What kind of tango music is NOT suitable for the milonga? – The ultimate collection!


When an organizer design a good milonga, in order to be successful he is taking care a lot of things: settings of the tables, the lights, the dance floor, etc.
There is one, probably the most important element, the dj of the night who can easily uplift or ruin the dancers mood.

DJ-ing is like an art and to be honest nowadays things are getting complicated what to play and what tangueros tangueras, milongueros/milonguearas might want to listen. There are festivals, marathons, encuentros, etc… aaand a lot of dancers and dj-s with their unique taste.

TDJF- Tango DJ Forum

There is a Tango Dj Community on the facebook called TDJF – Tango DJ Forum. Definitely this is the place where lots of djs around the world have conversations about the tango music. The description shows very well the purpose of this community:
“General discussion and theory about DJ’ing tango music. Keep it civil. All kinds of tips and links to resources and articles appreciated as well. “

The Ultimate Collection

Tango-Dj-El-FrescoGoing back to our question in the title, Tango DJ El Fresco has created a collection what not to play on the milongas.
This set origins from statements by other Tango DJ-s made on the TDJ forum and other FB group and pages. There is only one he part added by him, the Rodriguez suggestion.

Unfortunately the Dj Forum is a closed FB. group therefore the collection could have been red only by the 1752 members (at the time of  the article) but it really worth to share in the world for tango. No surprise when the it was published on the DJ forum, it was heavily commented (more than 260) by fellow tango DJ-s. To read, it requires some knowledge about the tango orchestras.

Attention! It is intended to be a joke from Tango Dj El Fresco! Well done, there are a lot of funny punchlines in it.
So please, do not take it seriously, although there’s a grain of truth in every joke. :)

Published with the permission of the author.


Dear all,
I’ve seen so many discussions on FB about tango orchestras, and whether or not they are suitable for playing at the milonga, I thought I’d compile a simple check-list. Most of it is common knowledge to the experienced tango DJ, but it may still be useful, especially for beginner DJs. Please read carefully and follow the instructions:

First, there are some general principles about stuff not to play. And then there’s an overview per orchestra. So here’s what no tango DJ should be allowed to play:

– All guardia vieja, and guardia nueva pre-1935.
– All ‘orquestras olvidadas’. They’re forgotten for a reason.
– All tango post-1958 – note: with the exception of the one contemporary orchestra that happens to be en vogue this season. Just to show you’re a cutting edge DJ. For 2018 you’re save with Orquesta Romantica Milonguera.
– All neo, nuevo etc. (Obviously)
– All candombe. Ok, the rhythm is nice, but the lyrics…
– All FoxTrot. Why waste the opportunity of playing a milonga tanda on foxtrot?

Per orchestra, we don’t play tango by:
– Basso. Who? Exactly.
– Biagi (except with Ortiz if you must). In general ,if you want to play tango by Biagi, play D’Arienzo with Biagi instead. Milonga and Waltz are alright.
– Francisco Canaro (except perhaps with Maida). Too simple. Canaro after 1939 is even worse. The milongas however are fine. Waltzes only if you happen to DJ in Vienna.
– Rafael Canaro. If you really want to risk your life as a DJ, try one of his tangos in French.
– D’Agostino without Vargas.
– Vargas without D’Agostino.
– D’Arienzo post-1944. I know they do it in BsAs, but let’s face it, it’s kitsch. Can’t go wrong with the pre-1945 instrumentals, Echagüe and Mauré though.
– De Angelis. The singers! The violins! The merry-go-round! Only waltzes are allowed.
– De Caro. Not for dancing. If you must play de Caro, play De Caro by Pugliese.
– Di Sarli with Serpa. And Di Sarli with Durán. Just don’t. Stick to the instrumentals, Podestá, and Rufino, or perhaps add Pomar if you want to make a 50’s statement tanda.
– Domingo Federico. Just not good enough. Plus Vidal has an annoying voice.
– José Garcia. Same category as Federico. Plus Rojas has an annoying voice.
– Firpo. B-O-R-I-N-G. No energy. *sleeps * Firpo Quarteto: worse.
– Francini-Pontier. Or Francini without Pontier or vice versa. Only suitable with Caló.
– Fresedo with Serpa. Or any Fresedo from the 50’s. Careful: Fresedo with Ray is allowed only in Europe.
– Lomuto. The milongas are OK, if you want to play ‘No Hay Tierra Como La Mia’ not-by-Canaro.
– Maderna, and Símbolo Maderna. Let alone combining the two. And no Merceditas, please! In general great stuff for your living room, not for the milonga.
– Malerba. Close call, almost made the cut. But didn’t. Plus Medina’s voice is annoying.
– Piazzolla. Not for dancing. Plus I told you, no nuevo.
– Donato Racciatti. I have to admit I do have a weak spot for Racciatti with Nina Miranda. In my defence: I’m working on it.
– Rodríguez. Many DJ’s do play tangos by Rodríguez, but they’re wrong. If you feel the urge to play Rodriguez, play d’Arienzo or Tanturi instead. Waltz is just about acceptable. And no FoxTrot, remember?
– Rotundo. You don’t want to be a show-off do you? And especially no Rotundo with Ruiz.
– Salamanca. My God, the violiiiins!
– Sassone. Great music for the elevator.
– Varela. I mean, really?

Hope this checklist helps. Let us all improve the quality of music at the milongas.