DJ workshop note – 2009 Hong Kong

Posted in Music on March 11th, 2015

Damian came to Hong Kong in 2009 and conducted his first tango DJ workshop in the city. Below is my note of his workshop. I put it here as a personal record, and I guess other people might be able to benefit from it.


- an artist, makes a service with the music
- our business is to finish the milonga with many people
- don’t play music he/she likes
- can’t play all the time the same
- not only music in the 40s (otherwise it’s boring and tiring)
- everybody has his/her own method/idea
- control people’s satisfaction
- know always why and how the music is played

Two ways to play music
- within a tanda is homogenic; between the tanda, is heterogenic
- TVTM (40-50 mins) (Demain found people leave too early, as people got satisfy easily)
- TTVTTM (70 mins) (Demain’s preference, because he wants people stay in the milonga)
- Tango & vals 4 tracks; milonga 3 tracks (people is tired with milonga, and the room is too hot)
- TVTM (21, 2150, 2230, 2320, 2410)
- TTVTTM (21, 2210, 2320, 2430)
- the structure is a deal between the DJ and the people
- to make waves, have to make differences between tandas

ST – Di Sarli
FT – D’Arienzo
FT – Troilo
ST – Pugliese
ST – Fresedo
FT – Biagi

Example (T & T)
Troilo 40s (Te Aconsejo Que Me Olvides), Di Sarli 50s (Indio Manso), Troilo 40s, Di Sarli 50s
- sound quality is difference (clean, clear quality)
- 40s few mics for 1 orchestra, 50s each instrument has a mic, recording technology changed
- with singer / without singer
- rhythmic / melodic
- faster / slower
- energetic / not-so energetic
- hard / easy to dance

Within A Tanda
- Track no. 1 has to be the top among the 4th, classic of the classic
- flat or gradually upwards or downloads, little change (in terms of speed)
- sometimes same singers, sometimes can change, sometimes mix with instrumental, depends

Ronda de Ases
- one tanda with the best track of the best orchestras
- Demain plays this, but with similar orchestras

Pay attention
- we play milonga, before and after play slow tango
- we play valse, before and after play fast / rhythmic tango
- always start with fast tango (40s), and next fast tango, to give people energy to start
- to calm people, play slow tango
- if there are only few people at the beginning, it’s not important to stick to the structure
- at the beginning, it’s important to make people dance, so that people enter the room SEE people dance. So DJ has to be flexible to the structure of tandas and cortina
- when at the end (after 3am), he plays only tango. Give people something romantic, easy tango to dance, so that people will stay until the end
- play something hard to dance between 2 easy tandas
- don’t play 2 Tango tandas with singers. But can play tango with singer in T-V, V-T, T-M, M-T
- after performance, play big tango songs (like Poema)
- Damian prefers to play a beautiful tango instead of la cumparsita to end, he believes that leaves better memory to the dancers
- Last tanda example: Rodriguez – Traje de Novia – Mi Piba – Solo Tu – Yo No Se Porque Razon

Orchestras (4 orchestras)

Juan D’Arienzo (e.g. El Flete)
- always rhythmic, fast, easy to dance
- 30s & 50s are the same, only quality is different
- within 1 tanda don’t change period and singer

1 tanda of instrumental (30s, 40s)
1 tanda of instrumental (50s)
1 tanda with Hector Maure
1 tanda with Alberto Echague
1 tanda of vals
1 tanda of milonga

Rodolfo Biagi
- can mix singers within a tanda

1 tanda of instrumental
1 tanda with singers
1 tanda of vals
1 tanda of milonga

Anibal Troilo
- 40s & 60s are different
- 40s he played music to dance and played fast, easy to dance
- 60s, complex, hard to dance

1 tanda of instrumental (40s) easy
1 tanda of instrumental (60s) wonderful but hard to dance
1 tanda with Francisco Fiorentino (40s)
1 tanda with Alberto Marino (40s)
1 tanda with Floreal Ruiz
1 tanda of vals
1 tanda of milonga

Osvaldo Pugliese
- not played in the beginning
- slow and hard to dance
- played music to listen
- can mix Chanel and Moran in 1 tanda
- can mix Desde del alma with modern orchestra’s vals
- Pedro Maffia and Laurenz were his master, and these two musicians learnt from Julio De Caro.
- 1 tanda per night, if its a long night, then 1 tanda with singers and 1 instrumental
- play Pugliese after half of the night, because needs space to dance (if one night in 4 parts, play it at the 3rd part)
- sometimes replace with 60s Troilo

1 tanda of instrumental (40s)
1 tanda of instrumental (50s-60s)
1 tanda of Roberto Chanel
1 tanda of Alberto Moran

Pedro Laurenz
- play before or after vals

1 tanda of instrumental
1 tanda with Juan Carlos Casas
1 tanda with Alberto Podesta
1 tanda of milonga
1 tanda of vals

Carlos Di Sarli
- when he started at the beginning, in the 40s, more rhythmic
- 1942, more melodic, slower
- in general, we don’t play Di Sarli in the beginning
- Demain prefers to play melodic’s Di Sarli, after Di Sarli formed his own typical style
- easier than Pugliese
- Fresedo inspired him to change style
- if the milonga is short (3 hrs), Demain mix the singers within a tanda, put the best of each singer into a tanda

