Festival Theme: La Poesia del Abrazo

Tango is far more than just a dance. It’s a three-part art form, including music and poetry, as well as the dance that we love so much! But for those of us who don’t speak Spanish fluently, it takes some focus and exploration to connect with the poetry of tango. This festival provides you with the tools and context to do just that!

The premise of this festival is that, whether or not we speak Spanish, a small investment of time and effort in exploring tango’s poetry can help us enjoying dancing tango even more.

This festival gives you the opportunity to get to know the poets who wrote the beloved classics, and the poets who are still writing today; to become familiar with the famous lyricist-composer duos whose magic yielded some of the greatest treasures of the art form; and even to practice writing tango lyrics yourself. You don’t need to share them with anyone, if you don’t want to. Just engaging in the composition process offers great opportunities for deepening our appreciation and understanding.

We’re very honored to have Argentine tango & lunfardo scholar and poet Matias Mauricio joining us (for the first time in the US!) to lecture, teach writing workshops, and collaborate with many of the festival dancers and musicians.

We’re also thrilled to have Ayano Yoneda, creator of the Tango Poetry Project, participating in the festival as a teacher & performer, DJ, and also lecturer.

We thought about it, and it didn’t make all that much sense to just practice writing tango lyrics, without a melody and harmony. So, the festival will also feature workshops aimed to help you understand a bit of the music composition process in tango. Those of you who have a background in music / music theory may even get to practice writing your own tango music. Whether or not you’re ready for that, you are sure to learn a ton with instructors Emiliano Messiez, Juan Villarreal and Patricio Crom (bios here). Check out the “How Do You Write a Tango Series?” below.

Tango Poetry Lecture Series

Friday, May 24, 8-9:15 pm
“100 Years of Tango Song” - Matias Mauricio
In a rigorous and passionate journey through tango music, we will delve into the poetry of Enrique Santos Discépolo, Homero Manzi, Cátulo Castillo, Homero Expósito, Horacio Ferrer, and Eladia Blázquez, among others, until we reach the contemporary authors of the genre. A talk for the general public, illustrated with unpublished materials, films and audios.

Saturday, May 25, 4:30-5:45 pm
“Lunfardo: The Language of Argentines” - Matias Mauricio
A talk about Argentine slang: its origins, censorship, linguistic borrowings, and “lunfardismos” in the 21st century. (Matias Mauricio is a member of the National Academy of Lunfardo, as well as the National Academy of Tango.)

Monday, May 27, 4:30-5:45 pm:
“Wisdom for a Life Well-Lived” - Ayano Yoneda
“Think well before you take that step…" "Life is short, you need to live it…” Did you know that many tango talks about life lessons that we can all relate to? We’ll explore the wisdom that tango imparts in this fun talk.

How Do You Write A Tango? Seminar

Saturday, May 25, 12-1:15 pm
Workshop #1 of 3 - Tango Lyric Composition Workshop - Matias Mauricio
For three days, the public and professionals of the genre will be able to interact in talks and performances on poetics, lyrics and the art of dancing melodies and words. Moments of reflection and learning to rediscover the cultural import of tango with the language of the 21st century. The poet and researcher Matías Mauricio will give an open clinic on lyric writing proposing the following questions: how to write tango lyrics, what tools of universal poetry enrich our song, what is the tango that “needs to be written” in these times, the works of Discépolo, Manzi, Cadícamo, Expósito, Ferrer, Blázquez and others will be analyzed.

Sunday, May 26, 1:30-3 pm
Workshop #2 of 3 - Music Composition Workshop - Emiliano Messiez, Patricio Crom & Juan Villarreal.
Students with experience in music performance and music theory will be able to practice composing. Students without that background will be able to observe and listen.

Monday, May 27, 1:30-2:45 pm
Workshop #3 of 3 - Let’s Write a Tango (or part thereof)- Emiliano Messiez, Matias Mauricio, Juan Villarreal, Patricio Crom
Combining the lyrics and music composition work in the 2 previous workshops to try to collectively write a tango, or a part thereof.

Poetry-Focused Dance Workshops

Sunday, May 26, 4:30-5:45 pm
Musicality & Poetry for Tango Dancers - Matias Mauricio and Bruno & Rocio.
A chance to apply everything you have learned about tango poetry directly to your dance. All levels welcome.

Monday, May 27, 3-4:15 pm
Dancing the Poetry - Felipe & Ayano
Intermediate Level and Up

Philadelphia Tango Festival

Matias Mauricio

Matías Mauricio is a teacher, poet, editor, and a reference in current tango lyrics. He is a member of the National Academy of Tango and the Academia Porteña del Lunfardo, a member of the CETBA (Tango Education Center of Buenos Aires), and a researcher of the Tango Department of the Centro Cultural de la Cooperación. He works as a teacher in the Tango Diploma of the UBA (Faculty of Economic Sciences) in charge of the contemporary Tango chair, and of the Poetics of Tango I and II and Lyricists chairs of CETBA.

He has published the books: Bandoneón Blindado (2010), Julián Centeya: biography and unpublished poems co-authored with Roberto Selles (2014) and Homero Expósito: unpublished sonnets (2018), Tango post-2001: social outbreak and new poetics (2022). He writes regularly for El Cohete a la Luna. Among other distinctions, he was the winner of the “Hugo del Carril” Award for best tango song (2013), he works as a lecturer and jury in different tango contests, festivals, and contests in Argentina and abroad.

Philadelphia Tango Festival

Ayano Yoneda

Ayano travels frequently for tango, dancing in milongas around the world, including a pilgrimage she makes yearly to Buenos Aires. She regularly DJs at the local milongas in the San Francisco Bay Area where she is based. She has been invited to DJ in Asia and in Europe, as well as at major events in the United States such as the Portland Tango Festival, Nora’s Tango Week, Holiday Tango in DC, San Diego Tango Marathon, etc,

In 2019, Ayano co-founded the Tango Poetry Project. She will DJ the Friday night milonga of the festival, and will coordinate projections of the lyrics of each tango, in both Spanish and English. She will also give a lecture during the festival, as well as teaching with her partner, Felipe Martinez.