"Yes, no doubt, to talk about tango is to say Gardel, el zorzal criollo, and we have to repeat until boredom, he sings better each day..." Alfonso Laso Bermeo
I knew that Gardel's voice only very rarely graced milongas I had been to. I didn't realize that, generally speaking, his voice shouldn't be danced to at all. When I've asked before, I always got a sort of shrug and sigh, and "he's too hard to dance to." "I can't find the rhythm through his voice." So I thought it was an issue of dancibililty.
I can certainly understand that. I have a tendency, when Gardel makes his way around my mp3 player, to stop what I'm doing. I still feel like moving to it - but it's not precisely that I want to dance. It's hard to think about anything else. I multitask all the time, but I can't do it when Gardel sings. It's a good thing I don't drive or I'd be pulling over every 20 songs or so. It's powerful stuff - that voice.
I should have known it is also out of respect that one does not dance to Gardel's voice. His tragic death in an airplane crash at the height of his career devastated an entire country - well, two countries really - Argentina and Uruguay, not to mention his devoted fans all over the world. So when Gardel sings, we take a seat.
EDIT: Speaking of fans, here's a link to the dubious "celebrating" Carlos Gardel in Scotland: http://www.buteman.co.uk/news/Statue-show-catches-eye-in.5617068.jp (Thanks for the bit of fun, B - I'll get you next time.)
After reading this post: http://ireneandmanyung.blogspot.com/2008/05/why-one-does-not-dance-to-gardel.html I gained a better understanding of "not dancing to Gardel."
And Alberto Paz's post about the same can be found here: http://www.gardelweb.com/not-dancing-to-gardel.htm
(Picture courtesy of Wikipedia.)