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Celebrating women in tango

Updated: Apr 6, 2022

At the Evita Milonga on 03.04.2022, DJs Annie Hill and Anita Galeazzi celebrated women in tango (the singers, composers and musicians). Link to Annie’s speech at the milonga

Let’s face it – the history of tango seems to be steeped in Machismo!

But the stories of the ground-breaking women of tango are fascinating! We wanted to share what we learnt with you. So we have put together this blog about some of these historical women whose music we featured on the night: Tania, Azucena Maizani, Mercedes Simone, Lita Morales and Nelly Omar. Unfortunately, we could not feature all of the artists we read about. There are many other women tango singers, such as Tita Merello, Ada Falcón, Libertad Lemarque and Rosita Quiroga….

We also wish we could have played a recording of the first professional female bandoneon player, Paquita Bernardo (1900–1925). A truly revolutionary woman in the history of tango, she also wrote tangos and led her own sextet (in which a very young Osvaldo Pugliese played piano). She was incredibly popular in her time. The police even had to divert the traffic because of the crowd that gathered to hear her play. But sadly, there are no recordings of her work. She died tragically young (just before her 25th birthday).

Happily, today there are many wonderful female tango singers, composers and musicians (including bandoneon players). Some of the ones we featured on the night included Orquesta Tipica Andariega and Romantica Milonguera (two contemporary orchestras that feature fabulous female singers and musicians). We also invite you to check out Camila Arriva. Her album Mujeres features tangos that were composed, played, performed and recorded by women.

Again, we would like to thank the fabulous women who helped us with our research: Lorena Tarantino (tango dancer and DJ), Ayelen Pais (bandoneon player in Asato-Pais duo and many other contemporary tango orquestas) and Stine Helkjaer Engen (bandoneon player in Orquesta Típica Andariega). They were all very generous in sharing their passion for tango music and their stories.

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