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Tanda 62: Francisco Canaro with Roberto Maida

This week's tanda is calm, rhythmic tanda by Francisco Canaro with Roberto Maida singing. It starts with the very popular "Invierno." It is such a sweet and smooth song. Click here for a great translation of the lyrics from the Poesía de Gotán blog.

You might notice that there are 5 songs here. No, this is not a 5 song tanda... but rather, I could not decide which song to end the tanda with. I think "Viejo Tiempo" is probably the best fit, but I also love "Paciencia." So, I put both on here so that you could listen and decide. "Viejo Tiempo / Old Time" makes sense because all of these songs have more in common with the "Guardia Viejo / Old Guard" period (1910 to 1925) than the Guardia Nueva or Golden Age period. To give a super brief and over-simplified explanation, the songs of the Guardia Viejo period would have focused more on the underlying rhythm while the music of the Guaria Nueva would have focused more on melody and harmony. Canaro is working with both here.

Listen to this Tanda

Here is one of my favorite all-time favorite performances by Pablo Rodriguez and Noelia Hurtado. It is such a sweet and tender performance. To me, nothing says tango quite like this performance. It also demonstrates the statement that "Tango is a sad thought that can be danced." You might notice how emotional they are after the performance. I do not know the details, but it is my understanding that this was their last performance together after many years of teaching and dancing with one another.

The Structure of Argentine Tango
Part 3: Variations

In Part I of this article, we looked at the basic structure of tango which consists of 5 distinct parts: A (verse) -- B (chorus) -- A (verse) -- B (chorus) -- A (versue. It was mentioned that not all tangos, fit neatly into this structure, but that this simple structure is usually present.

Let's start with an older tango "Caminito" performed by Francisco Canaro from 1926. This song has several variations to the basic structure, but as you will see, that basic structure is still there. This song structure goes:

intro -- verse -- pre-chorus -- chorus -- verse -- pre-chorus -- chorus -- verse

Caminito (The Whole Song)

Caminito (Introduction)

Caminito (Verse 1)

Caminito (Pre-Chorus and Chorus 1)

Caminito (Verse 2)

Caminito (Pre-Chorus and Chorus 2)

Caminito (Verse 3)

"Caminito" has a cute little 8 second introduction, before the first verse begins. This is very common and happens often in tangos. Dancer's Note: This introduction actually does have a strong beat, but usually they will not, so we rarely dance to an introduction. In fact, we usually don't start dancing until the first beat of the second phrase of a typical tango song, so if the song has an introduction, we might begin dancing on the first beat of the first verse.

After before each chorus in "Caminito," there is a pre-chorus that lasts for about 8 seconds which consists of a bandoneón solo and then a piano solo. Sometimes you can also have pre-versus which work the same way, but before the each verse. Dancer's note: This is a good time to execute a corté (break) or parada (stop) and for women to embellish. It might also be a good time for a calesita. Basically, something which keeps us from progressing.

Humming and Whistling
One other interesting note about this song, is that during the first chorus you can hear the band members humming or moaning the chorus and during the second chorus someone is whistling the chorus. This song was recorded in 1926 and singers were not added to dance orchestras until 1927, when Canaro recorded "Así es el Mundo," featuring Roberto Díaz, as a chorus singer. See my article on "The Role of the Orchestra Singer" for more information on this subject.

"Poema" is a very popular tango which was recorded in 1935 by Francisco Canaro with Roberto Maida singing. It has a very distinct variation on the basic structure, while still keeping the verse -- chorus -- verse -- chorus -- verse structure. Listen to the song and then see if you can hear what it is.

Poema (The Whole Song)

Poema (Verse 1)

Poema (Chorus 1)

Poema (Verse 2)

Poema (Chorus 2)

Poema (Verse 3)

The first verse is 32 single-time beats, as we would expect, but then the chorus is only 16. Then the second verse is a whole 64, instead of the usual 32. Then the chorus is only 16 again and the final verse is 64.

