About the Author:
SEARCHING FOR TANGO IN PUERTO RICO
Originally published in the Summer 2001 issue of THE TANGO TIMES.
Mas Tango Que Nunca, in the Condado section of San Juan, Puerto Rico
Avenida Magdalena 1104
Condado, Puerto Rico 00907
April 10, 2001
The interviewer is Dr. Roberta Zlokower, a NYC Tanguera, who is on vacation in San Juan.
RZ: "Why did you come to Puerto Rico?"
Jorge Carcavallo (co-owner) - I can to PR for a vacation in 1976. After 3 months here, I called my family in Argentina, where there was an economic crisis, and I told them I'm staying here. I met Fernando Redondo (co-owner) and we send into real estate. In 1982, I met Vilma, and we got married and opened our first Tango restaurant in Old San Juan, called "Tango". It became so successful, that we bought a second Tango restaurant in Hato Rey.
RZ: Why don't people dance Tango in Puerto Rico?
JC: We gave Tango classes with Gabriel Furcall, but few people came. There are no Milongas here, except in studios or classes. Nobody dances Tango in restaurants.
RZ: Are there many Argentineans in Puerto Rico?
Mauro Carcavallo (manager) - There are 4,000 Argentineans in Puerto Rico, but people don't practice the passion of Tango here. Puerto Ricans have Salsa in their blood. They just want to dance Salsa.
RZ: Are you both happy here, and where do you live?
JC: We are very happy here, and the restaurant is my living room.
RZ: Why did you come to Puerto Rico, Kiko?
Kiko Fernandez (Tango pianist and singer) - I love songs, sea, and women. Twenty years ago, I fell in love with Puerto Rico and made it my residence. I learned Tango in Argentina, as well as the songs. Tango is my life! I was a very close friend of Astor Piazzolla's wife, Laura Escalata. I sang on TV with Laura. But in the 1980's, Laura married Astor.
RZ: Why do you come so often to a Tango restaurant?
Henry Lozado (Manager of BBVA Bank and a regular client of Mas Tango Que Nunca) - I was born in New York in 1953 and have lived in Puerto Rico since 1963. I'm a retired officer from the National Guard in Puerto Rico. I manage a branch of an Argentinean Bank here, BBVA.
RZ: Are you a dancer?
HL: I dance Salsa, but not Tango. A few months ago Tito Castro was in this restaurant and there was some dancing.
RZ: Who are your favorite Tango composers and performers?
HL: I enjoy Gardel. My father used to watch films with Gardel as the singer. Part of our culture was to hear Gardel singing.
RZ: How did you become involved in the Bank of Argentina?
HL: I was working for the Royal Bank of Canada, a subsidiary of the Royal Bank of Puerto Rico. Then I went for the first time to Buenos Aires for 4 weeks. I saw dancing and a Tango show. Eventually I went to work for an Argentinean Bank.
RZ: Why do you come so often to Mas Tango Que Nunca?
HL: I come here for business lunches or dinner with clients. They have very good service in the afternoon
Interviews by Roberta Zlokower, Cont'd
and after late meetings.
RZ: Is there a future for Tango in Puerto Rico?
HL: For entertainment, but not as a primary dance, which would be Salsa and Meringue.
Roberta Zlokower at Bar of Mas Tango Que Nunca Mas Tango Que Nunca
Mas Tango Que Nunca with Henry Lozada Mauro Carcavallo - Mgr Owners - Left Fernando Redondo
BBVA Bank Mgr & Pablo Rivera, Bartend Right - Jorge Carcavallo
Fernando Redondo, Owner with Kiko Fernandex, pianist
BAIRES, in Old San Juan, Puerto Rico
Plaza del Mercado No 9
Old San Juan, PR 00901
April 12, 2001
RZ: When did you open a Tango restaurant?
Adrian Romano (co owner with his wife, Maria Tolevo) - Last December, 2000
RZ: Why did you open a Tango restaurant?
AR: I'm from Buenos Aires, and my wife is from Puerto Rico. We wanted to have Tango here.
RZ: Why isn't there Tango dancing here? I thought you had Tango every Thursday.
AR: This is Holy Week. On other weeks, there's Tango. We started the Thursday Tango parties 5 or 6 weeks ago. Normally, every Thursday some dancers arrive and we have live music
Daniel Almagro, guitarist, Kiko Fernandez, Singer, Adrian Romano, owner
This interviewer, Roberta Zlokower, was extremely happy to return to the New York Tango scene at
Bailemos Tango, upon her return home. No beach, but many superb Tango partners.