Tango Music and Buenos Aires
Julie and I just got back from a two week trip to Buenos Aires (April 7 to 20, 2018). During the fourteen nights we had in BsAs, I was sick for two of them and we were exhausted for two. All told, we went out to 12 different milongas in 10 nights. Twice we went out to two milongas in a night. In total, 40 hours of dancing in milongas in the two weeks we were there.
Before we went we got guidance from friends who knew the BsAs dance scene so we knew of milongas we definitely wanted to check out: the famous old traditional milongas and some of the newer hot milongas. We also knew of some DJs we wanted to hear, and also we had some ideas about musicians and orquestas we wanted to catch.
If you want to have a feeling for the tango scene in BsAs, the shortcut is to visit the webpage: https://www.hoy-milonga.com/buenos-aires/es Here you will find a list of nearly all of the milongas and practicas every night of the week. The first thing you will notice is that there are 20 or 30 or more. Every night! Just to give you a sense of scale, a few months ago I danced in San Francisco, and a few weeks later I was dancing in NYC. In each of those cities, maybe there are four decent milongas per week. Per week! In BsAs, like I said, more than 20 EVERY SINGLE DAY!
Of the 12 different milongas we went to, the smallest in terms of attendance had maybe 50 to 70 people in the room (three or four of them). While the others ranged between 100 to 400 people. That means, to make a rough estimate, more than 3000 people are out dancing tango every single night of the week!
Some of the milongas we attended the average age of the dancers might have been somewhere in their 20s or early 30s (Julie and I, and a few other “mature” dancers pushed the average up) like at Milonga a la Parrilla. At other milongas Julie and I were younger than most of the dancers there, where the average age was probably in their 60s or older like at Milonga de BsAs at Obelisco.
In the 40 hours we spent at milongas, it did not matter whether most of the dancers were in their 20s or in their 60s, the same music was played: always and without exception traditional tango music of the Golden Age. Never, not once, did we hear a single “alternative,” “nuevo,” or “electronic” song. And almost never did I hear a song from later than the mid 50’s, and then they were old compositions performed by newer, meaning 60s or 70s, orquestas.
There is more I could say about the music, but the take-away is that the tradition of Golden Age music is the music dancers in BsAs dance to. This is true even as new hot Orquestas continue to develop and interpret the old music. Check out Orchesta Romantica Milonguero (who we saw and danced to, to our delight, at Club Gricel) as they put their stamp on the classic Poema: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8WpAnKVeJpw
Here are the milongas we attended from Saturday April 7th thru Friday April 20th, 2018:
sábado Tango Club a Club Fulgor en Villa Crespo
domingo Viva la Pepa a Club Malcolm en Villa Crespo
lunes Sueño Porteño a Club Gricel en San Cristobal
martes night off
miércoles Cheek to Cheek a Club Malcolm en Villa Crespo
sábado La Milonga Asociación de Pesca en Puerto Madero y
La Viruta de Solanas a Asociación Armenia en Palermo
domingo Milonga Placita del Pañuelo Blanco a Plaza Dorrego en
lunes Milonga a la Parrilla a La Salsera en Almargo
martes night off
miércoles La Previa Uriarte en Villa Crespo
jueves De Querusa a Rincón Familiar Andaluz en Boedo
vierne Milonga de Bs As a Obelisco en Constitución and
Parakultural at Salon Canning in Palermo