Upcoming MDC: 17 July 2010

We start to have Milonga del Corazón because our hearts are truly in tango. We'd like to offer a space where people in Hong Kong can experience the milongas in Buenos Aires - dancing in a cosy place with traditional tango music. We may not be able to offer grand and historical dance hall that like Salon Canning and Niño Bien, but we pay the greatest respect to the classical music like most milongas in Buenos Aires do. We carefully arrange and select the most danceable music in our milonga, as we believe that one of the keys to understand tango is to dance with the most sophisticated music in the tango history. We wish you enjoy dancing in our milonga, and experience the unique sensations that derived from embracing with the tango music from the golden era. 我們開始辨 Milonga del Corazón 是因為我們真的心愛探戈。我們希望在香港提供一個可以體驗布宜諾斯艾利斯milonga的地方﹣在有傳統探戈音樂的舒適氣氛下跳舞。我們或許不能提供像Salon Canning 或 Niño Bien那種有氣派有悠久歷史的舞池,但我們像布宜諾斯艾利斯大部份Milonga一樣十分尊重傳統的探戈音樂。我們精心安排和挑選最適合跳舞的音樂,因為我們深信要了解探戈其中之一的關鍵便是跟探戈歷史中最有深度的音樂跳舞。我們希望你喜歡在我們的Milonga跳舞,並體會到擁抱經典探戈音樂所帶來的奇妙感覺。 Emily and Coleman

Saturday, December 30, 2006

Traditional tango music vs alternative music -- by Coleman

This is my first time writing on a blog about my feeling towards tango, the dance and the music, something that I have been practicing almost weekly since the first day I picked this up from Helena May of Tangotang. Time really flies for the last 3 1/2 years.

This is also a good place for me to polish up my rusty english writing.

It is an exciting idea to start our own regular milonga that pays the greatest respect to traditional tango culture such as "tanda", "cortina", "golden age music". It is my very own opinion and feeling that dancing tango is not merely about going to classes and learn the steps, but also, more importantly, to learn about the music, its structure and its colourful history. That's why we decided to call our milonga "Milonga del Corazon" meaning, "the milonga of the heart". My first tango instructor from Argentina once told me that "tango is danced by the heart not by the feet", and I am able to realise this more and more day by day.

I have my own theory about and attitude towards tango, both the dance and the music. To put it in one sentence "golden age music from 30s to 50s are the best of the batch". I like dancing to nuevo/electronic/alternative/funky tango music (whatever name you want to give them), but only once in a while. They are fun and sometimes adrenaline pumping, but to me they don't feel like tango at all, and they don't make me feel like I am dancing tango neither. This is a very personal feeling and may not be true to so many other people who seem to enjoy these kind of music more than I do. Tango is more than just dancing to the 2x4 beats, a structure which some alternative music also share, but more about dancing to the melodic arrangement of the whole piece which I find unique to traditional tango music. I am not a scholar in music theory, so I am only speaking from the perspective of a music lover. I generally can't feel the tango steps fit well in the nuevo/electronic/alternative music. May be one can still get the beats and rhythm right, but surely I can't feel my heart is being touched by the music at all.

Three and a half years ago, on a Thursday evening, a friend of mine brought me to Helena May to find out what Argentina Tango was about. Before this, I was not a dancer of any kind, and I only visited any a disco once in a few years, for drinks and not for dancing. And who would know that I had a crush on tango from that night onwards. What captured me first was not the dancers alone, but an overall ambience that was created together by the music, the decoration of the venue and the dancers dancing.

The first piece of music which struck me so much that kept me coming back week after week, and eventually had me making the decision to learn tango was a very old "Bahia Blanca" by Carlos di Sarli, still one of my favourite today. To a classical music fan like me, golden age tango music has a unique attraction--they are almost like classical music that one can not only listen to but also dance to.

A few years have passed since then and the tango community has really been growing. What I notice also is that more people are fascinated by dancing to alternative music. I would like to use the word "alternative" because many of them are in fact not tango at all, they dont have the traditional 2x4 rhythmic structure, some of them are just Rock 'n Roll, Samba, Jazz or even Hip-Hop. I would only reserve the term "nuevo tango" for works created by Astor Piazzolla who truly revolutionizes the tango music. I admit my feet want to move to anything that sound good to my ears, but I don't think my dancing would have improved if I have been dancing to alternative all the time. Many famous nuevo maetros who are loved by the world today like Chicho, Sebastian Arce, Pablo y Dana etc have had their profound training in traditional tango music like those of Di Sarli, D'Arienzo, Biaggi, Osvaldo Pugliese and not the like of Gotan Project, Otros Aires etc. This is like a case of classical music vs jazz too. Many famous Jazz pianist have also had their traning in classical before they are good enough to find their place and soul in the jazz arena.

This is also the reason we start our Milonga Del Corazon. We hope we can provide a place where traditional tango music are given more respect that they deserve, as well as a place where the local community can mature their dancing into the next level by using more "heart" than just their "feet".


1 comment:

Milonga del Corazón said...

For me, the new tango music (I refer this roughly to the music created from the 70s or 80s onwards) is part of the evolution of tango music. Take electro tango as an example, since electro music is the major trend in the recent decade, it is so natural that recent tango music also developes towards in an electro way. This is the same case for piazzola's music, piazzolla might well have remained unknown if jazz movement had never existed in the U.S.

Then why I still insist to dj with classical tango, when I'm a fan of otros aires and Narcotango?

I always take tango as a form of art, like painting, calligraphy, sculpture..etc. I always remember when I started to learn piano, I was asked to practise with the music of Bach, Mozart, etc, but not jazz pianists' pieces like those of Chick Corea. When I started to learn painting, I did a lot basic pencil drawing, learning to show shawdow and light with a pencial; instead of imitating an abstract expressionist with different sorts of new painting materials the very beginning.

I don't know exactly why all these art teachers teach in a similar way. But what I guess is - we can benefit a lot from the golden history of all art forms. I feel the same when I learn tango. The traditional tango music is so sophisticated that we can never finish exploring it. Since it tends to have a regular beat, I don't feel difficult to dance with it. This is not only perfect for practice, but also for social dance in a milonga. Since milonga is a social space full of dancers of differernt dance levels, the music being playing in a milonga cannot be too strange and difficult to dance with. Tango music in the golden age is just an ideal option.