Tango DJing – Finding Your Inspiration

One of the biggest challenges with being a Tango DJ, is trying to find new music to add to your collection. Be yourself, a Tango DJ looking for a specific song, artist, album, orchestra, or someone to scratches records, trying to find something, or maybe discovering something has many challenges. I’m always on a lookout for new music, old music, and everything in-between. Here are some suggestions from my own attempts at finding inspiration when it comes to music.

Movement & Musicals

Many have heard the saying that there is music all around us, from the birds, wind, steps, animals, silence, and more.  It’s actually quite hard if you’re in a populated area to have be able to hear actual music around you. This music though is most likely pretty basic or what’s hot now, you can find this almost anywhere, but trying to find that gem is what we’re seeking.

Where can you find some of these gems while you’re out an about? Look for movement, something that is different, something that catches your eye.  Is there a crowd, are there some people doing acro-yoga, musicians on the street, something happening in a business window? Is there a crowd of people surrounding something or someone, could be heading from a performance of some kind, or to one. These place are where I’ve encountered different music that has caught my ear to search for and add to my collection.

Back at home, there are First Friday Art Walks & Performances, there’s Shakespeare all around, live musician at different venues, an outdoor performance that is free to everyone on an almost daily basis in the summer (ranges from musicians, performance art groups, local comedy groups, travellers, and more) . Some of my favorite music I found I asked about from a hula-hoop performer at a local pub during a joint performance one Saturday night. Others have been from a couple people practicing their partner juggling in the park to some fun music.

I’m lucky to be in an area of pretty open activities and those not afraid to branch out and be open in public.  It makes going out more enjoyable to where there are events happening, especially in safe areas to just walk around and experience the area!

Remixing & Classics

I’m sure if you’re like me, you can love a song, but wish there was something else with it.  Maybe less this, or more that, or a different tempo, or a number of additional things. Some songs are perfect in your eyes, some could be improved, but I’m not an artist. There are however many people around the world who are, who hear something and can transform it into their own vision on what they love.

When it comes to Tango, the same song can be sung by numerous different people with different orchestras and they all have their own sound, their own flair. Even now, you can find new renditions of tango music out in the wild from new orchestras and groups. The same can be said for more popular music you hear on the radio, in shops, are trending online, suggested on spotify, and everywhere else. Finding some of these can be harder though, especially if you don’t know the original songs.

This is where the internet can be really helpful, from online radio stations that can easily list the song names, to also playing covers or remixes of popular songs. Youtube and soundcloud offer easy searching for remix, cover, orchestra, alternative, acapella, or acoustic versions of songs. There is a lot of bad quality, or music that may not appeal to you, but you can find gems here and there, some maybe dancable, cortinas, or could be just for easy listening. Some channels just post their own stuff, some repost music that they find from all over. Can even find versions in other languages which add even more flair.

Festivals & Travelling

Travelling anywhere, especially around the world will give you a bunch of new insights to music.  WIth Tango, there are festivals, milongas, practicas, and more just about anywhere.  Maybe swing dance events, other competitions, classes.  You name it. Sometimes though you can’t chat with the DJ, or people don’t know a song, maybe people don’t wish to share, or language may prevent it. Certain people can be secretive, others more open, but if you can hear it and aren’t dancing, you can pretty much find it out one way or another. Something as simple as an app on a smart phone will grab that one song you’re having a hard time narrow down. This of course doesn’t always work, and nearly impossible with live music or covers most the time. I personally use Shazam and SoundCloud I believe also has an app to help you identify songs. Others may find you “stealing” the music or feeling from someone else, but the music is out there, and I believe good songs should be shared.  Not the full Tanda, I like making my own Tandas of unique songs, or maybe I feel a song is wonderful, but the Tanda I heard is not that great. Build upon what you have, much of the music out there is indeed played by many people.  Don’t think the song/Tanda you have is unique, unless of course you’re the artist of the song, and it literally isn’t available elsewhere.