Tuesday, February 27

Hating displays of romance

We are such a strange crowd. Why are so many of us such prudes? Amorous hugs, loving kisses, holding hands, in fact any public display of affection are given a sharp shrift as "inappropriate" behaviour at our milongas.

The very same acts which are usually dismissed and totally ignored elsewhere, by almost everyone, are suddenly a problem area to tolerate and cope with by the crowds at our milongas.

Isn't it odd that at any other social fun gatherings such as night clubs, bars, restaurants, or other fun places frequented by adults, no one will batter an eye lid if two people of opposite sex are seen kissing but if it happens at a milonga then some react very shocked as if those two people were seen naked, or that they were seen committing acts of shameful sins!?

No one could tell me that public displays of affection in milongas are referred to by comments such as "cute", "romantic", or "sweet". No! The language used would be more along the lines of "Oh my God!, sleazy or what!?"

In fact what happens are more likely to be that the eyes will roll, the meaningful smiles and gestures are exchanged, the sinful couple are "marked" and talked about and for a long time to come "the sinful couple" are subject of "caught in the act!" conversations.

Why is such a contrast dominating the dance of romance and its real life display at the tango scene?

I am sure many of us have introduced friends and colleagues to dancing tango. Personally I always find it very amusing when I observe my guests' immediate and initial reactions. Their comments at their first encounter with the tango scene are always very alike. The guest visitors often display smiles that try hard to hide their disbelief, bewilderment, joy and fascination and they soon follow by questions "Are they all couples?" They all want to know if these people who are dancing close, and intimate, are actually real life couples or not. The majority finds the intimacy of Argentine tango difficult to comprehend at first simply because it does not fit into the English culture.

What is more amusing to me is that what seems to outsiders as strange, daring or even "shameless" we see as acceptable, normal and very appropriate.

On the other hand many of us feel that a couple kissing is to be frowned upon since it does not fit into the "Milonga Culture"!

An amorous hug, a loving kiss, hands holding, or any other public display of affection are avoided by almost all couples because everyone fears the consequences.

It was just last Friday evening, at the Negracha tango club, that I overheard some very sharp disapproving remarks and comments from some who had witnessed a couple having a few personal moments.

As it happens I had actually seen that couple kissing and cuddling earlier and also later in that evening. They were sitting somewhere out of sight, in a dim lit area in the downstairs room.

This couple may have looked to be excited and engaged in each others' company but they were not doing anything that would have shocked any old ladies at a bus stop.

I am curious to know why there were such sharp remarks being whispered about them by some who had seen them. The couple were not seen compromised in doing anything that was overtly risqué or in anyway indecent. They were just being amorous in a London tango club in the late hours of the night and away from everyone else.

Why do we have such different gages of tolerance for dancing the intimacy of most passionate tangos and the displays of intimate moments of true passion by some young couple in a London milonga?

The only cat who loves you back!

Wednesday, February 21

Virdot & Borges' Instants .

When Ricardo Vidort passed away many of us felt sad for such loss. Those who met him remember him with much fondness. He was a wonderful and happy individual who as "A Tango Artist" attracted many admirers for his 'Style'.

I doubt if he wanted to be remembered more reverentially in any other way than for whom he actually was in his real life. What I know of him is very brief but what I remember most is that he always had a big smile on his face wherever he was seen.

Could it be that he took the famous Argentine poet, Jorge Luis Borges' words of living our life in "Instants", on board and that he led and lived a life according to that poem to the very end?

Personally I can only dream of such freedom in living of my life. It is either because that I am too frightened to let go or that I am still too young to appreciate all my chances for living my life by hindsight of Borges' Instants.


If I could live again my life,
In the next - I'll try,
- to make more mistakes,

I won't try to be so perfect,
I'll be more relaxed,
I'll be more full - than I am now,

In fact, I'll take fewer things seriously,
I'll be less hygienic,
I'll take more risks,
I'll take more trips,
I'll watch more sunsets,
I'll climb more mountains,
I'll swim more rivers,
I'll go to more places - I've never been,
I'll eat more ice creams and less (lime) beans,

I'll have more real problems - and less imaginary ones,

I was one of those people who live
prudent and prolific lives -
each minute of his life,
Off course that I had moments of joy - but,
if I could go back I'll try to have only good moments,

If you don't know – that's what life is made of,
Don't lose the now!

I was one of those who never goes anywhere
without a thermometer,
without a hot-water bottle,
and without an umbrella and without a parachute,

If I could live again - I will travel light,
If I could live again - I'll try to work bare feet
at the beginning of spring till
the end of autumn,

I'll ride more carts,
I'll watch more sunrises and play with more children,
If I have the life to live - but now I am 85,

- and I know that I am dying ...

Jorge Luis Borges

MilongaCat is the only cat who loves you back!

Sunday, February 18

Dance of the Santiago Moon

(Garcia Lorca)

Look at that white gallant
look at his wasted flesh!

It’s the moon that’s dancing
in the Courtyard of the Dead.

