Humans of Tango

Bimonthly-ish podcast exploring what tango has to teach through the experiences of those who dance it.

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Episodes

Thursday Dec 15, 2022

Nel Mastrodomenico fell in love with tango music in the tango bars of his native Colombia - but it took an international move in pursuit of the Australian dream to get him dancing and DJing. Today, Nel lives his own Argentinian dream in Buenos Aires.
 
Producer/Host: Liz Sabatiuk | Music: “Toda mi Vida” written by José María Contursi y Aníbal Troilo and performed by Aníbal Troilo y su Orquesta Típica with Francisco Fiorentino | Image Credit: Dos Orillas Practica de Tango Buenos Aires
 
Show Notes
This episode includes clips of Carlos Gardel singing "Tango Argentino" by Alfredo Bigeschi and Juan Maglio "Pacho" and Juan D'Arienzo y Su Orquesta Típica performing "El Pollito" by Francisco Canaro.
Get familiar with Colombia’s history with tango legend Carlos Gardel (en español).
Read more about the International Day of Tango and Argentina’s National Bandoneon Day.
Nerd out about how records are made.
Get the background on how political strife and rock n' roll affected tango in Argentina and Uruguay.
Follow Nel on YouTube, Instagram, or Facebook.

Tuesday Oct 18, 2022

Queer tango teacher and change maker Alex Pacheco Castillo talks about why inclusion is not the same as belonging and what she's doing to foster community in her hometown of Mexico City.
 
Producer/Host: Liz Sabatiuk | Music: “Bailemos” written by Cholo Mamona and Reinaldo Yiso and performed by Susanita Peña | Image Credit: Tango Queer Uruguay
 
Show Notes
Download the free eBook Alex and I contributed to, Queer Tango Futures: Dancing for Change in a Post-Covid World. 
Watch Facebook Live interviews with Gonzalo Souto, Alex's first teacher, and with Alex herself (in Spanish).
Alex credits Leticia Nieto with introducing her to many of the ideas that have shaped her approach to tango, including the distinction between inclusion and belonging. Learn more about Dr. Nieto's 2010 book Beyond Inclusion, Beyond Empowerment.
Here are links to sources of the statistics mentioned: >70% of women in Mexico have experienced some kind of violence; >70% say they feel unsafe in their daily lives; >1,000 women in Mexico were murdered for gender-based reasons in 2021, a 137% increase since 2015; at least 461 people from Mexico’s LGBT+ community died between 2017 and 2021 from violence presumed to be related to their gender identity or sexual orientation.

Monday Aug 29, 2022

Classical guitarist and recording artist Craig Einhorn on the joys and struggles of life and music-making and how a song first intended as "filler" for a CD became a modern tango classic.
Producer/Host: Liz Sabatiuk | Music: “Milonguea del Ayer” composed by Abel Fleury and arranged and recorded by Craig Einhorn; “Spetsai Tango” composed by Georges Moustaki and arranged and recorded by Craig Einhorn; improvisations on classical guitar and djembe by Craig Einhorn | Image Credit: Unknown
 
Show Notes
Find Craig's music on Apple Music, Amazon, Spotify, or YouTube, or follow what he's up to on Facebook. 
Watch my favorite video of Chicho and Juana performing to "Milonguea del Ayer."
Learn more about Craig's friends and musical collaborators Rebecca Oswald and Joe Powers.
Listen to Edith Piaf sing “Milord” and hear more of Georges Moustaki's music on YouTube Music or Spotify.

Thursday Jun 16, 2022

Spain-born, San-Francisco-based teacher, DJ, and organizer Felipe Martinez explains why he believes art is for everyone and how tradition can nurture the evolution of tango.
Producer/Host: Liz Sabatiuk | Music: “Trago Amargo” by Julio Navarrine and Rafael Iriarte, performed by Juan D'Arienzo y Su Orquesta Típica with Alberto Echagüe | Image Credit: Kappu Chino
 
Show Notes
Learn more about Felipe and Ayano on their website and check out their Tango Poetry Project. Bonus: Read their English translation of "Trago Amargo," the song that accompanies this episode!
Watch an interview (parts 1, 2, and 3) between Pepa Palazón and tango maestra Olga Besio that Felipe described as "gems all over the place" in a part of our conversation that didn't make it into this episode (in Spanish). 
Read more about the códigos (a.k.a. codes) of social tango in Buenos Aires.

