I am a tango DJ who leaves the ego at the door. My aim is to play music for the dancers, to inspire an emergency cabeceo, to facilitate a nice ronda, to keep the smiles going in the end of a tanda.
I think of a tanda as a little story through the innards of an orchestra, with a beginning, a middle and an end. It has to make sense. Music cannot be placed haphazardly.
My cortinas are designed specifically for the event. I try to match cortinas with the dancers and hopefully they will be more than a mere excerpt that is going to play in your head for the rest of the night. Cortinas are not there JUST to separate two tandas that can be quite different. They also allow me to bring life memories to those who have just finished a tanda.
As a DJ I try to establish a connection between myself, the dancers, and the music. Playing the music and understanding the dancers’ energy is as demanding and rewarding as dancing itself.
I have had the luck of meeting good DJs who shared their secrets with me. Amongst them, my first tango teacher, Ricardo Oria, who was the person who also got me my first independent gig. He taught me to leave my ego at the door when I DJ. The other great inspiration is Damian Boggio. I not only attended his workshops as I talked extensively about tango, djing and life, both in his wee flat in Boedo, in cafés in Buenos Aires or in his quaint house on the outskirts of Florence. Damian has been DJing for over 20 years. His knowledge of orchestras is immense and his idea of cortinas as an active part of the milonga have inspired me in a great way.
I learnt a lot about tango by reading and talking with people who know more than I do. Having had the opportunity to hear the history of tango with Jorge Dispari gave me a frame of the history of the golden age. Another figure that helped understand the importance of tango music was Rodolfo Dinzel. His memories of tango in the junta days were the catalyst for a deeper understanding of the Portenos and tango.
I read a lot in books and websites. Tango and Chaos is a classic that was still being written when I first read it. Christine Dennison’s book on tango was also very insightful. Lately, the amazing book by Michael Lavocah has only extended what I learnt from talking to him and reading is insightful Cuesta Arriba Tango Club’s website.
During my time as a DJ there were various people who asked me to teach something about DJing. I take great pride to say that these days, some of those people have turned out to be busy DJs, touring around lots of milongas.
In 2008 I organized a DJing course, which was taught together with the other two DJs for the festival, DJ Rui “El Galerudo” Resende and Ricardo Oria. We had very good feedback and we even made a survey which I will publish in this blog.