Also, listen to verse 1 and then verse 2, there is no better example of a singer performing as an instrument of the orchestra. In the 2nd verse, notice that Maida imitates the violin of the 1st verse. The singer and the violin accent almost the same notes.

Dancer's note: "Poema" is also a great example of the choruses being more rhythmic than the verses. The tempo is the same, but notice how the energy goes up. There is actually a strong beat during the verses, but the melodic rhythm is equal if not dominant. During the verses, you have an option to dance to the beat or to the melody or switch between phrases. There is less option during the chorus, there is little melody and the beat is very dominant. Below is a performance of "Poema" by Murat and Michelle Erdemsel. It includes a painting of his which visually represents the different sections of "Poema." You will see the melodic sections represented as blue circles and the more ryhtmic sections represented by a rectangle with sharper lines and deeper colors.

Below are two great performances to "Poema" by Pablo Rodriguez and Noelia Hurtado and Javier Rodriguez and Geraldine Rojas. See you can see how they shift in energy between the choruses and verses. Also, notice that they both begin with a step on the fist beat of the 2nd phrase, this is not at all necessary, but is very common.


Songs with Multiple Titles

Great version of this tango by Osvaldo Pugliese with Roberto Chanel. The title is "The men are forming the circle (la ronda)." La ronda refers to the dance floor or line of dance.

The original title was "Muchachos se armó la milonga," which uses lunfardo (street slang of Buenos Aires), but the title was changed along with many other tangos in 1943, because of "le ley seca (the dry law)" a policy by the ruling military and the Catholic church to "purify" the language of Argentina. They also wanted to protect the youth from the corrupting influence of tango.

Other examples of famous tangos with name changes are:

Old Title Revised Title
Muchachos se armó la milonga Muchachos Comienza La Ronda
Shusheta El Aristocrata
Chique El Elegante
La Maleva La Mala
Milonguero Viejo Balarín Antiguo
Concha Sucia Cara Sucia
La concha de la lora La cara de la luna
El Once A Divertirse
Raza Criolla El Taita
Mí Pebeta Mé Nena
Con Los Amigos A Mí Madre
Rique Olvídame
Rosa Morena Abuelita Dominga
Marquita Marcheta
Condena S.O.S.
Metido Enamorado
Comparsa Criolla* Comme il faut
El Morocho y El Oriental**

* This tango was composed by Rafael Iriarte and Eduardo Arolas. They both registered the song separately under different names, Iriarte "Comparsa Criolla" and Arolas "Comme il Faut."

** It is hard to tell if "Gardel-Razzano" is a true second title or just a subtitle or there for clarification. Carlos Gardel’s nickname was “El Morocho del Albasto (The dark haired boy of the Albasto district)” and José Razzano’s nickname was “El Oriental (person from the Eastern bank of the Rio de la Plata or Uruguayan)” The nicknames could have been considered inapproriate slang and so the song could have been renamed in the 1940s.

"Shusheta" which was changed to "El Aristocrata" and "Chique" was changed to "El Elegante." The best translation that I found for chique is that in lunfardo it meant to be fake. Susheta was similar in that it meant to be a backstabber or someone who would rat you out. "La Maleva (The Bad Girl)", meant bad as in evil or criminal, but was simplified to "La Mala", which was just bad. "Milonguero Viejo" was changed to "Balarín Antiguo."

I think most went back to their original names after 1947 or 1948.

Words in the lyrics were also changed, "vieja" meant "old lady" but was often changed to madre or madrecita, which were less disrespectful. Pibeta became muchacha.

I have also read that there was some censorship and name changes after the coup of General Uriburu in 1930.

Some song titles and lyrics were changed because the originals were so vulgar. "Concha Sucia" was a traditional song believed to have been composed by 'El Negro' Casimiro Alcorta, a black violin player from the earliest days of tango. The title literally translates to "Dirty Shell," but concha (shell) was a common, obscene term for vagina. Canaro registered this tango, under his own name, and changed the song title to "Cara Sucia" in 1916.  Canaro is believed to have done this with several of the old tangos. The name change was probably to conform to the changing audience of tango, which was including more women and the middle class.

