There's so much richness and variety in the recorded repertoire that it's very difficult to answer the question, "What do you play?" The tangos, milongas, and valses they I enjoy playing come out of a wide time period: from the Golden Age of 1940s to the present day.
If I have a philosophy at all, I would describe it thusly: for me, tango is an expression of a man's interaction with life, its hardships and yearnings, and his desire to connect with women. Hence I prefer tangos that have a certain masculine quality, although it can also be very lyrical.
When DJing, I take my dancing couples on an adventure during which they'll experience a wide gamut of emotions that tango can trigger, and they re-live them in embrace on the dance floor. I like to watch them enjoy each other's company.
My DJ guidelines
- Respect for the community. I want to take them on an adventure that they can enjoy, and so I construe my set such that they can keep up.
- Respect for tradition. I use the standard TTVTTM format and strive to make cohesive, fluent tandas that have a storyline with a beginning, middle, and end.
- Curiosity. I'm eagerly looking for new bands that record danceable tangos. When appropriate, I highlight them in my milongas such that dancers get to know and appreciate them.
Traditional, or nuevo?
Tradition is something rooted in history yet open to interpretation and change. Once closed, it becomes a cult. Hence I consider myself to be a traditionalist who is very keen on keeping the tradition alive and evolving.
I resist associating with the nuevo brand as it seems to me to be a product of a radical departure from the tradition. What I look in a new tango music is the same kind of movement that the bands of the golden era have inspired. If the music provokes movements that would suggest another genre, I don't use it.
Thus my typical set would feature music from the 40s, 50s, 60s as well as 2010s - all of it acoustic, in arrangements that are most suitable for dancing. When there's a milonga time, there will be milongas in the tanda, and not foxtrots or Hugo Díaz.