Tango Music arranged by Bendrew Jong

Bendrew Jong is an accomplished tango dancer in the San Francisco Bay Area. He is also a musician with a deep passion for tango music. He transcribes, translates the lyrics, and remixes and performs the Golden Era tangos, including singing them. That’s his voice you’ll hear on all the tangos below. You can catch Ben most Wednesday evenings at Cellspace milonga, on Bryant at 18th streets, SF, 8pm til midnight. When not being obsessed with tango, Ben works as an award-winning architect. He’d love to hear from you. His contact info:

Bendrew Jong, FAIA, Architect
2907 Claremont Avenue, Suite 110
Berkeley, CA 94705
(510) 883-0800 work
(510) 984-4888 skype
(925) 818-0800 cell

Con Tu Mirar (1930 Eusebio Fiorno y Noberto Canosa_arr. B.Jong como Enrigque Roriquez 1939

Ben writes of Con tu Mirar: << Song #7 for 2011 is Con Tu Mirar, written in 1930 by Eusebio Giorno with lyrics by Noberto Canosa.  The version I liked was by Enrique Rodriquez in 1939 so this is the version I learned, translated, and sing for you  (while I was watching the Superbowl yesterday).  There’s a whole second verse unsung due to the diligence of these songs to be under 3 minutes! I like vals (waltz), and this is a beautiful traditional golden era waltz that isn’t played a lot. Well, the Porteño is still deeply in pain…this time by just remembering a woman’s gaze…thus “with your gaze” or “Con Tu Mirar”…as he sings plaintively, he would rather die than to live without her gaze!>>

Silueta Porteña (1946 Nicolás Cuccaro y Juan Cuccaro_arr. B.Jong como Francisco Canaro)

Ben writes of Silueta Porteña: <<I played in an open music jam with Homer (Ladas) on Sunday.  Just beginning tango musicians, although I did meet violinist from San Francisco who was very good and wants to perform and is near retirement.Anyway, Homer’s wife Cristina sang Silueta Porteña…an old standard…and I realized I never learned it or put it into my repertoire, so yesteraday, I transcribed it from the Canaro version and recorded my own version with my own singing.>>

Corazón (1939 Carlos Di Sarli_arr. B. Jong como Di Sarli)

Ben writes of Corazon: <<Yes I really don’t have a life. This proves I can score and learn a song in one day.  After I gave you song #11 for the year this morning, I kinda remembered that Corazón had the same theme…(hey, the Porteño is nothing if not consistent!)  Here I found lyrics by Barbara Salas…and again the man is on bent knees seeking forgiveness…even evoking God to help out…or (again) he will have to die!!!! Carlos Di Sarli had a long, long career, and not without controversy.  Although said to be difficult to work with, his career spanned many years, and some of his signature songs represent the last of the Golden Era in 1956. This one is an middle of his career tango which is a standard at dances, and which has signature Di Sarli piano runs.   A fast tango…68 beats to the minute…the heart is racing a bit…well of course…he’s speaking to his “corazón”…his own heart beat!!!!! (Although these songs I’m sharing with you are meant to be rough drafts for my Orquesta Z performances, you are welcome to share them.  Where I don’t translate the words, I try to give credit to where I found the translations and hopefully you’ll give me credit for my work.) Anyway, here’s Corazón, song #12 for 2011. (and here’s hoping that we all have the love that is coming to us!)>>

Amurado (1927 Pedro Maffia_Pedro Laurenz_arr. B.Jong como Pedro Laurenz)

Ben writes of Amurado: <<This piece is largely instrumental and is a vehicle for outstanding and very fast bandoneon runs.  Finished it last week after Portland. The lyrics in bold are the only lines sung, and of course the Porteño is sad again!  He’s growing old and left to his own dark solitude.  Of course his true love left him!  (I’m beginning to think I’m the Porteño…maybe that’s why I can sing all these songs, eh?) So here’s Amurado…a nautical term meaning tacking…as the man is left tacking in the wind!!!!!>>

Quiero Verte Una Vez Más (1939 Mario Canaro_arr. B.Jong como Francisco Canaro)

Ben writes of Quiero Verte . . . : <<The title says it all again “I want to see you one more time”  before I go to my forgotten corner and quietly die.  So dramatic..eh? I arranged and sang this after the 1939 version by Francisco Canaro.  The song is written by Mario Canaro.>>

Lejos de Tí (1938 Manuel Meaños_arr. B.Jong como Rodolfo Biagi)

Ben writes of Lejos de Ti: <<Got up early this morning and finished song #13 for the year…really a birthday waltz for my L.A. milonguera friend Mona! There’s a famed milonga on the outskirts of Buenos Aires named Sin Rumbo…in the Villa Urquiza area.  Largely locals…quite wonderful really…with warm beautiful people. Well, like our friend the Porteño,  “sin rumbo” means without course or direction.  Here he is again, in life, without direction…but away from his true love…maybe one day he’ll return? I love waltzes, and I think Biagi is the master, with his deceptively simple arrangements full of piano, violin, bandoneon embellishments.  Short and sweet, and the epicenter of golden era tango vas…with only a short couplet of lyrics that says it all…So here it is…Lejos de Tí by mi Orquesta Z in an arrangement performed by Rodolfo Biagi in 1938.>>

