I have been DJing (and greatly enjoying it) since 2004. My activities began in the local Milongas of my home region. From 2006 on, I have been invited to dj during my travels as a tango teacher and at international Festivals, Encuentros and Festivalitos. I also give DJ-seminars in which I explain the role of a traditional tango-DJ, how to build up tandas and whole sets as well as how to create a harmonious flow of music for social dancers.
I arrange the music in tandas with cortinas and in a fixed sequence of tangos, milongas and valses. Usually this is TTMTTV, with 4 tangos and 3 milongas/valses per tanda. I will use classic tango music, mostly from the 30s and 40s of the last century with excursions into the late 20s or 50s.
Very, very rarely I might play a tanda by a contemporary tango band or an old non-argentinian tango orchestra. But this has to fit to the occasion. An example: I once played a „last tanda“ with Carlo-Buti-tangos at a local Milonga in Italy, but I would not use that tanda at an international Encuentro or in Norway.
I will never play electro tango, tango canciónes, non-tango, Piazzolla or stage dance orchestras like the Forever Tango Orchestra. I also don’t play salsa or chacarera.
I am constantly striving for the perfect harmony of rhythmical and lyrical tandas, spiced with an appropriate amount of drama. These three main styles have to blend amicably into each other without creating harsh contrasts. There must nevertheless be diversity to assure that the different moods and personalities of the dancers at an event will be reflected.
So many wonderful tracks have been recorded in the years 1927 – 1960, that a milonga is much too short to present even a fraction of them. Since every orchestra has it’s distinctive style, it will never get boring or monotonous. There are certain orchestras, that I love dearly and will always play like Di Sarli, Biagi, Canaro, D’Arienzo, Fresedo and Rodriguez. But also the orchestras, that are not amongst my top-favourites will of course receive adequate attention to guarantee that everyone has fun. The happy faces of the dancers attest to the success of my method.
The better we know and love a tango, the better we will dance to it. I will therefore always give enough space to the evergreens of the tango community. In the same time, the choice of a dj cannot become too predictable and once in a while, a new tango should be introduced to the audience. In any case, a dj should not be stuck in clichés, which is why I would not play Poema and Invierno in the same tanda.
I love choosing cortinas that fit to the occasion and will usually use 3-8 different songs during a set. They will reflect my taste and personality, but I will never antagonise the audience. Therefore these „fillers“ will not be aggressive, loud, depressive or just plain annoying. In general, I like to choose music with a cheerful, peaceful or maybe slightly melancholic mood of different genres: classical, pop, film music, theme songs of tv-shows or jazz- and blues standards.
The length of a cortina depends mainly on the size of the room and the number of participants. These factors influence the time that it takes to clear the floor and have everyone settle at their places again. Usually this will be between 35-60 seconds, at big Encuentros or Festivals up to 2 minutes.
Danceability is my primary concern
It is of course possible to dance to anything, but not every music is equally „well danceable“. Features like speed, audibility of a constant beat, complexity of layers, predictability of the melody and usage of irregular patterns play a role in choosing the songs and depend on the general dance level of the audience. Therefore the music for a beginners-practica has to be different than the choice for a high-level encuentro.
To give an example: I might not play a tanda of Pugliese at a beginner’s Milonga, but surely at an Encuentro with an advanced level of dancing. And even on such an occasion, I will not choose Malandraca or Negracha, because I believe them to be too complex and expressive for the social dance-floor. Other recordings by Pugliese, e.g. from the 40s or tangos like Farol or La Tupungatina are much better suited for a Milonga.
Those who want to know more about my method might want to read this article which I wrote a couple of years ago for the German tango magazine Tangodanza or an interview by the italian DJ Supersabino.
For further information and prices, please contact me.
