Two Pugliese tandas back to back? While that might be bad form in a milonga, it is entirely appropriate for my blog on his birthday.
It took me a long time to appreciate these vocals with Roberto Chanel—for several years I simply couldn’t stand them. I vastly preferred Troilo’s version of the classic “Farol.” But with the encouragement of some friends, I revisited Chanel and suddenly something grabbed me.
I particularly enjoy “Fuimos,” both because of the lyrics and because, unusually, Chanel starts singing only about 30 seconds in.
La yumba (1952)
Nochero soy (1956)
La mariposa (1966)
Today is Osvaldo Pugliese‘s birthday, so in his honor here is a tanda containing some of his best known, highly dramatic tangos. His sound is very challenging for social dancing, pushing the dancers’ improvisation to the limit with rapid dynamic changes. His orchestra moves from huge, thundering beats to soft, suave fills to soaring melodies, all with incredible speed and aplomb. Challenging, yes, but immensely satisfying when you are connected to your partner and the music. Personally, I only play them very late during long milongas, when I feel that the crowd’s mood can handle them.
Although it is the latest piece, ending the tanda with “La mariposa” softens the overall impact—subjectively, I find this tango “sweeter” than the others in the tanda. If I wanted to really sock everyone in the gut while tugging at their heartstrings, I might end with one of these two:
Gallo ciego (1959)
A Evaristo Carriego (1969)
Raza criolla (1945)
Flor de tango (1945)
Ah, Pugliese, Pugliese, Pugliese. Famous as the most dramatic (and difficult to dance) of tango orchestras, Osvaldo Pugliese’s recordings from the 1950s and later are classic favorites of stage dancers. But for play in a milonga, especially before 1:00am, I prefer these early instrumentals. They still have the the signature style for which Pugliese is known—dynamics that quickly shift in contrasting passages from loud to soft, fast to slow, beat to melody—but they are not as long or dramatic as the 1950s pieces.
“Negracha,” especially, is very advanced for its era, highly musically sophisticated and difficult, though rewarding, to dance.