Tango with Cally is a weekly radio program hosted by St. Louis Symphony Orchestra musician Cally Banham. She shares tango recordings from the late 1920s to today, along with stories about the history and culture of Tango music and dance.
October 30 and November 4: It Takes Two to Tango – The widely used idiom “It takes two to tango” has an interesting back story – and can you believe Ronald Reagan is part of it? Host Cally Banham reveals the origin of the phrase, and delves into the etymology of the word “tango”.
October 23 and 28: Eva Peron and Magaldi (rebroadcast) – What was the connection between Argentina’s famous first lady and tango singer Augustín Magaldi? Cally introduces us to the real Magaldi, whose nickname was “the sentimental voice of Buenos Aires”. Also featured is Astor Piazzolla performing his own beloved tango ballad, Oblivion.
October 16 and 21: Cowboys and Gauchos – What is it about expansive landscapes that inspire so much wonderful music? Host Cally Banham plays lonely Argentine gaucho songs alongside the music of Aaron Copland to compare. Also, hear The Cowboys Overture by John Williams and Francisco Canaro’s ballad for the Argentine countryside, “Adiós, Pampa mía”.
October 9 and 14: The Struggle of Aníbal Troilo – It was said that Aníbal Troilo could express more by playing two notes on his bandoneon than most players could do in a long solo. But his life was troubled, riddled with chronic pain and excesses of alcohol and food. Host Cally Banham tells the story of the highs and lows of this admired musician. Also featured are the 12 Cellists of the Berlin Philharmonic in Astor Piazzolla’s Milonga del Ángel.
October 2 and 7: The Food of Argentina – The traditional dishes of Argentina can be surprising to some, as meat dominates! Host Cally Banham shares a bit about the tradition of the asado technique along with “meaty” tangos from the orchestras of Di Sarli and Salamanca!
September 25 and 30: All in the Family – This week’s episode features a pair of outstanding tango interpreters, father and son violinists Antonio and Pablo Agri. Both prolific recording artists, they exist between the worlds of classical music and tango.
September 18 and 23: The Drama of Ada Falcón – Mezzo-soprano Ada Falcón, one of the brightest Tango film and recording stars in history, abruptly withdrew from public life at the height of her career. Host Cally Banham shares Ada’s recordings along with the story of her tragic romance with Francisco Canaro and her shocking disappearance.
September 11 and 16: The DJ Perspective – This week’s program is curated by tango DJ Riccardo DiCecio. Cally shares Riccardo’s choices – all traditional recordings perfect for dancing – and explains the importance of the musical flow at a “milonga”, a tango social.
September 4 and 9: Gisèle Ben-Dor and Juanjo Mosalini – Together with bandoneonist Juanjo Mosalini, conductor Gisèle Ben-Dor has just released a new album to celebrate the 100th anniversary of Piazzolla’s birth. Host Cally Banham will feature selections from Piazzolla Cien Años on the show this week, including the Aconcagua Concerto and Libertango.
August 28 and September 2: The Bandoneon and its Players – With reeds, bellows and buttons, the bandoneon can contribute rhythm, harmony, and melody all at once! This versatile instrument is at the core of tango. This week, host Cally Banham describes how the bandoneon works and features music of orchestra leaders who played one, like Anibal Troilo and Osvaldo Fresedo.
August 21 and 26: Piazzolla’s Teachers – Straddling the worlds of classical and traditional Argentine music, tango giant Astor Piazzolla struggled to find his unique sound. Teachers guided him to form what would become his instantly recognizable style! Cally tells the story of Piazzolla’s musical education and his work with mentors like Nadia Boulanger.
August 14 and 19: Legend of La Telesita (rebroadcast) – The chacarera is a folkloric dance that is a relative of Tango. Cally shares the Argentine legend of “La Telesita” – the most famous chacarera dancer, the mythical girl who danced herself to death. Also featured are rhythmic tangos from Alfredo Gobbi and Osvaldo Pugliese, as well as an Astor Piazzolla offering from Yo-Yo Ma.
August 7 and 12: Carlos Di Sarli – “Lord of Tango” (rebroadcast) – Musician Carlos di Sarli was a paramount musician who created a style that is instantly recognizable from the first notes of any of his recordings. Cally shares the story of the revered orchestra leader behind the dark glasses, and classic recordings of his compositions, including his masterpieces Milonguero viejo and Bahía Blanca.
July 31 and August 5: Finding Tango in Unexpected Places (rebroadcast) – Tango isn’t limited to Argentine composers and traditional tango instruments like violin and bandoneon. The style appealed to Igor Stravinsky, and jazz harmonica player Hugo Diaz, to name just a couple of surprises! Cally shares Tango recordings from these two composers at the ends of the spectrum, with classics in between.
Cally Banham has been a proud member of the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra since 2006, when she was appointed to the Solo English horn position by then-Music Director David Robertson. Previously she was Solo English horn with the Buffalo Philharmonic and Orquesta Sinfonica del Estado de Mexico, and Principal Oboe with the Memphis Symphony. Cally has performed as a guest in the principal English horn chairs of the New York Philharmonic, Chicago Symphony, Los Angeles Philharmonic, and Cleveland Orchestra.
In 2013, Cally transformed her hobby of dancing Argentine Tango into a musical pursuit. She founded Cortango, a tango/classical/jazz six-piece fusion ensemble. Cortango released its debut album, Tandas, in 2015. In 2018, Cally co- produced her own solo Christmas album, Cor Christmas, which received extensive radio play on classical stations in the US and Canada.