Tango DJ-ing in Buenos Aires, Argentina 2017

Being a passionate tango DJ, I never miss a chance to play music anywhere, especially in Buenos Aires. During our 2017 stay in Buenos Aires, I had the possibility to be a DJ at three different milongas, again.

Milonga Parakultural, Salon Canning

My first DJ-ing night was at Milonga Parakultural at Salon Canning. Salon Canning is placed in the barrio of Palermo, at Avenida Scalabrini Ortiz 1331. The street changed its name in the vibrant Argentina many times: from 1893 until 1974, it was actually called Canning Street – hence the name Salon Canning, and some older folks – including some older taxi drivers – still call the street Canning.

Salon Canning is busy the whole week, hosting different milongas with different organizers. Milonga Parakultural is organized by Omar Viola who has been on the scene for decades; it is basically a must-go milonga for every Monday, Tuesday, and Friday.


People attending the milonga are a mix of Portenos who already have a regular table for many years and foreigners who come here to dance during their visit to Buenos Aires. And there are also some tourists almost every night who come only to watch.

On its best nights, more than 400 people can be in Salon Canning, and on an average night, around 250 which makes it quite difficult to dance.

Milonga Parakultural is also “the” place to perform: every night, there are performances of the best tango dancers, the best tango orchestras playing live music and some other events like closing shows of some festivals, competitions and similar.

I was invited to play music at a very special night: Tuesday, 14th November 2017, on the night where there was a live performance of my favorite tango orchestra – La Juan D’Arienzo. The boys from the orchestra were really glad to see me again, after playing at my milonga La Milonguita Ljubljana & spending three whole days with them Slovenia. It was a night, full of magic: more than 300 dancers, live music and a dance performance by 4 different couples. I was very proud because people kept coming to my table saying hello and complimenting my choice of music. Some very interesting people also came to me saying thanks: Los Alonso – a sweet couple who perform regularly at the best milongas in Buenos Aires – they even invited me & my husband to be their guests at their table the next week when they were performing at Club Fulgor. And the famous couple of elderly tango dancers who were the oldest participants of the 2017 tango world championship also came to me – in person, they are even sweeter than in the videos, that’s for sure.

For the next year, I got a new invitation to play music, this time at milonga Porteno & Bailarin organized by Carlos Stasi who also loved my music.

And the fact that many of the old milongueros come to me saying that they love the night is really something to be proud of!


Maldita Milonga, with Orquesta El Afronte

The next night, I was working again, this time at Maldita Milonga, organized by an excellent tango orchestra El Afronte. They have been organizing their own milongas for more than a decade and always attract many dancers. Their milonga is organized in a tango club in San Telmo and they always have their own performance. After a tango class – which is very common in Argentina – first there is some music by the DJ, and after that, El Afronte starts to play. And they also always have a tango performance which can be quite stressful for the DJ: the couple comes in the last minute with their own music, so there’s no time to prepare anything.

But everything was just perfect and I already have the invitation to play music at their milonga for every time I will be in Buenos Aires again. Nice!


Milonga Seguime… si podes, Club Fulgor de Villa Crespo

This milonga is the most traditional milonga of the three milongas where I had the chance to be a DJ. It attracts only the best dancers, mostly young locals, who have a very traditional taste. This basically means that the choice of music that can be played at this milonga is very limited. Playing music “estilo Buenos Aires” is the best possible choice.


And what is “estilo Buenos Aires” (or “Buenos Aires style”)? Last year I spent the most interesting afternoon with Mario Orlando, called “El Capo” who is, in my opinion, the best DJ in Buenos Aires, talking about tango music and different styles of milongas. His definition of “estilo Buenos Aires” goes like this: 6 authors only – 4 grandes (D’Arienzo, Di Sarli, Troilo, Pugliese) + D’Agostino + Tanturi. And that’s basically it, regarding the authors.

In addition to this definition, people at this milonga don’t especially like valses or milongas, so you can easily skip most of them. This is not exactly my preferred style, I like the usual T-T-V-T-T-M style, but it is not uncommon in Buenos Aires, especially later in the evening when milongas are about to finish – people just don’t want to dance valses or milongas, which I personally find pretty strange, but – well, I am on their territory, so – what can I do other than adapt…

The evening was excellent, but at the same time extremely stressful for me as a DJ. After the performance of the first couple, I was slowly getting a bit relaxed, but – wait: there was another one, and they told me about it only one song before the performance. With no music given in advance, they just told me what they want to dance, and (luckily) I have my music neatly tagged so I could find all the three pieces in the very last time: Recuerdo by Pugliese, Loca by D’Arienzo and one milonga – La Punalada. Don’t even dare to think what would happen if I didn’t find the right music in these last seconds…

Anyway, all of my DJ-ing events were excellent and I am already looking forward to the next time I will be sitting at the DJ-table of the Buenos Aires milongas again.

Tango DJ Alenka
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