Interview by Mona, Tango Synergy in collaboration with Sydney Tango for Milonga de la Gente
INTRO by Alex
I have known Frida for over five years and she never ceased to impress me with her vast expertise in music.
In my opinion, Frida is one of the most experienced and accomplished Tango DJ’s in Sydney. She is in high demand both inside and outside of Australia, and regularly DJ’s events around Asia.
She is a qualified music teacher, pianist, and accomplished tango dancer. She has an excellent understanding of Tango music and we are fortunate to have someone like Frida sharing her music and knowledge with us, in our community.
She not only has an abundant collection of Tango music, she knows how to deliver it with in a way that keeps dancers on the floor.
Thank you, Frida! We are looking forward to enjoy your music in October, at Milonga de la Gente.
INTERVIEW by Mona
- What represents music in your life? Tell us about your journey as a musician.
In one word “Happiness”. I cannot imagine my life without it. My journey started in Russia when I was about 5/6 years of age. At about this time, my mum took me to a music school and she said I was going to the play the piano. Since then music is a major part of my life. I finished my music degree in Moscow conservatorium, and became an educator of music and piano. I have been always fascinated with music, its history, musicians and the emotions that it creates in humans. I read about music, musicians and composers from a very early age and continue to do that now.
When I DJ, I try to translate songs, and read about the orchestras to have deeper understanding of the music that they have created for us to dance to.
- When did you start to DJ and why? A bit of history, local scene, international scene, musical background
I have been a DJ as well as a DJ coordinator for Tango Synergy since 2009. When Tango Synergy was formed, I was asked to DJ and share my knowledge of tango music. My musicality classes cover the history of Tango with a high focus on the musicality of six orchestras, mainly D’Arienzo, Biagi, Calo, Fresedo, Di Sarli & Pugliese. Realising that not everyone has had a background in music nor has studied or been exposed to music at an academic level, my classes aim to connect the tango dancer to the music of the orchestras by breaking down music complexities and concepts, and replace them with layman explanations while also emphasize the power of listening.
I believe that anyone can understand and learn music with such concepts and, armed with such tools, the dancer will be more confident and empowered on the Milonga floor.
I have thoroughly enjoyed my DJ experiences in Asia recently, including Singapore, Bali and Manilla. DJ’ing in another country provides you with a greater understanding of the music and tastes of the different tango dancers. This allows you to be more versatile and creative in order to adapt to the dancers. It makes it an interesting challenge and equally a gives a very new perspective for those dancers who are used to their local DJs.
- From where does your biggest inspiration come when you prepare a playlist?
First of all, my main approach when I DJ is not about being conceited in a spectacular playlist or about promoting oneself. The main role of the DJ, and this is pivotal, is to respect the dancers and to put yourself in their shoes on the dance floor.
Secondly, I try to create a common theme within a tanda. For example, a tanda relating to “farewell my love” would include: “Hasta siempre Amor”, “Nada Mas”, “Adios Corazon” and “Yo Se Que Te Adoro”.
I think you get my meaning.
Thirdly, I listen to different orchestras and try to determine which tangos may have not been played too many times, in the hope of introducing people to them. Or sometimes I play a well-known or familiar tango but with a different orchestra/singer. I usually place them as the third ‘song’ in a tanda of four. In this way, the leaders/followers have got accustomed to their partners without the surprise of dancing to something quite new.
- How do you choose your cortinas and how important the cortinas are?
Cortinas in my opinion, inject overall atmosphere for the whole evening. I normally have a specific music genre for the night, e.g. jazz, rock & roll, pop or folk. Saying that, I try not to make them too danceable, otherwise dancers would be tempted to break away from tango.
- And your favorite orchestra is…? Why?
This is a difficult question to answer. I love them all for varied reasons and each c
ontributes to the richness of tango. I cannot single out one particular orchestra. The variety of orchestras and singers instill different emotions, and these wake up your senses at different times and conditions. They are all my favorites.
- Top three must-have qualities for being a good DJ
a) Know your music
b) Have high fidelity recordings
c) Adapt to the evening
- What do you think is the biggest mistake a DJ can do in a milonga?
Not to read the floor. This is essential if you want to keep the energy alive and dancers on the floor. Often, a consistently crowded floor is the litmus test as to whether the music selection has been a good fit for the dancers.
- What is your DJ’ing routine from the moment you enter the milonga venue until the night is done?
I set up my computer, test the music, consider the floor space especially if I have the choice to move to be seated comfortably and announce the last tanda for the night so dancers can have one last chance on the floor.
- What do you enjoy more, DJing or dancing?
I enjoy both. My dancing provides me with the ability to understand the movements of a dancer to a specific tanda and to know whether a tanda is enjoyable. DJing helps me to learn more about tango music and share the love for music with dancers.
- You are a big supporter of live tango bands and young DJs. Tell us about your role in the community
I helped to introduce and support a few live tango bands into the community. I also actively mentored new DJ’s that expressed an interest. I continuously help beginners at the Tango Synergy practicas by dancing with them and advising them about tango musicality.
- Did you ever think to play your piano with any of the Sydney Tango bands in a special concert/milonga?
I am a classical pianist and I believe I might be able to play with a tango band. In saying that, I appreciate that this is a very demanding path and would require a lot of practice, high level of committment, and the preparation.
- In the end, a message for Milonga de le la Gente guests?
Arrive with good energy, positive vibes, and just relax and enjoy the night. Anticipate the best and you will find it.
That’s all folks!
Photos from Frida’s personal collection.