), which are generally considered to have good quality given the source material they had to work from. Thanks to Royce for alerting me the existence of the CD and another friend for bringing it back from Buenos Aires!

ps. There is supposed to be a review of this CD here, but the website seems to be experiencing problems and is not accessible occasionally.


Music re-cataloguing

With the recent purchases of a bunch of CDs (and a couple more to come, I might add ๐Ÿ˜‰ ) and a new netbook, I have been on the prowl to tidy up and comb through the tags in my tango collection once again. The bulk of my collection is already in flac format, except for stuff that I have exchanged with friends which are variously in aac or mp3. For the new CDs I am using secure rips and encoding everything in flac (option -v) – hopefully to break from the shackles of Apple as far as DJing is concerned ๐Ÿ™‚ by the beginning of next year.

In the process I have “discovered” that I actually have more than I thought originally – albeit those additional materials only in digital format – and the lists (tango A-D and tango E-Z) on this blog have been duly updated. Two invaluable resources I have continually referred to are:

  1. Tobias’ wonderful database on almost everything related to tango!
  2. Tango discographies at

The tagging is done using foobar by the way. While there will be the inevitable human errors in any one source, hopefully by cross-referencing and more thorough this time around that the information will at least be more reliable in the long run. The joy of going digital!


Role of a DJ

This post continues on my thoughts concerning tango DJing.

An interesting point was raised in the comment to my post on danceability. In some communities (such as ours in Singapore), the DJ is likely to wear multiple hats, perhaps doubling as the milonga organiser, the MC, etc. The duties may include welcoming the guests/visitors, mingling as well as lots of dancing to get the crowd going. Even in the most of informal setting, he or she is ultimately answerable to the paying patrons of the milonga (and may or may not to the milonga organiser, as the case may be).

This then begs the question, what is the role of a tango DJ?

In some situations, such as in Buenos Aires or in larger communities around the world, the primary goal of the DJ is probably to pack the dancefloor as much as possible by playing great music. For smaller communities, I suspect the answer may not be so clear-cut all the time. Furthermore, as we evolve as dancers, obviously our tastes and appreciation in music will change. For example, I remember vividly how I used to think Di Sarli was terribly boring ๐Ÿ™ – one of my first CDs was actually the RCA 100 Anons… For others, perhaps it was Pugliese that they had problem handling at first? This means that from time to time there may be a disparity in how a tango DJ perceives a certain piece of music compared to segments of the community, who may be more junior as far as dance experience is concerned. How should the DJ react in such a situation? Listen to his/her instincts or play to the crowd?

This is the type of dimlemma that all DJs are likely to face at some point in their careers, in that each DJ needs to be able to answer, not only to him/herself but also to the organiser of the milonga as well as the patrons. After all, why are people coming to your milonga? Do they come primarily to dance? To socialise with friends, as well as share a few dances with friends? To learn about music? Nevertheless, despite the possibly conflicting objectives, knowing the audience will greatly facilitate a DJ in carrying out his/her duty conscientiously.