"La cara de la luna" was originally "La concha de la lora." Lora was lunfardo for parrot, which meant a prostitute from Europe.

Listen to some of the songs mentioned above:




Traditional Tanda of the Week 38 - Francisco Canaro (Poema)

This week's traditional tanda is a popular set by Francisco Canaro with Roberto Maida singing. This tanda features the super popular song Poema. These songs fall at the end of the Guardia Nueva Period (1925 to 1935), when tango was transitioning from the sound of the Guardia Vieja sound to the more modern sound of the Golden Age. These songs still have that old sound, with some touches of the new. Poema has the beat or rhythm of the guardia vieja period which has sort of a dropping feeling (at least to me), but then it also has the elegant strings and smooth singing. Also, notice the strings in the first part and then how the singer almost imitates the strings in the second part.

Listen to this Tanda

Here are 3 different versions of Poema. It was originally written on a bus trip by several musicians including Eduardo Bianco and recorded in 1933.

Greek Version:

French Version:




Tanda of the Week 9 (Francisco Canaro Milongas) 2012-05-07

This weeks tanda is a collection of milongas by Francisco Canaro. These three milongas are very spirited. Somtimes you might start with a slower tempo milonga and then build, but in this set I start out right away with a fast milonga. So, if people don't like fast milongas, they will know not to dance this tanda.

Listen to this Tanda

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Vals Tandas A - C

Here is my collection of vals tandas. My favorites are highlighted. I usually play 3 song vals tandas, but most of the tandas below are arranged in 4 song tandas for when they are needed.

