Tanda of the week: casual afternoon valses

Tanda of the week: casual afternoon valses

It's Labor Day in Europe, which means nobody is working.

Imagine you've walked into a chill afternoon milonga / tango café, dressed casually and not expecting too much drama. Welcome! I give you a mixed tanda of valses to get you started.


  • Otros Aires - No sé (A-major)
  • Sexteto Fantasma c. Rodrigo Perelsztein - Noche de estrellas (D-minor)
  • Conjunto Berretin c. Joe Powers - CB Vals (A-minor)

We have one cover song sandwiched between two originals. The three bands have little in common; the overall feel of the songs, however, blends together well.

The plan was to find companions to Otros Aires' No sé. Them being so peculiar and recognizable, I would prefer to compose a single-band tanda. Too bad: they don't do many valses. The other one I know, Buenos Aires Va, is way too slow.

Never mind - I like mixing. It's an adventure.

No sé starts with a short intro and is primarily acoustic with just sprinkles of synths thrown in as spices. The flow is relaxed and soothing: you are among friends who wish the best for you.

Noche de estrellas as interpreted by Sexteto Fantasma is a relaxed cover by a classic known primarily from the recording by Canaro c. Ernesto Famá (1939). I love their instrumentation; the trumpet is decidedly a foreign element but the melody is mostly driven by the bandoneón and you also hear the familiar sounds of a piano. The singing by Rodrigo Perelsztein is elegant and faithful.

CB Vals comes from an album Tangamente: Tangos a la parilla para bailar by my favorite American band that is no longer in existence, Conjunto Berretin. As I understand, it was a project of Alex Krebs from Portlang, Oregon, who is still very much active in the tango world.

You'll hear the harmonica and singing of maestro Joe Powers as well as a lot of violin, which tends to take the leading role in Alex Krebs' orchestras. I love the casual, lounge character of the song - good vibes throughout.

There are a few rhythmical gotchas, and so I put it at the end of the tanda. By the third song, the couple should reach the sufficient level of symbiosis to carry themselves over that. I mean, if you can dance to Biagi and his syncopes, you can handle this just as easily.


The tanda is at the slower end of the acceptable spectrum. I would consider speeding it up from 59 BPM (as recorded) to 62 BPM if I felt, at the moment of making the call, that the tempo is too slow. You never know in advance.

I'd throw this in whenever I needed a relaxed, unassuming vals tanda. It doesn't have an aggresive "kick", and so is not ideal for when you need to boost the energy levels. On the contrary, you'll use it to calm people down and lead them into a happy place.

image credit to Andy Falconer