¿A Quién le Puede Importar_ (1939 Mariano Mores_arAgostino)

Ben writes of A Quien le Puede . . .: <<Oooo, the Porteño’s sad again…this time the sound of the bandoneon reminds him of his lost love, his misfortune.  I swear the Porteño is me in another embodiment.  Or else why do I find myself learning and singing these songs with such alacrity? This is a 1939 piece written by a 19 year old pianist Mariano Mores, with lyrics by the great Enrique Cadícamo.  The arrangement I chose is taken from a recording by Angél D’Agostino and originally sung by Angél Vargas, the famed pairing known as  “Los Dos Angeles”.  My recording was scratchy and broken, but I think I got this song right I was attracted to the great musicality of D’Agostino’s arrangement, but this piece was actually one of the hardest ones for me to notate and transcribe…there are no repeating lines, every verse has it’s own embellishments and voicing. It makes for the very rich sound of D’Agostino and seems appropriate for the song…a song, and a music, that haunts the singer, hearing the cry’s of the bandoneon. Quite different from the Milonga Sentimental I sent you this morning, with it’s regular habenero cadence. Anyway it’s late at night (early in the morning) but I thought I’d share this song with you at the beginning of the week before immerse myself in my architecture practice! Here’s Song #15 for the year:    ¿A Quién Le Puede Importar?  performed by me, Orquesta Z.>>

Milonga Sentimental (1931 Sebastián Piana_arr.-B. Jong como Canaro) 2

Ben writes of Milonga Sentimental: <<I mentioned attending Homer Lada’s music jam last month a Stanford.  And I was asked to sing this song and realized I never had learned it!  So now three weeks later, I translated the words, wrote the music arrangement (this one by Canaro), and learned to sing it, even dubbing in the harmony with myself. Milonga Sentimental was written in 1931, 80 years ago, by Sebastián Piana.  There’s a fascinating transcript of his last interview made by his nephew in 1994 (in todotango.com), one month before Piana passed away.  In the interview they talk about the “milonga revolution” credited to Piana and his lyricist Homero Manzi in the writing of Milonga Sentimental.  Piana claims that up to the time that he created this tune, the milonga was largely associated with the pampas and folkloric, with the habanero beat (from Cuba via Spain), used as the rhythmic backdrop to folk free verse rap.  When asked to compose a “milonga” by Manzi for a singer, Sebastián channelled his understanding of this pampas-based milonga sound and created a new sound that had a tango structure, which he termed “milonga porteña”. You can hear the habenero beat  put into his composition Funny that Piana, I consider as one of the great Argentine composers, had to hang around orchestra’s at the time with his music in hand because he was not acceptable.  Just like today, new composers are never considered to actually be able to write tangos (or at least what the current convention was).  Piana never made enough money to live on as a composer, but ended up playing in silent movie houses, and then teaching music for a living! So here’s my tango #14 for the year, the classic Milonga Sentimental, interpreted by me, Orquesta Z from a 1939 Francisco Canaro recording of this song.>>

Por Qué Voy a Sobrar (2011 Zhango_arr. B.Jong)

Ben writes of “Por Que Voy a Sobrar”: <<So, after transcribing and learning so many tangos this year, it was time to try my hand at composing another new tango. I like tango waltzes (vals), so traditionally happy in sound and so sad (typically) in content! Last week after coming home from Cell Space milonga in San Francisco, I found myself in a familiar happy/sad state.  Danced wonderful dances, and yet as usual, go home alone, watching all my dance partners go home late at night.  As I said, I’m turning into one of those lonely “porteños”.  So I made it into a song…noodled the melody on my piano, wrote the lyrics in English and created a rough (very) Spanish translation, and finished it all in two nights (still had to do architecture during the day!). Originally entitled “Why do I go home alone”…I changed the Spanish word solo to the verb sobrar “to be left over”…which I thought more interesting. So here’s my first draft of the song. I gave the lyrics to my friend Cristina for correction/editing, but I really like this piece and wanted to share this draft with you.  Any of you are welcome to comment and correct as well.  The ending line may not be perfect grammar, but it rhymes and I think gets the point across.  So here’s #16 song for 2011, but only #2 for new compositions:  ¿Por Qué Voy a Sobrar? by me, Orquesta Z.>>

Blackbird (Mirlo) (2009_11 Zhango_arr.-B.Jong)
Ben writes of “Blackbird”: <<After I finished song #15, I revisited an earlier piece I originally  arranged in 2009 based on the Beatles “Blackbird”.  I originally sang it in English…this version I finished this morning is a bit faster (the earlier one was too slow) and I translated and sang this in Spanish. So I thought I’d share with you my revised version of Blackbird, by Orquesta Z!>>