Sunday May 01, 2022

Bandoneonist Heyni Solera shares how her immigration experience shaped her artistic journey and why she thinks the secret to better dancing is to sit down.
Producer/Host: Liz Sabatiuk | Music: "Flores Negras" by Francisco de Caro, arranged by Astor Piazzolla and performed by Heyni Solera | Image Credit: Nikos Zacharakis
 
Show Notes
Visit Heyni's website to listen to more of Heyni’s music and see what she’s up to. 
Learn more about the DC Tango Orchestra.
Listen to Diego Schissi on Soundcloud, or watch videos of Diego Schissi Quinteto, Santiago Segret, and Eva Wolff.
Follow the DC Queer Tango Collective for the latest queer tango activities in the DC area.
Preview an English translation of Argentine Queer Tango: Dance and Sexuality Politics in Buenos Aires, by ethnomusicologist Mercedes Liska. Bonus: Didn’t make it into the episode, but Heyni also shouted out Tango y Feminismo by Anahí Perez Pavez for its argument that queer tango set the stage for feminist tango.
Listen to an interview with Maxfield Wollam-Fisher, the cellist with whom Heyni formed Arco y Aire.
This episode features clips downloaded from the Internet Archive: “9 de Julio,” written by J. L. Pudula and performed by Francisco Canaro y Su Orquesta Típica; and “Como Abrazado a un Rencor,” written by A. M. Podesta and R. Rossi and performed by Horacio Salgán y Su Gran Orquesta Típica with Angel Diaz.

Friday Mar 11, 2022

"Effectively, in martial arts you learn that 101 is a lifetime.”
Hear from DC social dancer and beloved community photographer Jaime Montemayor about why he started taking pictures, how tango is similar to (and different from!) Judo, and what brought him back to tango after a long hiatus.
 
Producer/Host: Liz Sabatiuk | Music: "Patético" by Jorge Caldera, performed by Solo Tango Orquesta | Image Credit: Photo by Yulia Kriskovets, processing by Jaime Montemayor
 
Show Notes
View some of Jaime's photographs on Facebook, or check out his (in-focus, color-balanced;) Shutterstock library.
Various friends from the DC tango community came up over the course of Jaime's interview. One whose name didn't make it into the final episode is Jake Spatz of Eastern Market Tango Club, who has designated Jaime house photographer there. The teachers Jaime first studied with are Sharna Fabiano and Isaac Oboka, who are no longer in DC but still in our hearts. The DJ whose music broke Jaime's heart at Tango Holiday (the marathon Jaime describes at the end of the episode) was Yulia Kriskovets.
Want to hear Jaime wax philosophical about martial arts? Listen to this episode of The Mental Arts from 2020.

Monday Feb 07, 2022

“The why is many, many things.”
Juan Cantone nerds out in the best of ways about experiencing the tango renaissance in his native Buenos Aires, the four aspects of tango, and the thing that will make him dance forever.
 
Producer/Host: Liz Sabatiuk | Music: "A Luis Luchi" by Eduardo Rovira, performed by SONICO | Image Credit: Monteleone Tango
 
Show Notes
Here’s more background on the tango renaissance.  
Listen to examples of Canaro from the '30s.  
See examples of performances by Graciela González and Pedro “El Indio” Benavente.
As promised, some favorite videos of Juampy Ramírez dancing (with Daniel Arroyo).
I asked Juan to share some “poem” performances - his own and those of other artists. He shared his recent performance with current dance partner Virginia Cutillo; these three videos from his years touring with Sol Orozco; and videos of Carlos Espinoza and Noelia Hurtado; Horacio Godoy and Cecilia Berro; Chicho Frumboli and Juana Sepulveda;  Clarisa Aragón and Jonathan Saavedra; El "Chino" Perico and Silvia Damiani; and Ricardo Vidort and Myriam Pincen. All amazing!!!
Want to study with Juan? He'll be touring Europe with Virginia Cutillo in April 2022, then headed to the US in May and June (Washington, DC, and San Francisco). You can also follow and contact him through Facebook and Instagram.