This is where I have djed in the past*:
Abrazo Dulce, Antwerp, Belgium
Abrázame Encuentro Milonguero 2016, Barcelona, Spain
Abrazos Encuentro Milonguero (2011, 2012, 2013, 2017), Dartington, UK
Advents-Milonga in der Planke, Schwetzingen, Germany
Alma Tanguera, Caen, France
Autumn Tango (Thames Valley Tango), Eton, UK
Bailando Reisen (Tangocruises), Augsburg, Germany
Bal des cocquelicots (El Alma del Tango, Aubenas), Aizac, France
Boise Tango Society (2010, 2018), Boise, USA
Braise Tango, Rennes, France
Camtango, Cambridge, UK
Casa Suiza Milonga, Darmstadt, Germany
Contatto Club, Spinea (Venezia), Italy
Cotton Club* (Bailemos Tango, 2005-2008), Kaiserslautern, Germany
Corazon de Tango – Bal de Noel 2012, Crest, France
El Duende, München, Germany
Embrace Norway 2014, Festivalito Milonguero 2014, Lillehammer, Norway
Ensueños 2014, Encuentro Milonguero, Porto, Portugal
Festival Tango par la côte (2012, 2018) SHA, Trébeurden, France
Festivalito du nouvel an (2013, 2014), Access Tango, Embrun, France
Festivalito Rural (2013, 2015, 2017, 2018), Celje/Verzej, Slovenia
Glasgow Tango Studio, Glasgow, Scotland
Green Tango Tällberg, Tällberg, Sweden
La Guardilla, Gütersloh, Germany
La Pasionaria 2016, Encuentro Milonguero, Nice, France
Las Morochas im TANZtRAUM, Maxdorf, Germany
La Tangueria (2017 + 2018), Newport News (Virginia), USA
La Yumba, Hamburg, Germany
Les Cigales Encuentro Milonguera 2010, Toulon, France
Les Fondus de Tango, Aix-les-Bains, France
Midnight Light Tango Festival, Umea, Sweden
Milonga al Castello, Castello San Sebastiano da Po, Italy
Milonga au Mas de Mestre, Villevieille, France
Milonga in Kreuzlingen, Switzerland
Milonga Linda (Cariño Tango), Antibes, France
Milonga Transatlantica I (Host Francesca Bertelli), New York, USA
Milonga Transatlantica II (Host Barbara Kountouzi), Philadelphia, USA
Milonguero Festival 2008, Champaign-Urbana, USA
Metz-Ville-Tango, Metz, France
Montecatini Terme Tango Festivalito, Montecatini Terme, Italy
Palacio de Cristal, Mainz, Germany
PATangoS, Pittsburgh, USA
Piano Mora, Passau, Germany
RDV Milonguero 2015, Bologna, Italy
Roma Milonguera 2014, Roma, Italy
Scheunentango, Losheim, Germany
Schneeballfestival 2006, Stuttgart, Germany
SuperTangk + TangoTangk (Tango UK), Bramshaw, UK
Tango Abrazo, Bergen, Norway
Tango Corazon, Linz, Austria
Tango de los Angeles* (Festivalitos & Milongas 2004-2010), St. Wendel, Germany
Tango del Mar 2011 ( class for DJs) and 2013, Constanta, Romania
Tango de Salon, Graz, Austria
Tango de Salon / Turbo Milonga, Basel, Switzerland
Tangofuego, Angers, France
Tango Fuego, Strassbourg, France
Tangokombinat* (Milongas & int. Festivalitos, 2005 – present day), Saarbruecken, Germany
Tango Libre, Konstanz, Germany
Tango Loco, Pforzheim, Germany
Tango Nada Mas, Regensburg, Germany
Tango Passion, Pelleautier, France
Tango Otoño Festival 2014, Stockholm, Sweden
Tango Querido, Kassel, Germany
Tango Sur (New Year Festivalito), München, Germany
Tango Tage 2011, Leipzig, Germany
Tangocamp 2007 (Amigos del Tango), Petäys, Finland
Tangosalon El Yuyo, Amsterdam, Netherlands
Tangotaverne, Landau, Germany
Tango Lounge (Tine Herreman), New York City, USA
Tango Sognato @ CSA Next Emerson (2015, 2016, 2017), Firenze, Italy
Tango West, Bristol, UK
Tangueando Ibos, Tarbes/Ibos, France
Tanzschule Backhausen, Regensburg, Germany
Te quiero Lisboa 2013 (Encuentro Milonguero), Lisboa, Portugal
Tucson Tango Festival 2017, Tucson – Arizona, USA
Viento Norte, Festivalito Milonguero, Eckernförde, Germany
Weller House Tango, Fort Bragg, USA
* The asterisks mark places/clubs where (or for which) I have worked as a resident dj or still do.