Friday, 15 June 2012

Voodoo Milonga Club

In April 2012 a small group of visionaries met at the Cantina Voodoo Cafe, Darlington. Among them were the cafe proprietors, Les and Kendra, and the tango dancers, Stephen and Stephanie supported by their tanguero friends who just love to dance.

This was the moment that gave birth to a new tradition: the Voodoo Milonga Club. The idea was to create a new milonga experience in Darlington. For inspiration, we gazed back to the 1920's in Buenos Aires, when the early immigrants to Argentina who danced on the stone flags of La Boca, first got together to hire a room. This was what we would do - a meeting place where everyone could sit, relax, eat, drink, dance, watch, meet, chat and chill. Yes, those who wanted to dance could get up and dance or take the early faltering steps that eventually fascinate and ensnare the would-be dancer in tango. And those who simply want to watch, or listen to the intricate, delicious music from the Golden Age of tango, could do just that.

With our dance shoes strapped across our shoulders, Stephanie and I walked the historic gates of Darlington - through Houndgate, across Blackwellgate into Skinnergate where, at number 84, the Voodoo Cafe announced its presence with the faint sound of tango. The tables had been pulled to the sides of the room and the warm glow of the bar cast intimate shadows into quiet corners. The scene was authentic 1930's Buenos Aires.

Dancers and watchers arrived, to be met with smiles and hugs. A tradition of Buenos Aires is the greeting - the most important part of genuine connection between two people. In Argentina, the hug is ubiquitous, and so forms part of the Voodoo Milonga experience. Colin and Joan, Catherine and Phyllis, Geoff and Corinne, Jayne, Morgan and Kat, Greg and Sarah were the early arrivals, taking to the floor, or simply chatting and watching. Voices of English, Spanish, Haitian Creole and French curled like smoke amongst the tango music of Rodriguez, Donato, Canaro, Biagi and Verela. Shards of light were created by the contemporary tango of Otras Aires, Bajo Fondo and Gotan Project.

So, what of the future? Our tango dream has taken form. The Thursday haven of beautiful tango music and dance is now a new reality. A place where friends meet, enjoy an embrace, share a glass of Malbec or Champagne, taste the flavours of burritos, chimichanga, feijoadas and fajitas. An oasis of Latin culture in the sea of turbulent English life.

If you dance, perform, sing, play or simply love to soak up the atmosphere of something new and entirely different, join us at the Voodoo Milonga Cafe. It will probably change your life.

1 comment:

  1. What an achievement. Incepted in April 2012, by February 2013 the Voodoo Milonga Club was awarded runner-up in the Lukas Awards for 2012 - just slightly behind the famous 'The Light' in London. Thanks to all who voted for us in this very popular category.


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