Probably everyone has such songs which remember from childhood. The songs that were sang by parents or grandparents, the ones reminding of some stories or the ones which were just popular in those days. “Tango milonga”, the favorite song of my grandmother, has been always with me.
I spent a lot of time with my grandmother when I was a child and she associated “Tango milonga” with her youth, games and singing. She was singing this song every day, even few times a day, she was simply humming it all the time so since I was a little girl I have known its lyrics and melody by heart. The way she sang it didn’t sound really great – but she thought that she has a great voice anyway and in general the rumor has that when she was young everyone were admiring it. In my opinion her voice isn’t really beautiful and I am glad that my grandmother do not use Internet so she can’t read it – anyway, it is not the point. Only thing that mattered was the expression and that this song reminds me of my childhood. I have never sung it because my grandmother agreed with me that I can learn everything except singing which would be hard for me to learn. When I was a kid I thought that “Tango milonga” is just some not really well known song but later, when I started to look into it I found out that it was the only tango from not many Polish tangos which became popular abroad. My grandmother found out about it after many years from me and she is really proud of it until today.
I haven’t recall this story because I like to talk about my childhood but because it leads us towards singing tango. Yes, it is worth knowing that tango is not only about the dance and rhythm but also about lyrics and melody. When I think about it, though, I see movement, hear steps and feel emotions first. So I was curious myself about tango choir performance.
“There are many choirs in Warsaw and also many people dance tango, but no one ever thought of combining those two things together and singing tango” – those words are visiting card of Argentinean Tango Choir Malena, whose performance I attended last week. Unfortunately, Kuba was in USA already, but I went there with our tango friends, the ones that invited us there.
Until the very last moment I was waiting for information if I can watch the performance. The choir just started its rehearsals and people performing had some doubts in the beginning, they were afraid that maybe it was not a good moment yet and that what they were doing is not perfect yet…However, finally they agreed, and next time maybe they even let us add some of their pieces of work :)
There is much difference between listening to tango in headphones – at home, while travelling, falling asleep. In those cases there is only me, music and images in my head. In those moments I compose the notes and think how would I dance now, what way I would go, which dance ornament perform. The last time when I had a really good time listening to tango was while travelling around Kuba, for example during 12 hours from Havana to Santiago da Cuba. During performance of Malena Choir I had completely different emotions and I didn’t imagine myself dancing, only focused on performers, their history, voices and energy.
First of all, I appreciate the idea very much. There are many choirs, but none of them had the idea to sing tango. They prepared for us two Argentinean tangos “Vida Mia” and “Por una cabeza” and Polish “You bath for me no more”. Additionaly, the introduction – a short story of tango and photos of Argentina got us in the mood. I really liked that.
What I missed the most was that music was playback and not performed live. But it was their first performance so it is okey. What I liked – was people singing with a great joy and that they didn’t create pathetic atmosphere but instead they performed tangos in joyful, humorous, funny and entertaining way. I thought that their interpretation can’t be in my taste at all but they convinced me. For example “You bath for me no more” from Old Gentlemen Cabaret. Wonderful metaphor also of those emotions which take place in tango.
“You bath for me no more in foam caress,
Not for me next to the bathtub you unscrew the tap.
Not for me you shower all of your charms anymore
I know, that another man is waiting for you to dry “
Just genius! And this is only first verse…
More about Malena choir you can find here.
It is possible to join them. Unfortunately, I don’t stand a chance but maybe some of you do ;)