Steve plays bando

Isadora Duncan


Django Tango at work

Introducing Django Tango

Django Tango is the DJ persona of Steve Morrall. Django Tango is a tango DJ with a passion for the dance. He is a lifelong musician who plays tango piano and bandoneon for dancers, a tango dancer and tango instructor. He plays tango music that over the years dancers have told him they want to dance to and not what he thinks they should dance to.

Django is a DJ who knows what tango music people like to dance to. By carefully watching the dance floor, he sculpts the music intuitively to dancers' moods and energy levels. A library of over 7000 tracks ranging from the earliest tango recordings to the latest in neo-tango is stored and played using a computer, enabling rapid changes of genre and mood to match the spirit of the dancers. 

Tango music is an incredibly rich and focussed genre. At its best, I find a three minute tango as musically inspiring and challenging as a Tchaikovsky symphony.

I play music in tandas, sometimes with, sometimes without a cortina. A tanda is a selection of three or four tracks in the same genre, with the same structure. I like to think that if the first track of a tanda inspires someone to dance, the remaining tracks in the tanda will also inspire them. Tandas also help tangueros who know their music to choose a dance partner that they like to dance to certain orchestras or genres with. A cortina (curtain) is a short track which separates the tandas with a musical 'curtain'. For example, I sometimes use the first 18 seconds of Chopin's 'minute waltz' speeded up by 8% to make it clearly undanceable, and played at 80% of the normal volume. A cortina signifies the end of a tanda and is a signal that the music is about to change. It gives dancers who understand the code of tandas time to take their partner back to their seat, say their thank you and listen for the start of the next tanda's theme to decide if they want to dance or rest.

As well as playing classics from the great orchestras from the golden era of tango, I play neotango and contemporary music that over the years people have voted to dance to with their feet and voices.

Without a spanish speaking heritage, dancers in the UK often miss out on a vital stimulus in tango - an understanding of the lyrics. As well as playing authentic tango music, I will sometimes play songs from our own culture that have clear and outspoken lyrics or melodies that touch the soul and spirit of tango and help us to dance what we feel through the words as well as the music.

I choose music which follows a dynamic curve. Its like writing a story with an introduction, a development, a climax and a finale. 

Django Tango attended a tango DJ workshop at El Corte in Nijmegen where participants were asked to design the perfect tango event. Django's group came up with a proposed location, music playlist, dynamic content, ambience lighting and venue layout that Eric Jeurissen (El Corte's owner) voted for as the 'place he would most like to go'.

A wrongly placed track by Pugliese can be like releasing a lot of bulls in a shop full of red china.

Tangueros visiting us from all over the world comment on Steve's choice of music. "I have been to milongas where the music is like uninspired wallpaper." says Brian, a tanguero from Southampton. "By comparison, Django Tango's music is as stimulating as an art gallery."

As with anything in life, you can have too much of a good thing, so it is vital to watch the dance floor and provide dancers with well timed breaks from the tango classics so they can clear their 'dance palette' and recharge their energy levels.

Some DJs think that you can put a CD on and let it play for a few tracks and sit back and do nothing.

I have been to milongas where the poor choice of music has had such a profound effect on me I have wanted to leave, having driven for a hour and paid the entrance fee!  In tango argentino," he says, "the music IS the dance. You have to feel it course in your veins and move your spirit. This is what drives me to play music for tangueros. I hope to see you at one of my events and that Djangology makes you want to dance all night."

If you want to book a guest DJ spot by Django Tango
please contact Steve on 023 8073 8061 or 07793 847500.

Other music articles and features on the website are: 

Djangology | Tango Djuke Box (linking to iTunes) | Me and my bandoneon | The need for NeoTango


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