Sunday, May 15, 2011

Flor de Milonga

We've been looking and looking... but all those trips to Buenos Aires and we have never had an opportunity to find a place which embodies the bohemia of Tango - something that was captured in the National Geographic's short documentary.  We wrote about it here, one of the very first posts that we posted on this blog - entitled, "Where it all Began":

Early hours of the morning...a smoky common-place cafe...people from all sorts of life, young, old, happy, sad - listening intently to music of the guitar and a passionate voice...a tango...a vals..the magic of the moment in the memories and emotions that we are sharing through the music...

...Well, we've been so busy every night we have been in Buenos Aires that we have never had the opportunity to find and experience such a place.  That is, until we went to Flor de Milonga!

Flor de Milonga is a little Tuesday night milonga in San Telmo, run by the enchanting and beautiful La Flaca Lucia and her companion in life and dance, Gerry.  The milonga is held in a loft-like space in a historic building in the barrio.  Climb up the narrow stairs to the second floor, go through the shaded tiled verandah, and you've stepped into another world - quite unlike any of the other milongas you may visit in Buenos Aires.

From the impromptu and surprising works of art on the walls, the intimate lighting, the cafe seating, and the luminous yet friendly bar at the end of the room - you will feel like you have stepped into a bohemian caberet.  Expect to mix not only with dancers, but also poets, writers, artists and musicians.  It's Paris of Picasso and Hemingway of the 1920's again - except in Buenos Aires.

We were very fortunate to attend the milonga on the first Tuesday of the month, where there's always the extra treat of music by the live Orquesta Tipica Personajes, with Juan Serafini and Alfredo Molina on bandoneon, Guillermo Ayos on guitar, Guillermo Ferrer on bass, and Julio Rodolfo singing.  All the musicians have had long careers in tango, in many of the famous tango orquestras of the past - and what wonderful music they play!  In keeping with the playful and relaxed atmosphere, people are welcome to dance to the many sets of live music - with the members of the orquesta interacting with the dancers, encouraging them as they pass by, applauding when dancers "get into the groove" and manage to express the music with their dancing as intended by the musicians.

I don't think words could really do the experience of Flor de Milonga justice - so here we will attempt to show you what we saw with our photos!

Orquesta Tipica Personajes
Alfredo Molina on bandoneon and Guillermo Ferrer on bass - a virtuoso duel of the instruments!
Alfredo Molina and Juan Serafini on bandoneon

Guillermo Ferrer on bass

Guillermo Ferrer on bass, Alfredo Molina and Juan Serafini on bandoneon

Julio Rodolfo

Julio Rodolfo

A view of the dance floor from the vantage point of the Orquesta Tipica Personajes

Past midnight, there was an open mic at Flor de Milonga.  The audience had a chance to sing and perform too with the live band.  This gentleman who sang looked like he stepped out from the past - a tough-guy compadrito from the barrio!

Open mic at Flor de Milonga with the tough-guy compadrito again.  His songs were filled with lunfardo, the underworld slang of Buenos Aires

Open mic at Flor de Milonga

At Flor de Milonga, there's a chance that you will find the famed Malena of song and story again - here are some videos we took of the incomparable Mariana Alpert.  What incredibly passionate, courageous and heartfelt singing!

Mariana Alpert - Romance de Barrio

Mariana Alpert - Muñeca Brava

Mariana Alpert.  Man Yung filmed this from the other side of the room - you get a really good view of the bar and the atmosphere of some of the audience in the room.  I think we have finally stepped into National Geographic's documentary.

A second singer also left an indelible impression - Marcela Marina.  She is beautiful, but shy - she wanted to sing from the dark corner at first, away from the spotlight!  Eventually everyone convinced her to come out into the light.  What a soulful voice she has - in the tradition of singers like Nelly Omar and Adriana Varela:

Marcela Marina - singing "Sur".  Who is that dancing in the background?

We bumped into the lovely young couple Walter Champín and Adriana Reta at Flor de Milonga.  They are taking classes with Osvaldo and Coca too at El Tacuarí - imagine our surprise at seeing them at the milonga!  They are wonderful, elegant and musical dancers - and also artists.  Adriana's work has been exhibited all over the world, including even Canada.  The link to Adriana's website is here.

Walter Champín and Adriana Reta dancing to live music at Flor de Milonga

We thoroughly enjoyed our evening at Flor de Milonga.  Many thanks to La Flaca Lucia and Gerry for organizing this magical evening and being such welcoming and friendly hosts - and for all of you who haven't yet had the opportunity to check their milonga out, don't miss it!

What an evening!  La Flaca Lucia, Gerry, and members of Orquesta Tipica Personajes
For more information, here's the link to the website for Flor de Milonga.

Flor de Milonga's very pretty, very cute waitress Andrea.  Her eyes are really big - just look at how tiny our eyes are compared to hers!  And she dances tango too!


Muñeca de pelo rosa said...

Hola Irene y compañero.
Les agradecemos mucho por las fotos y las filmaciones que hicieron en Flor de Milonga.
Esperamos verlos nuevamente.

Un saludo

Orquesta "Personajes"

Luciaygerry said...

Hi Irene and Man! thank you very much for your kind words.
We hope to see you next time you visit.
A big hug from Buenos Aires.

La flaca Lucia

Flor de Milonga!!

Irene and Man Yung said...

Queridos Orquesta Personajes, Lucia y Gerry,

Muchas gracias por una noche inolvidable!

Irene y Man Yung

Tangocommuter said...

Many thanks for that. I can't wait! Great photos, too.


Toronto Weather

Buenos Aires Weather