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.