Look at his wasted flesh,
black with twilight and wolves.

Mother: The moon dances
in the Courtyard of the Dead.

Who wounds the horse of stone
at the gates of sleep?

It’s the moon! It’s the moon
in the Courtyard of the Dead!

Who looks in my grey windows,
with an eye full of cloud?

It’s the moon! It’s the moon
in the Courtyard of the Dead!

Let me die in my bed
dreaming the flower of gold.

Mother: The moon dances
in the Courtyard of the Dead.

Ay, daughter, the air in the sky
has suddenly turned me white!

It isn’t the air, it’s the sad moon
in the Courtyard of the Dead.

Who groans with that groan
of an ox, huge and malcontent?

Mother: It’s the moon, the moon
in the Courtyard of the Dead.

Yes, the moon, the moon,
crowned with yellow gorse,
that dances, dances, dances,
in the Courtyard of the Dead!

"Dance of the Santiago Moon" by Garcia Lorca)
(translation by: A. S. Kline)

Garcia Lorca: Serenata

By the river banks

the night is wetting itself
and on Lolita’s breasts
the branches die of love.

The branches die of love.

The naked night sings
over the March bridgeheads.
Lolita washes her body
with brine and tuberoses.

The branches die of love.

The night of aniseed and silver
shines on the rooftops.
Silver of streams and mirrors.
Aniseed of your white thighs.

The branches die of love.

Serenata by Garcia Lorca)
(translation by: A. S. Kline)

Tuesday, February 13


Temptation is adorable. I for one can never resist the tango-confusions when it is so clear to her that I had lost my ways a long time ago.

I told her the truth. I said "I want you just the way you are". She deliciously smiled and continued dancing and holding my embrace tight. We danced the steps that painted the tango colours of love: "temptation", to the melody of longing, desires and spell-binding charm.

Perhaps what we love about tango is the living of those moments that shadows us with love, or hides us from fears of admitting to needing love or that we might be missing something more dear in life.

Does tango imitate love or is it love that does act like a tango? What is in a tango that we wish love could also be like? Is Tango itself a love that never dies? Would tango forever scratch our hearts?

Wishing for a single "look of love", the one that fires up the long awaited whispers for tenderness and desires, the promise of sun burned kisses by lips that satisfy a maddening thirst, a touching embrace that lives only in the frames of a melody, getting closer to living a dream in some moments of duality of our reality, are these the same things that a tango can be like for you too?

Abandoning part of our lives to this realm which we like to possess and live within:- reality , is this what you do too? Maybe you pretend that none of these apply to you.

She held me a little closer this time and whispered "Just one more dance, but this time make sure you dance it with me, and let me watch that 'look of love' in your eyes!", she paused briefly and with a mocking voice added ""at least to the end of this song, can you keep it up that long!" and her giggles faded into her last remark.

She dances like a dream, and I love hearing all that she tells me through these songs. These are my temptations. She makes me fall for these irresistible tango colours of love and charm.


Friday, February 9

(003) A History of Tango Music

(003) [Julio De Caro (1899 - 1980)]
Musician, violinist, leader and composer.
(Windows media file sample 'MALA PINTA' )

Julio De Caro and Carlos Gardel were born both on 11 December which has been named as the International Day of Tango.

He was born in Buenos Aires in a big family with Italian roots. Despite his father's wishes for his sons to study music and graduate from university Julio and his brother Fransisco devoted themselves to Tango only. It is important to note that De Caro’s importance for tango has been very significant and that the best example to to this is expressed by Astor Piazzolla that - in respect to the great tango artist – recorded the virtuous tango Decarisimo.

He was very reluctant to accept the evolution in tango and in fact paid very strict obedience to historical Decarism with regards to the instrumental aspect of tango. There are over 420 recordings of his works which were mostly, except 38 works, done in the 30 years prior to 1940.

De Caro managed to maintain the essence of the tango as he saw it originating in the slums, brave and playful, and blended it with a sentimental and melancholic expressivities that were unique to him and not done before. He brought together the folk root and the pro-European tango influences in the way that formed the foundation of "classic tango".

Amazing is the recognition of how an evolutionary tango composer himself became the classic!


Tuesday, February 6

(002) A History of Tango Music

(002) [Francisco Juan Lomuto (1893-1950)]
Pianist, leader and composer
(Windows media file sample )

He was born into a Neapolitan music loving family. He composed his first tango at the age of 13 however for many years he played as a pianist in various orchestras. His personal orchestra work began just before his 30th birthday when he put together a group of musicians to play on cruisers to entertain the tourists on board travelling from and to Brazil and south Argentina.

After a year on ship, he moved onto land and reformed his new orchestra. By now he had realised his strength in his orchestra was not to be its pianist but to become its orchestra Leader.

It is said about his orchestras to have been "the delight of the audiences at the Club Progreso, Club Mar del Plata, Trocadero, Escuela Naval", and the best choice for the elite in Argentina".

