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DJ 'El Portenito' - Interview for SydneyTango Easter Saturday Autumn Celebration Milonga 31 March 2018

INTERVIEW with DJ Martin Cohen of Tango Pasión

DJ 'El Portenito' at SydneyTango Milonga 31 March


                                        Martin is known in Australia and Argentina as ‘El Portenito’ and from the outset the

                                        ‘Guardia Vieja’ and ‘Epoca de Oro’ music has been central to his DJ-ing.
                                        In an engrossing personal interview, Martin has shared some personal confidences

                                        of his thoughts on Argentine Tango music.


                                        Please also hear his 50 minute ABC Radio National programme ‘Tango Argentino –

                                        A Passionate Embrace’ via link on homepage of website

Interview with Sima

Question 1:  How did you first become attracted to Argentine tango music?

Martin:  An enduring memory of my captivation with tango music was hearing the CD with Argentine-born Daniel Barenboim ‘Tango Entre Amigos’, which evoked his early connection with tango music and illustrated the many musical influences from different cultures which creates the hypnotic and compelling effect of this magical music.

In 2000, after some years of lessons with Daniel Mahni, my wife Anna and I revisited Buenos Aires. There we heard 'real' milonga music - occasionally with live orchestras. On this visit I first met the superb DJ Mario Orlando, and I knew I wanted to bring something of this experience back to Sydney - so my desire to be a tango DJ was born.

Question 2: What is important in the making of a great tango DJ? Knowledge of the music or understanding the special needs of tango dancers?

Martin:  Absolutely both! My first tango teacher Daniel Mahni always said ‘It begins with the music!’ And if you do not understand what a dancer feels, you cannot satisfy their needs.
To take the dancers on an authentic musical journey, you must also have a comprehensive knowledge of the development of tango music.
During my 18 years of visits to Buenos Aires, I have been fortunate to develop a special connection with the best of the Buenos Aires DJs, as well as some veteran milongueros, some contemporary musicians and composers and tango historians. With them I've had many discussions on what makes a great milonga evening - and how to develop and maintain the flow of the musical journey, from the completeness of each individual tanda, to the links between the different orchestras.

Question 3: How do your many years as a tango dancer influence your choice of tango tracks to play at a milonga?