The educated Tanguero

Essential Tango Knowledge

Soha: Mil pasos


What is the difference between Tango music and Nontango music ? I don´t know. It is probably very different to come even with a good musical definition of tango, which implies that defining the opposite will be difficult as well. Maybe Nontango music is music that does not sound like tango, does not involve the typical tango music instruments and has a completely different rhythm. I have seen that whole tango communities have disrupted themselves on music and playing nontango music on milongas, so I try to be very careful with this subject. Nonetheless, I would like to write about a really nice gem of Nontango music, which is played on milongas sometimes.

Soha is a French singer of Algerian heritage and some people call her music Rhythm&Blues. She had her debut in 2007 with the album “D’Ici et d’Ailleurs”. The song we want to talk about is called “Mil Pasos”.

“Mil Pasos” has a beautiful Habanera rhythm and really nice Spanish lyrics. Actually it is a bit slow for a milonga and a bit quick for a tango, so I have problems to classify it. Perhaps, we can call it a slow milonga. Being played at milongas, it has been adapted as music for shows as well.

Let´s look at some different show adaptations, which can give us an impression on how to dance this really nice nontango piece. First starting with the masters Homer and Cristina in 2010. They are performing on a Tango Nuevo Festival. The dance style is liquid, changing between a wide open embrace for the high energy movements and a close embrace with very small movements.

Obviously, this song is well suited for Neotango, so let’s look at another couple.  Bruno Tombari & Mariangeles Caamano dancing the same song at the Alchemie Festival in Prague. Both seem to have lots of fun and there are some accidental Salsa (?) steps.

Another show here from Laure & Yannick Lhermitte from 2013. Even if it does not reach the technical perfection of Homer&Cristina, I actually like this one very much, because it is more calm and elegant.

The next performance is by Ted Row and Heather Morrow from 2012. Again the approach is tango liquid, changing from close embrace to open neotango.

One more example, danced by Flavinha and John Freddy in 2012. I picked this not because of the more artistic approach, but because of the solution to the problem of the quick beat.

The last one is danced by Barbara Carpino & Claudio Forte in 2010. A really strong and creative couple.

So please enjoy all these fabulous shows to a very nice nontango music. I am just wondering, why I still call this a nontango music ?




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