His orchestra recorded nearly 1000 tango songs and other numbers between 1922 and 1950 with some very famous and loved tango singers such as Fernando Díaz, Jorge Omar, Príncipe Azul, and many more.


Monday, February 5

(001) A History of Tango Music

(001) [Juan Maglio]

(Windows media file sample )

History of Tango has been discussed, thrashed out, argued, quarreled and disputed over forever and often enough.

Therefore this and the following postings are simply a personal reference on the Evolution of the Tango Music by recording samples which I like to share here with you.

Tango's evolution was driven forward by two interdependent forces of 'Orchestras' and The Recording Companies'. The early commercially recorded sounds and songs are best celebrated examples that we can refer to here.

These samples give many of us the best opportunity to understand how the tango music changed from simple melodies to reach the rich tapestry that has reached now through its journey of nearly a century.

The creativity of many composers combined with skilled players' abilities to excite and entertain many audiences, through live performances at the dance halls, theatre houses, and cinemas, were financially rewarded but the real fortunes were made possible by "the rights" payments from the Recording companies.

Juan Felix Maglio "Pacho" (1880-1934) is one of the most early and successful tango member of that group who benefitted from those rights. He became one of the leading early members of group who became better known as 'the Old Guard'.

Pacho is best know as a composer and lyricist. He lived through the development of the Bandoneon from 44 buttons, to 52, to 65, and finally completing with the full 75 buttons instrument. It is said that He may in fact be the inventor of the 142 tone layout. It was Maglio who also made the first solo bandoneon recordings in 1913.

His early recoded music is clearly a Tango, but the melodies are purely Neopolitan. His (78RPM) records were very popular, and a knowledge of his music is essential for understanding the history of the Tango.


Friday, February 2


I knew I could not get a "love mortgage" to buy me a happy home. I have so much cash to give but no one gives me a mortgage because my credit history is very bad. Although life is so wonderful and I am having the time of my life, but Oh Jesus! I feel a bit of a fool and I hate feeling this because I know that I am not really that much a fool. Every time I look inside I see me for whom I am, and what I see confirms that I could not do any different even if I were not a fool.

Never mind! The Friday is here again, and I know I don't have to wait in the queue and I know this also that I am going to lose myself in someone else's arms. A few more drinks and we'll be ready for "action" again, if I am to be honest I am never too fond of asking. I am still out there, looking to get the dancer who won't trip me down when the beat changes.

"All right, Darling!", "and how are we tonight? Fancy me, or some?" are the words that I hear with a smile and I know I should say "Go away, it is not going to happen in a million years, just leave me alone" but I can not walk away, I want to dance my melancholy away may be it will help me to feel that I don't want to be some other place than here.

How could I be so naive when I see something so beautiful? Was there something more that I needed to do? Did I let myself down by not being fond of visiting the point where I lose my mind and end up going crazy: alone? In a time like this all I want is the sun to be in the sky and for me to dance, maybe a little like "Alfresco", "in the Park", on a good day when it shines out.

I wonder if it is me or that every one is going "Mental"!

OK we reached the end but I'd be telling lies if I say I enjoyed you being so gentle when you broke it to me.

So you thought it is going to be easy? Don't worry! I am not going to reciprocate and I am not going to tell you that you were small in the game.

It is Friday but I'll let it be, and I am not going to be very clever by telling you that I knew you too well before you started to mess me around, and you never knew how to be my lover, that would be a shame. You took me by surprise and fell for me by looking into my eyes but when you killed it you were too scared to look into those very same eyes. What was I supposed to say back to you after that?

"As one embrace leaves you; another one opens" a friend used to say that and tell me it is her motto, but if it does not make me feel real how can I believe in that? Does it feel so much safer if I give and take it when I don't get the chance to know them?

Am I sad? Well maybe, but it is a brand new day, and hey! "It is another Friday" and in the weekends I always love to be led stray. One thing is sure I am not going to be left alone and start reminiscing. There may be things that remind me of you but the good thing is that we never had a Sunday of dreams; we never shared one; even when we started things. There are not too many memories to shake, we were too young for that. It is unfair to pretend that there was one weekend that I saw the sleep in your eyes when I made you some coffee and shared our croissants in bed.

I wonder sometimes if it is me or that every one is going "Mental"! I know you killed it but I am fine and I'd be having the time my life; and yes it is Friday and I am so glad that I won't have to stand in any queue to dance a song or two.

That is what happens when we play with fire, I knew it well that I'll get burned. Do I like my scars? I suppose I do since it shows that that I have tried getting there, the best thing comes to those who wait but who the hell am I to know?

Oh my feet are itching for some dancing again, I love it so much but how the hell would you know or care? "Wait for me darling!" I hear them say. One more drink and I'll be on that dance floor: ready for action again. I know I want to dance till my feet are hurting and my ankles are swollen.
"If you can not keep up then stop being a cardboard cut out, just leave me alone because you are out of luck, let me find a partner who can and knows how to reciprocate" that is what is on my mind. Wouldn't that be a shame if I have to say all that to you?