These documentaries, directed by Gabriel Soria, were produced for the Sólo Tango TV station (now TangoCity) and released between 2000 and 2005. Approximately 55 episodes were made. The list below is very incomplete; I welcome any comments and corrections. I provide links to the episodes available online.
Between 1995 and 1998, the Argentine TV channel Volver screened a series of tango documentaries. The series was directed by Eduardo Berti, and includes valuable testimonies from many great musicians and vocalists, as well as commentary from journalists and collectors. As is often the case with things tango-related, there is very little information available about them. The list that follows was reconstructed from references found in magazines, newspapers, and other reliable sources. I managed to obtain copies of most episodes, which I have since uploaded to my YouTube channel and which you can watch by clicking on the corresponding links below.
The discographies of the tango orchestras are scattered all around the web. Below is my best attempt to make the relevant links all available in one place. When I found more than one discography for a given orchestra, I chose the one which seemed most complete and reliable. I plan to keep this post updated, so if you think I’m missing something, please let me know.
Update: See here for my current attempt to improve on these discographies. The links below will gradually link to my own discographies, as they become available.
I am admittedly not a big fan of Pugliese. There is an exception to my reservations about his orchestra, however: his collaboration with Jorge Vidal. Unfortunately, Pugliese and Vidal recorded only seven tangos together (plus one milonga), so the options for a DJ are very limited. To spice things up and challenge seasoned dancers, I sometimes substitute ‘Testamento de arrabal’ with Argentino Galván’s ‘Pa’ mí es igual‘ (1951), which also features Vidal on vocals. (Galván arranged some songs for Pugliese in the mid-40’s, and his orchestra, while clearly distinct in style, shares some similarities with that of the celebrated pianist from Villa Crespo.) Another possible substitution is Galvan’s ‘Cuando yo me vaya’ for ‘La cieguita’: while musically the song doesn’t fit as nicely, the lyrics are evocative of both ‘Testamento de arrabal’ (“Tan sólo una cosa pido, que me llore un bandoneón”) and ‘Puente Alsina’ (“A la barra de Boedo, Caballito y Puente Alsina”).
When I started dancing and listening to tango music two years ago, I quickly discovered that one of the easiest ways to identify an orchestra was to pay attention to the final two chords of the song (the dominanc-tonic, characteristic “chan-chan” ending ). Each orchestra plays those chords in its own, distinctive way, so by learning how the chords sound like, one can infer the orchestra even of songs one is unfamiliar with. The video below, which I created a while ago for my own amusement, provides a sample of the tango endings of 20 of the most popular tango orchestras. I am now posting it here in case it is of interest to readers of this blog.