Wednesday, 22 July 2009

Candombe, Canyengue - crowdsourced

Well that worked out well. I asked about candombe and the comments came up with all sorts of interesting things. Here's a followup post with the videos from those comments embedded.

First of all, Simba has a post about a documentary about candombe. That looks like a good place to start if you're interested. Tangocommuter suggested a book, perhaps to be treated with caution.

Maya had taken a candombe class with Paul and Michiko some years ago, and she found two examples of candombe being danced. Game Cat said this one looked like 'giros on E after a pint of Red Bull and bag of sugar ... it also looks fun'. (I thought E just made you warble inanely and love everybody, but I wasn't a Hacienda chick). Anyway I agree with him that it's a bit swingy and jivey and has a very 'live' connection. I also think they're pretty much doing the same things a lot of people who prefer to dance in open embrace do for a fast milonga. I'm not personally crazy about that style as applied to milonga, I prefer close embrace, but I do think it makes a lot more sense here.

Here's Maya's second example, a nice choreography that tells a story about itself, from Companhia Milonga Candombe:

Here are Facundo and Kely Posadas, also mentioned by Maya. I can hear the drums clearly in this one. This is mostly close embrace, but it also feels to me as though it's a little bit more its own thing; clearly there's a strong relationship to milonga, but I think a dancer of cuban salsa could find something familar too.

Now here's something that looks very different, and to music that's also quite different, but has some things in common: Canyengue. I hear brass I mean woodwind instruments, but not drums. This is exactly the same as what I was taught a couple of years ago as Canyengue. Definitely 'centripetal'. Marta Anton and Manolo 'El Gallego':

AFAIK the couple who taught me this (Paul and Michiko again) learned it from Rodolfo and Maria Cieri: the video TC linked to of them is interesting to watch too but has embedding disabled. I think Canyengue is a bit of a reconstruction. Which is fine by me. Anyway I remember it feeling very good, and for some reason doing wonders for my close-embrace tango, I wish I could dance it more often.

Interesting to compare and contrast both music and dances. Right, I seem to have picked up a stupid cough on my holidays, so you can think about the above while I go and breathe eucalyptus in a cloud of steam.


ghost said...

Seeing as you don't do E, I believe Gamecat is indeed correct.

My understanding is that E basically red-lines your "flight or fight" response whilst giving you a serious case of the warm and fuzzies. Hence the whole danger of dying. Your body simply isn't designed to be red-lined repeatedly for long periods of time and your judgement's seriously impaired.

However I did meet a guy who found he could keep pace with people dancing on E by a combination of staying relaxed and economy of motion so that might be worth trying if you do Candombe.

msHedgehog said...

I don't even know what red-line means!

ghost said...

In any given gear an engine will work happilly up to a given number of revs. After that point it will literally start to scream. This point on the line onwards of the dial is usually in red.

Rev counter

Thus to redline something is to push it past normal operating limits - doing so for any length of time is a bad idea, but sometimes is the lesser of two evils. Likewise you might risk it in a racing car on the final stretch or to overtake. However there comes a point in a car when your engine will most likely die and start billowing smoke but you can replace that. With a human body....

msHedgehog said...

I was thinking something like 'flatline' - wrong field of view entirely!

ghost said...

Same end result though....

Tangocommuter said...

I made a comment about candombe and canyengue to the last post -- but it was too late to make it into this one!

Canyengue might not altogether be reconstruction. People like Rodolfo, who danced with Maria, learned it in the 1940s, well within living memory of its historical era, which was up to around 1900.

Tangocommuter said...

...and it occurred to me that dancing some canyengue might be a great introduction before learning to dance tango. It's not as serious, but has many similar elements; it requires following a beat very clearly, and a close hold.

Tangocommuter said...

PPS. (sorry about this...) Facundo told Robert Farris Thompson that when he was a child, in 1945 or thereabouts, the candombe drums used to play at the Shimmy Club in Buenos Aires for black audiences, who used to go into trance at the sound, and he was warned not to bother people in this state.

There are 19th century descriptions of candombe dance as a kind of line dance. Facundo observed: 'The candombe of today is not the candombe danced a long time ago. But the little that remained we put into the milonga.'

Anca Gheaus said...

Dear Ms H,

Hi, I have been following your blog for an year or so and really enojoy it. I mostly live and dance in Munchen, but I travel a lot so maybe I'll be in a London milonga again soon (btw thanks for the reviews, I baaneited a lot from them already :-)

Great post. One and a half year ago I had some candombe lessons in Munchen with Ruben Terbalca. I loved it and it did feel very much like milonga; close embrace, too. You can see a sample here:

Ruben was/is teaching milonga and canyengue together.

From what I know, candombe is actually an ancestgor of milonga, as these Bajofondo-Zitarrosa song lyrics say: "La milonga es hija del candombe
asi como el tango es hijo de la milonga."

msHedgehog said...

Hi Anca! I agree he's pretty much dancing milonga in that video. But there are drums in the instrumentation, although we can't hear them very well. It's possible that it's a characteristic instrumentation that makes it 'candombe' at least for some people, rather than - or maybe as well as - any specific rhythm, but I don't know. Glad you're enjoying the blog, thanks for commenting!