To Hell and back

To Hell and back

Tango Festival Words

A couple of weeks ago I went to Hell – a small town just north of Trondheim, Norway, by invitation from Trondheim Tangoklubb, who were hosting the first edition of Tango in Hell.

The program was ambitious. A regular and an alternative milonga simultaneous Friday night, DJ seminar Saturday midday, a long afternoon regular milonga and again a regular and an alternative milonga simultaneous Saturday night. Sunday started out with a second DJ seminar and then a Cooldown regular milonga in the afternoon.

When I was asked to DJ at the event, I had the opportunity to choose whether I would like to Dj a regular or an alternative milonga. I chose the alternative on Saturday night, thinking that an alternative milonga would be what I normally do; mix golden age tango with a bit of Nuevo and Non-Tango.

At a regular four hour milonga, I would normally play around 25-27 tandas and 4 – 6 of them would be Nuevo or non-tango. So I thought – “they like an alternative milonga, I’ll give them 8 – 10 Nuevo or Non-Tango tandas”.

I then made a small playlist just as a teaser. Tree Golden age Tango tandas and two Non-Tango tandas uploaded it to Spotify and sent the link to the festival organizer.

Five minutes later he responded:

– Øøøhh Jacob is that the music you are planning to play at the festival??

Yes, I replied – a good mix of Golden age Tango, Nuevo, and Non-Tango.

Apparently, that was not what he had in mind …

So we had a long chat about how we could bring our different expectations together in an alternative milonga. I ended up agreeing to not play anything from the golden age and back. (or older?)

It wasn’t without fear I agreed to it – a milonga playing only modern, Nuevo or Non-Tango!

How would that work?

The next five weeks I worked my butt off to find, edit and create enough modern, Nuevo and Non-Tango tunes to fill a milonga with tango danceable music.

I ended up with a lot of new tandas and a lot of new tunes in my music library. From Dire Straits, Gary Moore and R.E.M over Ane Brun, Dido, Bebe, and Soha to Narcotango, Carlos Libedinsky to Bossa Tango Lounge Club

I had decided to use tandas and Cortinas for the Milonga and had made around twenty new funky Motown-like Cortinas to choose from. But after the first three tandas, I skipped the tanda/cortina thing and mixed the rest of the Milonga without it.

It felt like the tunes were working against me and I found it much easier to keep the flow of the floor when I relied only on the beat, key, and tempo of the tunes.

The dancers seemed to be very happy – there were dancers on the floor all night.

And I had a blast Dj’ing!

It will not be the last time that I Dj a full Milonga of modern, Nuevo or Non-Tango.

The core of a DJ’s magic

The core of a DJ’s magic

Inspiration Quotes Words

Read this article i The New York Times the other night and I think it’s spot on:

“A real DJ. is part shaman, part tech wizard, part crowd psychologist, all artist.
Many people claim the title, but far fewer embody it.”

“Good DJ’s are extraordinary artists, and great DJ’s are transcendent magicians.
The art requires extensive musical knowledge. It demands technical know-how.
It tunes one into a psychologist and reader of moods in order to gauge the whims of a dance floor.
And it insists that you spend days, weeks and years learning how to mix flawlessly.

That is the core of a DJ’s magic. The ability to blend, to weave two songs together and seamlessly
connect them in a way that continues the narrative you’re spinning on this night.”

By Selwyn Seyfu Hinds Dec. 30, 2017

Just “one” moment

Just “one” moment

Inspiration Words

Dj’ing is always a challenge
Playing the right tune
In just the right time
Creating an atmosphere
Take the dancers on a journey
To a galaxy beyond imagination

I create moods
Fill the dancefloor with happy dancing people
That – in my mind
All comes down to – love!

Making an ambience of love and romance
Get the dancers to forget
Their everyday worries
Their heartaches
Their pain

And just for a moment …
Just “one” moment
See the one in their arms
And fall a little bit in love


Photo rights:
Unknown dancers, Photo – Alexander Prischepov
Unknown dancers, Photo – micmac
Mariano “Chicho” Frumboli & Juana Sepulveda, Photo – shawnK

Tango zoZozial

Tango zoZozial

Events Inspiration Words

Many people take beginners workshops in Tango, some come to our events and Milonga’s in the Tango community but only a few keeps coming back.  – Why is that?

