Tanda of the week: Alberto Castillo, sans Tanturi

Tanda of the week: Alberto Castillo, sans Tanturi

Alberto Castillo, made famous by his collaboration with Ricardo Tanturi, had an enormously long career. His vocal expressions were unique and entertaining without getting in the way of a good ronda.

This tanda features his work after he split with Tanturi.

In the 1940s, he collaborated with Enrique Alessio and Emilio Balcarce, among others. This tanda mixes both orchestras without fear of retribution by the purists, because they don't have much of a unique style. These orchestras were driven and subjected to Castillo.

Why I built it this way

Included are: Juan Tango and Lecherito del abasto (both with Balcarce), Me gusta un tango así and Soy porteño y soy varón. The tempos are at about 60 BPM and the harmonic progression goes from E-flat major to G major to C major alternating with C minor, ending at G major again.

The overall feeling is upbeat, with good accents and energy, midtempo dancing.

There are no "hits". The audience is unlikely to recognize any of the songs en masse. If placed well within the flow of the milonga, this might not be a big deal.

There is also not much pain and suffering in this tanda, it's happy on purpose. The third song casts some shadows of lyricism to create some contrast and stir those tango emotions.


I would use it occasionally, preferrably within a context of a longer traditional event (4+ hours) where some forays beyond the hit repertoire are expected and welcome.

For a shorter milonga, like the typical weekly 3-hour format, I could imagine putting it on the "Planned" list but it would most likely end up unused. I see that I played a Castillo tango tanda about three times in 2018-2019.

Mind you, the singing is warm, expressive and it's fun to dance to without special considerations. It's just not spectacularly great, and within the three hours, I'm likely to favor the premier-league type orchestras.