The inimitable Tav Falco has lead the unapproachable Panther Burns since the 1970s. The ditch-diggers of American music, idiosyncratic and effervescent, purveyors of arcane wisdom. Panther Burns have howled their way from Memphis out around the globe through those six decades bewitching, beguiling and sometimes bemusing fans of the blues, old soul and good old rock’n’roll. We’ve checked in with Tav often along the way. We even had a previous Christmas sojourn back in 2016. So of course we were going to ask Tav to join in with our December wide “Bunch of Five” project. Mr Falco went above and beyond and provided us with a mighty missive detailing his recent move out East and laying out his five great things... We’ve split it into 12 parts and we’re sharing it one day at a time to see everybody through into the New Year. It’s the twelve days of Tav-mas! Part four today is Tango day... If you’re just joining us you can go right back to the start here ⇒
The Twelve Days of Tav-Mas! - Tav Falco - Day Four
Another motivation is Tango Argentino - a dance I am obsessed with. Soon as I got off the plane in Buenos Aires, I was dancing in La Confitería Ideal. A dance of embrace between partners yes, but more of an amorous relationship between partners. A dance bristling with passion, with daggers, with silhouettes of feline grace, and with moans of betrayal. As Isadora Duncan wrote, "From my first timid steps I felt my pulses respond to the enticing languorous rhythm of this voluptuous dance, sweet as a long caress, intoxicating as love under southern skies, cruel and dangerous as the allurement of a tropical forest."
For four months I hung on in the port city living at Hotel Uruguay in San Telmo – the barrio of Candombe, which is a form once danced by Brazilian blacks who had populated the area. From the elegant El Maracaibo consecrated by self-blinded, piano maestro Carlos DiSarli, to Club Almagro, to Salon Canning, and to the milonga of La Viruta, I danced the nights away. Each barrio in Bs.As. has its particular style of dancing recognizable to the eye of the aficionado. Eventually I was drawn to an offbeat milonga in the barrio of San Telmo where my mentor Gustavo Naviera started his career, and I too became an habitué.
The reaching arm of Destiny has provided a Tango enclave here in my town where I move across the floor with polished, terpsichorean Thais. We practice under a talented Filipino maestro for Tango is a life-long process of devotion and practice not unlike holy orders or a kind of Zen-of-the-embrace in motion.
TF – returns to La Conventicola Degli Ultramoderni, Rome July 2022