1 tanda of instrumental 40s (fast)
1 tanda of instrumental (slow)
1 tanda with Roberto Rufino (his voice like an old man when he started at the age of 16)
1 tanda with Jorge Duran (40s & 50s are different)
1 tanda with Alberto Podesta
1 tanda of vals
1 tanda of milonga

Osvaldo Fresedo
1 tanda of instrumental
1 tanda with Roberto Ray
1 tanda with Ricardo Ruiz

Group orchestra
Carlos Di Sarli – Osvaldo Fresedo
Juan D’Arienzo – Rodolfo Biagi
Anibal Troilo
Osvaldo Pugliese

Joker orchestras (not fast, not slow, in the middle)
- general in the 40s
- Ricardo Tanturi
- Miguel Calo
- Lucio demare
- Angel D’Agostino
- Ricardo Malerba

Ricardo Tanturi
- after of before vals
- don’t mix singers in a tanda

1 tanda of instrumental (always after or before vals) (faster)
1 tanda with Alberto Castillo (faster)
1 tanda with Enrique Campos (in the middle, slow)
1 tanda of vals with Castillo
1 tanda of vals instrumental
1 tanda of vals mix instrumental and Castillo

Miguel Calo
- in the middle, play after D’Arienzo, Calo is slow; play after Di Sarli, Calo is fast
- is rhythmic and romantic too
- mix his milonga and vals with other orchestras like Lucio Demare’s (because they have few same singers)
- the orchestra of the stars

1 tanda of instrumental
1 tanda with Raul Beron (his voice is so different from others, so don’t mix with other singers)
1 tanda with Raul Iriarte
1 tanda with Alberto Podesta

Lucio Demare
1 tanda of instrumental (can mix with singers but not Beron)
1 tanda with Raul Beron (don’t mix with instrumental or other singers)
1 tanda with different singers

Angel D’Agostino con Vargas
1 tanda of tango, vals & milonga

Ricardo Malerba
- similar to others
1 tanda with singers
1 vals
1 milonga

Alfredo De Angelis
- start and finish with instrumental
- can mix tanda with all singers
- play the same with different singers
- after or before vals

1 tanda of instrumental (50s)
1 tanda with Floreal Ruiz (40s)
1 tanda with Carlos Dante
1 tanda with Julio Martel
1 tanda with Oscar Larroca (50s)
1 tanda of vals

Enrique Rodriguez
- orchestra played everything
- after or before vals
1 tanda with Armando Moreno
1 tanda of instrumental
1 tanda with Roberto “El Chato” Flores

Domingo Federico
- played for Miguel Calo
- very close to Miguel Calo
- can mix instrumental and singers
- plays after Miguel Calo in the milonga

1 tanda of instrumental
1 tanda with Carlos Vidal

Osmar Maderna
- played with Miguel Calo
- not easy to dance
- pianist

- 1 tanda of instrumental

- played with Miguel Calo

Orchestras in the 30s
- made music to dance without D’Arienzo’s concept
- it’s good to make changes from music in the 40s
- Edgardo Donato
- Francisco Lomuto
- Orquesta Tipica Victor
- Alfredo Carabelli
- Francisco Canaro

Edgardo Donato
- easy to dance
- rhythmic
- can mix singers and instruemtal in a tanda

1 tanda of instrumental
1 tanda with singers
1 tanda of vals
1 tanda of milonga

Francisco Lomuto
- can mix singers and instrumental in a tanda

1 tanda of instrumental
1 tanda with singers

Orquesta Tipica Victor (Alfredo Carabelli)
- never played in live
- had classic influence
- can mix singers and instrumental

1 tanda of instrumental
1 tanda with singers

Vals / Milonga
can mix any vals and milongas from the 30s orchestra

Francisco Canaro
- D’Arienzo is evolution of Canaro’s music
- 2 quintet: Don Pancho & Quinteto Pirincho
- start and end with slow milonga; start and end with fast milonga
- can mix singers

1 tanda of instrumental with orchestra
1 tanda of instrumental with Don Pancho
1 tanda of instrumental with Quinteto Pirincho
1 tanda with Ernesto Fama
1 tanda with Roberto Maida
1 tanda with Eduardo Adrian
1 tanda of vals
1 tanda of fast milonga
1 tanda of slow milonga


Modern Orchestras
- Use them to change sound quality of tandas

Juan D’Arienzo -> Los Reyes Del Tango
Osvaldo Pugliese -> Color Tango (six persons, starts to make new songs with Pugliese’s style e.g. Piqueteros)
Carlos Di Sarli -> Gente del Tango
Miguel Calo -> Sans Souci

Orquesta Fernandez Fierro
- used to play like Pugliese

Cosos de Al Lao

Sexteto Milonguero

Orquesta La Tipica Mina

Querteto Almargo


- Damian likes cortina can connect to the people, thus this cortina is something familiar to the dancers, something that brought out memory of the dancers (e.g. he used last year’s pop music for the milonga in HK)
- old vs new (old music for the moment (new), cortina for the people’s past (old)), feeling vs rational
- changes cortina depends on mood and feeling
- 1′ to 1’30″ when more people
- helps in consumption
- is a service too
- when you need people stays in the dance floor, don’t play cortina


- Damian always play tango about love
- He couldn’t play song with lyrics very critical / political, as he couldn’t dance that with a girl
- tango in the 40s only talked about love, because the orchestras cannot make music criticize the society/politics.

* compare singers’ method of singing
* Julio De Caro, Pedro Maffia, Pedro Laurenz, Osvaldo Pugliese same stream