ROYAL DUTCH TANGO CONGRESS 2019 – The Hague
DJ Chimi-Churri was born in the UK, but earned her nickname as ‘hot’ DJ in the salons of Buenos Aires. (For the uninitiated, Chimi-Churri is a spicy, chili sauce.)
She has DJ-ed in well-known tango salons such as Canning, La Nacional, Las Malevas and in Bruno and Rocío’s milonga La Mandrilera, as well as other milongas in, and far beyond, the Argentinean capital. These include the ETI, a tango festival with over 1.300 dancers ranging in age from 14 to 84!
Chimi-Churri plays classic tangos organised in traditional tandas alternated with valses and milongas, but occasionally she also enjoys challenging a more experienced dance public with a tanda from a contemporary orchestra, such as Romantica Milongera or Tango Bardo, who give their own interpretation to the old classics.
She loves the challenge of fitting the music to the mood, and enticing as many dancers onto the floor as possible… nothing obscure or ‘interesting’, just good danceable music to make your feet itch to dance. (Friends have taken to calling her ‘the dancing dj’ as she herself is often unable to keep still… so feel free throw her a mirada/cabeceo once the tanda is up and running!)
TEN QUESTIONS WITH:
– a question of taste
Rank your favourite music style when playing:
Impossible question… no absolute favourites! Depends on the occasion… or if dancing, then it can also depend on the partner. But it would be hard for me to keep still during a milonga tanda.
Are you dancing yourself?
Absolutely! As much as possible… a friend even gave me a second nickname, ‘the dancing DJ’
Which year did you start to Dj?
What was the trigger that made you start DJing?
I was dancing one night and not really enjoying the music so I just thought, ‘If I was DJ I could play the music I like to dance to!’ so I offered to DJ at the Academia de Tango in Amsterdam and they took a chance and accepted… DJing encouraged me to listen to the music from a different angle, which in turn helped me understand it better… Plus it meant that my music library had to get organised… it was a mess before!
What is the main quality a DJ needs to have from your point of view?
Pay attention to the floor, the audience, make sure most people are dancing most of the time… Feel what is needed to keep the atmosphere… or to change it… Think about the dancers, not about showing off your knowledge of obscure music!
About cortinas: how long, why and kind of music?
Depends on the situation… I usually try to match the cortina to the mood of the upcoming tanda, and to contrast it with the tanda that just ended.
When I DJed at the ETI-La Falda festival in Argentina, where there were 1.300 dancers, the most difficult thing was the cortinas! I was used to playing them short, but there you needed a really long time for the dancers to get off the floor – it was in an amphitheatre – so I had to find cortinas that people could dance to, rock, salsa, whatever, whilst waiting for the crowd to clear and get to their tables.
What is your playlist system? Always the same or do you adjust it; when and why?
Always different! You can have an idea, but usually I’m changing things around after the first tanda, and sometimes even whilst the first dancers are changing their shoes.
Somebody comes to the Dj booth and asks you to play a song. Your answer?
I try to be polite, ‘We’ll see…’, is usually the best answer.
What would be your last song you played on a Tango Festival or Marathon?
Depends totally on the mood of the dancers, but I often like to end on an energetic note, some late D’Arienzo maybe… something with a bit of oomph… I try to live up to my DJ nickname (for the uninitiated, ChimiChurri is a spicy chili sauce).
If you would have a free wish, which Festival or Marathon would you like to play at?
At the La Plata Baila! tango festival in La Plata, Buenos Aires, an amazing festival, up to 2.000 dancers young and old, great energy, lots of live music… real ‘rock & roll’ tango… totally inclusive, none of that invitation only stuff, everybody is welcome, the way tango should be! They invited me to DJ this year but I couldn’t make it, so I really hope they invite me again!!
ETI tango festival, La Falda, Argentina
Tango Mango festival, UK
Amsterdam tango marathon
Tango Tangk, UK
In Buenos Aires at Salon Canning, La Nacional, Milonga de Chau Che, Las Malevas, La Mandrilera, and others. And at local milongas elsewhere in Argentina, Europe and the UK.