I have been regularly DJing in Cambridge tango for quite a while. I can’t remember quite when it started but the oldest playlists I have on my laptop are dated 2009 – and before that I was using CDs – like most DJ’s were 7 or 8 years ago. (There was some slight resistance from purists about laptops but I notice now that the argument is over. With lossless format or mp3’s at say 320kbps replaying music from 78rpm records from the 1930’s and 1940’s, I think you’d have to be able to hear a field mouse eating a seed 10 meters away to be able to put up a credible complaint. But then you’d be an owl so wouldn’t be taken seriously anyway. The truth is, the difference is outside of your aural range).
During the period my CD collection has grown to include all the “must have” CDs of the Golden Age orchestras and I continue to seek out music that would be good to dance to. I don’t think I have any favourite orchestras, although when Rob asked me a while ago if the tango fairy godmother granted me one wish, which orchestra would I go and see playing live (assuming that the TFGM had the power to transport me back in time), I said Carlos Di Sarli. I like the way you always know it’s Di Sarli – the smooth and flowing melodic phrases cut with strong rhythm driven by violins – wow it’s great to dance to. But on another day I might wish for a different orchestra.
Anyway the point of this blog, at last, is this: Annette and I were wondering how we could flush out potential DJ’s resident in Cambridge who’d like to learn how to do it. When I say learn how to do it, I/we don’t presume that we know it all or that you need to do it like we do, but you do have to play music that will be popular with the dancers. The DJ makes or breaks the milonga and although he or she can be forgiven for the occasional mis-placed tanda (I hope!) or dodgy milonga (yes I know, what was I thinking: that ghastly middle milonga last night was Biagi’s Soy del 90 – doesn’t sound like he is 90 to me, more like a cross between a spring lamb and Tigger. But I won’t do it again – I wasn’t dancing I was watching the mayhem), a lot of the dancers enjoyment of the evening hinges on the music, and the DJ ( so no pressure). The point again: we would be happy to give guidance and feedback, and explain what can go right and what can go wrong. We were thinking it would be nice to have some guest slots within the milonga, perhaps say for an hour. Initially I would check your intended playlist just to make sure it didn’t contain Gotan’s Santa Maria or similar. That would be worse than Soy del 90. So you see we are looking for DJ’s who love tango music of the Golden Age, not for DJ’s who want to play “alternative” music.
If you are interested in having a go, you’ll need to have a reasonable collection of golden age tango music and be prepared to sit with your music (no dancing while DJing) and be prepared to alter your selections if the floor is emptying, and it will empty if you get it wrong. Tango dancers are very particular especially the more experienced ones and there are plenty of those in Cambridge. If that doesn’t put you off, then please get in touch.