Tango Indulgence

“There are no full stops in nature; neither is there absolute silence. The world and everything in it would have to stop breathing. Musicians and dancers know perhaps better than anyone else about this subconscious hum that accompanies us in ordinary and extraordinary life. Composer Carl Nielsen spoke to this when he said, ‘For what is … a rest? It is a continuation of the music; a cloth draped over a plastic figure, concealing part of it. We cannot see the figure under the draping, but we know … that it is there; and we feel the organic connection between what we see and what we do not…. The rests, then, are just as important as the notes. Often, they are far more expressive and appealing to the imagination’ (Fisk and Nicholas 1997:216). Dancers and musicians are constantly playing with pauses, creating the illusion of stillness or silence, balancing interpretations between moments of overpowering sound and movement and those illusory moments in which there appears to be nothing.”
Anya Peterson Royce, Anthropology of the Performing Arts (142)

One of my favorite parts of tango is playing with pauses, creating those moments where, to an outside observer, it looks like we’re still. But within the embrace, I can feel the hum of energy. I can feel our breath and anticipation, and even in the quietest moments I can feel the music all around me.

Argentine tango, danced socially, is quite a bit different from the passionate display you see on stage. For me, it is expressive and playful and all about becoming absorbed in the music, finding and feeling that balance between overpowering movement and the illusion of stillness. To illustrate, I offer you one of the only videos I’ve ever seen of (gulp) me dancing tango, from about four years ago:

New Music: Broken Fences

While scrolling through my Facebook feed, I saw that a friend posted the song “Stormy Clouds,” by Broken Fences. I almost skimmed past it. I already had music on. But at the last second I paused my music and gave it a listen — and I think you should do the same:

Beautiful indie folk music by two singers who create lovely harmonies together. And you can download the album (4 songs total) for just $3.97.

Not enough for you? Check our their first album (including the song in the music video above) or find out more about the duo on their website.

Bonus: On their website, you can find a cover of “Two-Headed Boy” by Neutral Milk Hotel. Sweet!

Earworm: Ageh Ye Rooz

This is a song that I never get tired of. Something about the melody just sticks in my head, and I find myself humming it for hours after I listen to it. It doesn’t hurt that the singers, Faramarz Aslani and Dariush, have such lovely voices. I got to see them live in concert in Los Angeles a couple years ago, and it was well worth the trip.

I’ll put this song on repeat a dozen times in a row. (Not kidding. I have to put on headphones to avoid driving everyone around me crazy.) The singing, the guitars, the drums … everything just flows. I think that’s why I can’t sit still when this song is on, either. Something about it just compels me to move. I don’t dance as well as the Persian women I know, but I sure try!

The song is titled “Ageh Ye Rooz” (اگه یه‌ روز), which means If One Day in Farsi (Persian). If you want to know more about the lyrics, check out this translation — it includes spoken recordings for each line of the song, plus vocabulary exercises. (That site has a ton of other songs and resources, too, if you’re interested in learning Farsi or just curious about Persian culture.)

Note: I’ve been listening to this song continuously since starting to write this blog post. Hitting play the first time is what inspired me to write about it, and I can’t bring myself to stop. I’ll just hit that repeat button one … more … time …