Sexteto Milonguero and Wild Women of San Francisco

The other night we had the pleasure of listening to the high lonesome sound of SEXTETO MILONGUERO! These guys and gal can really throw down some dancing music! The celebration was the 6 month anniversary of a new milonga, La Coqueta de Recoleta. Here in Buenos Aires the milongas are usually packed, unless it’s early (before midnight) or late (after 4 am). But La Coqueta is quite danceable, the floor is excellent, table service very good, and the building is really and truly a Palace! Sexteto Milonguero plays a repertoire of  tangos, milongas and valses arranged in the classic 1940s tango salon style. The group was formed in 2006 by singer Javier Di Ciriaco. Their music is high-energy, and made for dancing! Good music, good friends, good vibes!

Javier Di Ciriaco flashed his trademark white lightning smile as the band cranked out high-octane tangos, valses and milongas.

they can play fast milongas!

Sexteto Milonguero ended the show with two tandas in a row of classic milonga! If you tango you know what a rarity that is. The band was simply giving the crowd what they like best! All was astir in milonguero heaven!

view from backstage

Lucky us, we had seats backstage… the contrabajo player was on the floor fixing something with his wiring…  Javier started off with a piece new to us, and he was singing better than I have ever heard him.  I admit he used to remind me of Paul English, Willie Nelson’s drummer, who acted and dressed like the devil’s little brother. But I was pleasantly impressed! The 2 violins and 2 bandoneons screamed and wailed. We climbed down to the floor and spent the next couple hours dancing Tango… our favorite pastime and addiction!

Gervasio Ledesma, piano

La Coqueta de Recoleta is located in a beautiful 1913 home built by José González Balcarce and his wife Rosa Aguirre Anchorena, both members of the vintage upper crust of Buenos Aires society of the era.

dining room

Balcarce’s father was the godson of General San Martín, who gets major credit for driving the Spanish out of Chile, Peru and Argentina in the early 1800s. The Palacio Balcarce became the residence of the German Ambassador in the 1940s (it was a Nazi hangout), and later the headquarters of the Armed Forces Officers’ Club.  If only the walls could talk…

la sala

Currently there is a restaurant on the second floor, and space is available for special occasions, weddings, and the like. The dance floor is upstairs on the 3rd floor. Pretty sweet spot for a milonga, ¿qué no?

Palacio Balcarce, Quintana 161, Recoleta

Willow, Javier Di Ciriaco

Tango is about containing and being contained, existing and coexisting, letting go of loneliness.  Tango is improvisation is Freedom.

Did you know? There ARE other things to do in Buenos Aires besides tango. There are lots of great museums, for one, and its sidewalk cafés rank amongst the world’s finest! I’ve been studying Italian at the Dante Alighieri Association. The Italian language has been a passion for me since I first read the Divine Comedy, while I was an undergrad at UC Santa Cruz. I’m Italian on my mom’s side, and we have a ton of relatives in Italy! Here’s some photos from our dopo la sparatoria festa! (post-firing squad party!)

on Corrientes

quasi tutti!

thanks for your visit!

The good news is, we all passed our written and oral exams. And I hear there’s going to be another party this Saturday night at Bar de la Rue in Belgrano! Masks are requested but not mandatory. Ci vediamo!!

Speaking of fiestas, this lovely dancer, who had just finished a tango exhibition with her partner at La Nacional, was also celebrating her birthday! Don’t you love that sweet hopeful look on her face as she makes her wish?

Make a wish!

Yes, we were there also, with Ben’s daughter Courtney who spent a week here and took tango lessons just about every day. Way to go, girl!

she likes to tango, and...

she loves empanadas!

My excellent friend Marcela Hourquebie, superb dancer, fantastic tango teacher, judge of tango competitions (you may remember her from a previous post, Back on the Radar), celebrated HER birthday last weekend at Porteño y Bailarín:


This photo of us dancing at Porteño y Bailarín is for Ben’s mom Bess, who requested a nice photo of us dancing:

for you Bess!

Oops, she probably wants a photo where she can see HER SON’S FACE!! Sorry, Bess! It’s coming up very soon…. but first, our good friends Dolores and Guillermo:

wow man

Guillermo is sporting the mandatory three top buttons undone for the classic Latin lover AKA sexy tango dancer look! The tall guy, AKA Benjamín, has made it (with my help) to two buttons undone so far!

Dolores, me, and Jane from Anchorage!

She didn’t really have a big red spot on her face!  The lighting was strange last night but we kinda liked it!  Maybe Ben’s camera fell into the vino tinto?

and a fun time was had by all!

Jane and I at Fulgor de Villa Crespo

he loves the impressionist atmosphere!



“Weirdly, the morning after the event, it was the alpha females who were most memorable for me.

“‘A’ kept up a running monologue of ‘okay, this is the part of the song where you do the molinete…now pause HERE, and let me play…’ sheesh!  But, she was so much fun, who could resist?

“And ‘B’ who, when we first started to dance, I asked to please not rest her head on mine because I needed to move my head for navigation…. well, that didn’t work.  We ended up head-to-head both facing straight down to the floor, and bent over in an improbable, stylized tango embrace so I could watch her feet, because at every ever-so-slight cadence or pause in the music, she would start ‘chopping cabbages.’ I laughed out loud every time she took the reins.

“There was ‘C’ who told me I must not hold her in tight embrace, that she needed to “train” me, that she wanted her right arm to be placed just so, that here she would do a dip, all the while narrating the the intimate secrets of those dancing around us.  Shocking!

“And then there was ‘D’.  She took me on a joy-ride milonga like I had never had, or… did I take her? (it was hard to tell) Absolutely like driving a Maserati up the Amalfi coast, and I’m ready to plunge off at any moment.  Suddenly she stops dead.  ‘Why is it,’ she ponders, ‘people don’t stop during the milonga?’  I thought, what the hell, so I also stopped us dead several times during the song, and each time she moaned in pleasure, ‘yes, oh yes….’ It was a milonga interruptus.

“Sometimes it’s the Wild Women who are the most fun!”

Thanks, Ken! And to MY READERS: Do you like Ken’s story?  Send in your comments!


1:  you keep doing it
2:  every time you do it you feel happy
3:  it turns your life upside down but you don’t care.

Ciao from Buenos Aires!

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