I have for some time thought a lot, about how the Tango community of southern Funen (which i am a part of) could be better at integrating new dancers.

What we as establish tango dancers, dj’s and event makers can do to help them get the best experience when they first enter our community and how we get them to keep coming back.

I remember when I first started dancing Tango; just dancing during the workshop was intimidating. My partner and I actually attended the same workshop 4 times before moving on.

– Why 4 times? Someone might ask.

– Because it was safe.

Nobody had the time to look at us, they were too busy fighting their own battles or feet!

And the first Milonga “oojh boy” I do not dare think about it. It was terrifying.

I had to lead my partner, thinking what steps to use. Keep the pace and the direction on the dance floor, trying not bumping into other couples, fighting to hit the beat of the music on every step. And there was no space – the floor was packed!

I survived and we are still dancing the Tango but now and again when I enter a Milonga the fear creeps up my back and I think of all the excuses not to dance. A crowded floor at a Milonga can still be terrifying. Actually, I believe itis quite common that especially the men get the shakes. But eventually we get over it.

I don’t have all the answers to how we get newcomers keep coming back but I have some ideas and one of them is The Milonga “Tango zoZozial”.

The name Tango zoZozial are inspired by Café zoZozial coffee in Svendborg that also is the actual location for the Milonga but it’s also a statement about the intension behind the Milonga.

Tango zoZozial is meant to be a Milonga where Tango music, Tango dancing and socializing is what it’s all about.

I like to call it social Tango; a place where the music and the dancing is what brings us together but also a place where everything is a bit looser than an ordinary Milonga. A social Tango where everybody talks, dance, socializes and let go of everyday trouble. There is nothing wrong with a regular Milonga where it’s all about dancing, Tango zoZozial is just a little more easy going and hopefully less intimidating to newcomers in Tango community.

Tango is by definition a social dance and the fact that you change dance partners during the Milonga, makes it very social but we can do it better. We can make an effort to dance with dancers we do not know and especially the newcomers with less experience. It is my sincere hope that many of the new dancers will attend Tango zoZozial and that the experienced dancers will give them their time of their life by taking them to the floor.

And the music … yes, the music. There is so much fantastic tango music and so little time.

In my opinion, the music played at a Milonga must be selected based on the dancers’ level of experience with Tango.

And It is essential that I as a dj play music that is accessible to new dancers, with a simple, good and clear beat and I keep doing it for at least the first half of the Milonga.

It is my sincere hope that “Tango zoZozial” can show that if we really try it will happen.

See the event on Facebook “click here”


2015 – Tango dj AppleJack

Tango dj AppleJack on the web

Inspiration Words

Hey this is pretty amazing – My own website.

During the years I have built a lot of websites, for my wife Sannie business, her books, friends sites etc.
but I never come around to my own. Perhaps, because the purpose never was quite clear.
– Why built a site, if there is no reason?

Now there is a reason and a brand new site.
– But I didn’t build it!
– Sannie did.

She has started a new business called “Lille Fisk” where she is going to use wordPress and
trying it out she build my website.

I think the result is awesome.

In the process we have been working close together, planning the graphic look, the different roles of the posts and the feeling of the site.

And it has been one long Tango dance and I was not always the leader.
Despite that we have worked together on a lot of projects in the last 15 years, this one has been difficult. Several times I have had the feeling, like the first six months I was learning to dance Tango
– It is not going to work out
– Why doesn’t she move like I intended?
– This is too difficult
– Why doesn’t my feet move like I think?
– I give up!

It is like Tango – Lead by showing your intension, and go whit the flow.

But now it’s here – The Tango dj AppleJack website – and I love it and you Sannie, thank you.

And the reason…. I think the title says it all.

I am hit, dazzled, spellbound – I’m hooked on Tango music and being a dj at Tango events.
It is really rewarding playing at praktica’s, Milonga’s and Galla’s – Tango events in all.
Filling a room with music and experience how the dancers take it in, and express it in there dance, how the feeling of the room get intense, how the dancers get happy or moved.

It’s about intuitive feeling the mood of the dancers and the atmosphere of the room and then trying to lay out a path for the dancers to follow.

And djing is just like dancing tango – Lead by showing your intension, and go whit the flow.