Monday Dec 20, 2021

For Eugenia Park, first came marriage, kids, and immigration from the Soviet Union to raise her family in the United States.
Then came a love affair with tango that has stood the test of time.
 
Producer/Host: Liz Sabatiuk | Music: "La Puñalada" by Pintín Castellanos, performed by Juan D'Arienzo y su Orquesta Típica | Image Credit: Yulia Kriskovets
 
Show Notes
Eugenia started our conversation by sharing this article by Cacho Dante. Recommended reading for a firsthand perspective on the meaning of “milonguero.” And here’s even more history and analysis of “milonguero style” tango!
Pyotr Leshchenko, a.k.a. "The King of Russian Tango,” is the songwriter and singer Eugenia listened to as a child in Ukraine. Here are some examples of his music.
Chan Park continues his tango journey in Europe, where he teaches Tango Zen.
Wikipedia kindly provides pictures of Argentine Tango figures including boleos and ganchos.
The song accompanying Eugenia’s episode is a milonga, a musical genre commonly played along with tango and vals at tango dance parties (also called milongas!) Here are a few favorite examples of dancers performing to milonga songs.

Friday Oct 29, 2021

Through time, space, and changing circumstances, DC native Nick Thompson has made it work with tango - on his own terms. Hear how a hidden obsession, sparked one January evening at Portland State University, transformed into a friendly one over the years.
 
This episode was produced in partnership with Tango Mercurio.
 
Producer/Host: Liz Sabatiuk | Music: "Después del Carnaval" by J. A. Amuchastegui Keen, performed by Osvaldo Fresedo y Su Gran Orquesta Argentina with Ricardo Ruiz | Image from C’est la Vie milonga in Xi’an, China (photographer unknown)
 
Show Notes
Learn more about the history of Portland tango via The New York Times and/or a founder of its community.
ValenTango is still going strong! See what’s on the agenda for 2022.
See what's so different about Argentine Spanish.
The friendly dancers Nick ran into in Buenos Aires were Rebecca Rorick Smith and Eric Lindgren, some of Nick’s first teachers in Portland. Watch a video of them performing around that time and one from 2019.
Other Portland dancers Nick mentioned in the interview were Adam Cornett, who visited Xi'an repeatedly as a guest artist, and Alex Krebs. (To close the circle, Alex Krebs is the Portland name I heard back in 2007, when I met a former student and sometimes partner of his, Jennifer Olson, who was DJing at a milonga in Montevideo. Small tango world!)
Haven’t heard of the Terra Cotta Warriors Nick mentioned? Watch a video or read an article about their fascinating history.

Friday Sep 24, 2021

“If I had to pinpoint what exactly I do, I think it’s... I care. I think I care to connect.”
Italian tanguera Simona Ciampi lays out some truly enchanting reasons to dance tango and sheds light on a question I’ve had for upwards of 15 years. 
 
Producer/Host: Liz Sabatiuk | Music: "El Carillon de la Merced" by Enrique S. Discepolo, performed by Carlos Molina y Su Orquesta | Image Credit: Dos Orillas Practica de Tango Buenos Aires
 
Show Notes
Watch the short film I mentioned about Simona’s tango journey up to 2016.
See Simona’s visual art on Instagram.
Study with Virginia Pandolfi, the maestra whose online teaching Simona credits with improving her tango during the pandemic period.

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This podcast offers an authentic glimpse into who dances tango, why they dance, and how the dance has shaped their lives. Along the way we'll explore what their experiences can teach us all about being and connecting in the world.

Photo Credit: Jaime Montemayor; pictured are producer/host Liz Sabatiuk (left) with Aja Fenn.

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