Song Orchestra Cantor/Singer Year Type
Tu Melodía Rodolfo Biagi Jorge Ortiz 1945 Vals
Amor y Vals Rodolfo Biagi Alberto Lago 1942 Vals
Paloma Rodolfo Biagi Alberto Amor 1945 Vals
Lagrimas y Sonrisas Rodolfo Biagi   1941 Vals
Tu Melodía Rodolfo Biagi Jorge Ortiz 1945 Vals
Por Un Beso de Amor Rodolfo Biagi Jorge Ortiz 1940 Vals
Cuatro Palabras Rodolfo Biagi Jorge Ortiz 1941 Vals
Pájaro Herido Rodolfo Biagi   1941 Vals
This is one of my all time favorite vals tandas.
Viejo Porton Rodolfo Biagi Teófilo Ibáñez 1938 Vals
Lejos de Tí Rodolfo Biagi Teófilo Ibáñez 1938 Vals
Loca de Amor Rodolfo Biagi Teófilo Ibáñez 1938 Vals
Lagrimas y Sonrisas Rodolfo Biagi   1931 Vals
This is one of my all time favorite vals tandas.
El Último Adiós Rodolofo Biagi Andrés Falgás 1940 Vals
Déjame amarte aunque sea un día Rodolofo Biagi Andrés Falgás 1939 Vals
Dichas Que Vivi Rodolofo Biagi Andrés Falgás 1939 Vals
Lagrimas y Sonrisas Rodolofo Biagi   1941 Vals
Amor y Vals Rodolofo Biagi Alberto Lago 1942 Vals
Paloma Rodolofo Biagi Alberto Amor 1945 Vals
Aroma de Amor Rodolofo Biagi Alberto Amor 1946 Vals
Manana Por la Manana Rodolofo Biagi Alberto Amor 1946 Vals
Listen to this tanda.
This is one of my all time favorite vals tandas.
Bajo Un Cielo un Cielo de Estrellas Miguel Caló Alberto Podestá 1942 Vals
Pedacito de Cielo Miguel Caló Alberto Podestá 1942 Vals
El Vals Soñador Miguel Caló Alberto Podestá 1963 Vals
El Mismo Dolor Miguel Caló Raul Iriarte 1954 Vals
El Piebeyo Miguel Caló Raul Iriarte y Choir 1947 Vals
Me Duele el Corazón Miguel Caló Raul Iriarte y Choir 1944 Vals
Luna del Plata Miguel Caló Raul Iriarte 1943 Vals
This is a set of very old valses that are on the slow side, but very nice.
Ya Viene El Invierno Francisco Canaro Charlo 1931 Vals
Con Tu Mirar Francisco Canaro Charlo 1930 Vals
Ronda del Querer Francisco Canaro Carlos Galán 1934 Vals
Adiós, Juventud  Francisco Canaro Ernesto Famá 1934 Vals
Lirio Blanco Francisco Canaro Ernesto Famá 1934 Vals
Amor y Primavera Francisco Canaro   1935 Vals
Aclamación Francisco Canaro   1935 Vals
Dolores Francisco Canaro   1936 Vals
Siempre Tuya Seré Francisco Canaro Roberto Maida 1935 Vals
Secreto de Amor Francisco Canaro Roberto Maida 1936 Vals
El Triunfo de Tus Ojos Francisco Canaro Roberto Maida 1938 Vals
Romántica Francisco Canaro Roberto Maida 1938 Vals
Trés Jolie (Muy Lindo) Francisco Canaro   1938 Vals
Porque Sí Francisco Canaro Ernesto Famá 1939 Vals
Apasionadamente Francisco Canaro Ernesto Famá 1941 Vals
Tristeza Criolla Francisco Canaro Guillermo Coral 1945 Vals
Tra La La Francisco Canaro Ernesto Famá 1939 Vals
Tormenta En El Alma Francisco Canaro Ernesto Famá
y Mirna Mores
1940 Vals
El Vals del Estudiante Francisco Canaro Ernesto Famá 1939 Vals
Listen to this tanda        
En La Noche Azul Francisco Canaro Francisco Amor 1941 Vals
Salud, Dinero y Amor Francisco Canaro Francisco Amor 1940 Vals
Cuando Estaba Enamorado Francisco Canaro Francisco Amor 1939 Vals
Noche de Estrellas Francisco Canaro Ernesto Famá 1939 Vals
Cuatro Palabras Francisco Canaro Ernesto Famá 1941 Vals
Cuando Estaba Enamorado Francisco Canaro Francisco Amor 1939 Vals
Salud, Dinero y Amor Francisco Canaro Francisco Amor 1940 Vals
Pick any three of these for a great laid back vals tanda.
Amemonos Francisco Canaro Alberto Arenas y
Enrique Lucero
1948 Vals
El Vals de Los Abuelos Francisco Canaro Eduardo Adrian 1941 Vals
Muchacha Francisco Canaro Eduardo Adrian 1942 Vals
Valsecito Amigo Francisco Canaro Eduardo Adrian 1943 Vals
Claro de Luna Francisco Canaro Eduardo Adrian 1942  
Yo te Quiero Mi Bien Francisco Canaro   1941 Vals
Rosas de Otono Francisco Canaro Nelly Omar 1946 Vals
Soñar y Nada Mas Francisco Canaro Carlos Roldán
y Eduardo Adrián
1943 Vals
Desde El Alma Francisco Canaro   1940 Vals
These two groups were lead by Francisco Canaro.
Vibraciones del Alma Quinteto Don Pancho   1938 Vals
El Trovero Quinteto Pirincho   1942 Vals
Francia Quinteto Pirincho   1943 Vals
Maria Esther Quinteto Pirincho   1943 Vals
Idilio Trunco Alberto Castillo   1946 Vals
Ahora Tengo Un Amor Alberto Castillo   1947 Vals
La Pulpera de Santa Lucía Alberto Castillo   1945 Vals
Unitaria Alberto Castillo   1946 Vals
Desde el Alma Color Tango   2003 Vals
Tu Pálida Voz Color Tango   2003 Vals
Ilusión de Mi Vida Color Tango   2001 Vals
Corazón de Oro Lalo Schifrin     Vals
Acordándome de Vos Armando Cupo   1952 Vals
Quemá esas Cartas Armando Cupo   1955 Vals
Yo No Sé Que Me Han Hecho Tus Ojos Armando Cupo   1955 Vals