Archive for the ‘Krewe de Vieux’ Tag

CARNAVAL   Leave a comment

The celebrations of Carnaval began last night. In Buenos Aires 30 streets around the city were blocked so more than 30 corsos could take place every weekend until the end of February, Saturdays from 7pm – 2 am and Sundays from 7 pm to midnight. A corso is a carnival foot parade. More than 105 murgas with more than 17,000 members were chosen in pre carnaval competitions by panel of experts in music, wardrobe, dance and larger than life dolls and puppets. A murga is not quite like a Brazilian Samba School but more like a second line parade with a script. Murga has been one of the forms of social art that more grew in Argentina,  at the greater rate than the political and economic crises.

King Momo seized again the bodies and souls of more than 17,000 people, who got the 2009 Carnival dancing and singing in 105 murgas at the 30 corsos that were organized simultaneously in different districts from all the city. With ingenious names and colors the murgas, for more than ten years considered a cultural patrimony of the city, put rhythms to the barrios.

Carnaval celebrations go all the way back to 1869. That year the first corso took place in Buenos Aires, with comparsas of black and “blackened” whites, that shone with their costumes and their rhythm, while their singing and their wild and harmonic dancing shot legs and arms into the air. The music of La cumparsita, which means a small comparsa, was originally written as a marching song for a small murga of college students in Montevideo, Uruguay.

Back in the nineteen sixties, in the city of Buenos Aires the celebration of carnaval was a time of the year to let go of inhibitions and take to the streets to dance, parade and become part of a masked crowd that moved about the city engulfed in a cacophony of drums, chants and popular tunes. It was all about coming out.

As it happened during our parents’ and grandparents’ generations, all the popular social clubs offered the possibility to dance to the greatest orchestras of that time. The announcements filled full pages in the newspapers. Posters, fliers and hand bills were all over the city walls and sidewalks. In retrospect, the choices were overwhelming. Anibal Troilo in Avellaneda at the Racing Club. Osvaldo Pugliese in Atlanta at Villa Crespo. Juan D’Arienzo at Club Atletico Boca Juniors. Carlos Di Sarli at Velez Sarfield. Francisco Canaro at the Luna Park.

Carnaval was a time for venturing out and it was the greatest time to be young and bold at the end of summer in Buenos Aires. Carnaval was a time when eyes made the first contact from behind a mask, encouraging the shy to be daring, reassuring the undecided to take a chance to openly express the feeling of attraction.

That New Orleans, the Crescent City, is part of the United States baffles a visitor’s mind. Long after the city was acquired as part of the Louisiana Purchase, traces of nobility, aristocracy and the diversity of races, languages and cultural traits seem to preserve the rituals of celebration of the greatest free show on earth. They call it Mardi Gras, but it is carnaval minus tango. So we take a break from the ritual of the embrace and embrace the ritual of parades.


The Krewe de Vieux rolls through the French Quarter

More photos and videos HERE

2001 MARDI GRAS PARTY   1 comment

These are the images of the 2001 Mardi Gras Milonga at Pierre Maspero’s in New Orleans
Courtesy of Gary and Phyllis Breaux

After having crashed the Krewe de Vieux parade with our own Krewe of the Mistickal Nights of the Tango, we diverted our march to the original Pierre Maspero’s restaurant on the corner of Chartres and St. Louis. Being new to the city we went ahead with our plans to meet at Cafe Brasil in the Marigny, and joined the wacky Krewe de Vieux parade as the revelers began to make their way to the French Quarter. Later we found out that there is some sort of pecking order and even secret handshakes that discriminate participation from those who are recently arrived, come from Yankee territory and on top of that are fun and great hosts. The rumor is that one Kathy from Canal Street almost had the vapors when we inadvertently inquired about adding the Krewe of the Mistickal Nights of the Tango to the roster of the politically incorrect parade. Sorry K, get over it.

Left to right, there is Phyllis, Valorie, Gary, Eva and Eddie. Next is Warren and Phyllis showing off.

Julio with Barbara and the back of Edwin. Warren and Phyllis showing off again. Alberto with Phyllis

Eddie, Phyllis and Aaron. Eddie with Eva, and Ed and Barbara

Natalia and Eva. Natalia, Mary Ann and Phyllis. Warren and unidentified female

Eddie with Mary Ann. Alberto with Mary Ann. Gary and Phyllis

Julio with Valorie. Warren and Mary Ann. Julio and Alberto

Mary Ann, Phyllis and Warren. Eva and Edwin

Eddie and friend. Phyllis, Aaron and friend. Eva and Valorie

Joe and Sabina. Morgan

Phyllis and Gary. Aaron and Bruce. Eva and Gary

Sean, Eva, Julio, Phyllis and Gary. Alberto with Natalia. Ed and Barbara, Warren in the back

Alberto and Valorie. Ed and Barbara. Sean testing how far her back can bend without cracking

It was a great party with plenty of tango dancing and a warm feeling of camaraderie. It looks like this is going to be a nurturing, kind and gentle community to grow the city into a great tango destination.