My first Argentine tango instructor taught me many cosas. Along with how to dance tango, there were also transmitted many codas y tradiciones, supersticiones, informacion cultural sobre Argentina - and of course - palabras sucias en Lunfardo. All of these are necessary to dance the tango. These lessons, given almost two decades ago, still prove to be of immense value and they remain with me.
The other night, I arrived to the milonga early to set up to dj. The class was still in progress and I discovered right away that there was a problem with the sound system. The teacher, who usually sets the Pandora radio to teach, was using his iPod and apparently not happy about that as he prefers the radio with Fresedo. As I went to examine the sound equipment, I observed that many wires were tangled and the whole thing in general was a quilombo! Just at this point, I heard the tango "Adios Muchachos" begin to play. It seems, the teacher (expecting to use the radio) had not had time to prepare a playlist and was just playing the music in his iPod in alphabetical order.
The words of my teacher immediately came back to me... "It is muy mala suerte to play this song in the milonga. Even though it is a beautiful tango, we don't play it in the milonga because it was the last tango that Gardel and Le Pera wrote and recorded before they died in the plane crash in Medellín."
My teacher also told me what to do to ward off this bad luck should I ever hear this tango in a milonga. Without even thinking, I immediately shouted out this remedy to all in the room: "Todo el mundo toma su testiculo izquierdo o la mama izquierda immediatamente!"
"What!", I heard the organizer shout out.
Knowing that my español is not always clear, I repeated with even more urgency in English: "Everyone grab your left ball or left breast. NOW!"
The teacher, who was in the middle of teaching a cruzada, looked up in great surprise but nonetheless he repeated: "You heard what Lexa said! Gentleman - grab your left ball! Ladies, grab your left breast! Immediately!!!" He caught my air of urgency yet he retained his own element of complete surprise and bewilderment having no idea what this strange tango move I was suggesting was about. All the students and everyone in the room followed the instructions.
Then, on the last note of the infamous tango, a huge speaker on a stand (total weight of at least 70 lbs.) came crashing down. It missed my head and my laptop by a few inches and landed right where a lady would have been sitting had she not stood up to grab her left breast.
I am now convinced more than ever that the superstition is true. Adios Muchachos is extremely bad luck and should not be played in the milonga. I am also convinced that the grabbing of the left breasts and left testicles worked and saved us all from disaster. After careful analysis, I realize it is more than just a superstition but a very spiritual ritual and psychoanalytical intervention. Adios Muchachos is about saying goodbye and Gardel and La Pera said the ultimate goodbye when they died in the plane crash. The song has now come to symbolize the death drive. The left side symbolizes the unconscious. The testicles are the containers for semen and the breasts are the containers of milk. Milk and Semen represent the libidinal or life drive. The Argentines are very wise. It seems important and advisable to reaffirm the life drive in the face of death.
It is also important to note that the management of the venue is now committed to cleaning up the quilombo so no such incident will ever happen again!
Deseando a todos buena suerte y buenos tangos!