What I want from a milonga are razor-sharp edges and a relentless drive forward. It helps when the theme is cheerful as opposed to dark or melodramatic.
But a dramatic milonga can also inspire a solid work-out on the dance floor. In fact, some of the best milongas are far from cheerful - consider Silueta porteña.
This tanda starts off on a serious note but quickly evolves into pure fun. Take it with you on your morning run - until the lock-downs are released, then I'd love to play it for your dancing enjoyment.
The singer is Horacio Palma with the orchestra of Juan D'Arienzo, joined by Jorge Valdez in the last song. Too bad Palma has only recorded two solo milongas!
- Prometedora (1962)
- Me llaman milonga (1961)
- ABC del amor (1961, with Valdez)
Prometedora (F-minor, about 103 BPM) is a fantastic piece without peer and works great as the opener. Sharp staccatos, genius play with accents. It will stay in my head all week until I sit down to assemble the next week's tanda.
Me llaman milonga (D minor evolving to major, ~ 113 BPM) kicks off noticeably faster. I'd consider slowing it down a notch to even-out the tempo progression in this tanda. Stylistically, it binds nicely to the opener and by virtue of quickly switching to a major key, it also leads the way for the joyful closer.
ABC del amor (F major, ~ 112 BPM) is Palma's duet with Valdez. The piece is decidedly optimistic and vivacious. It will put smiles on your dancers' faces, which is what you'd want in a milonga tanda.
Other than the very first milonga of the evening, I would play this tanda anytime for most audiences. It's got a wonderful character and flow that rewards milonga aficionados.
image credit Kyle Hinkson