(AUTHOR'S NOTE: Questlove is not a tango DJ; he's just cool)
At Tango Northside, the music we play in our classes, at our practicas, and at our milongas is very important to our mission. Michael is the DJ for our milongas most of the time, but occasionally we will invite guest DJs. When we do, we will want them to follow the same structural outline as Michael uses. For a three-hour 180-minute milonga, the structure is as follows:
Play four-song tango tandas
Play three-song vals and milonga tandas
Play three or four tango tandas followed by a valse or milonga tanda
Play music recorded during the Golden Age, 1935 to 55, with some rare
exceptions (more about this)
Play 40- to 70-second cortinas between tandas of non-tango music
As a general guide, of the 15 or 16 tandas played in a 180 minute milonga:
Play two or three DiSarli, two D’Arienzo, one Pugliese, and one Troilo. For the other eight or so remaining tandas choose most from the premier orchestras: D’Agastino, Callo, Tanturi, some from the secondary orchestras such as Fresedo, Laurenz, D’Angeles, Canaro, and a tanda or two from lesser orchestras such as DeCaro, Donato, Biagi, Lomuto, etc. And if you want, play a tanda from a new orchestra, such as Orchestra Romantica Milonguero, that interprets the older music.
Do not play alternative or non-tango music as dance music.
For a change of mood, add a one or two-song danceable cortina of salsa, merengue, or swing about two thirds into your playlist.