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Taken from World Music Central (Jun 02, 2021)

Artist Profiles: Melingo

by Angel Romero

Melingo - Photo by Alfredo Srur
Melingo - Photo by Alfredo Srur

Daniel Melingo, better known as Melingo, was born in 1957 in the Buenos Aires district of Parque Patricios, a legendary place for tango. At the conservatory, he learned how to play the clarinet and studied a curriculum of musicology, ethnomusicology, composition, and contemporary music.

In 1979, the arrival of the dictatorship put an end to all his activities and he emigrated to Brazil where he lived for several years, notably playing with Milton Nascimento.

Melingo returned to Argentina in 1982 and joined Los Abuelos de la Nada ("the Grandfathers of Nothingness"), a well-known protest and psychedelic rock band led by the charismatic Miguel Abuelo (1946-1988), and he co-founded Los Twist in 1982.

Later, Daniel Melingo toured with Spanish-language rock star Charlie Garcia and took part in many alternative and experimental ventures, notably in the Ring Club musical theater. In the mid-1980s, he moved to Madrid (Spain), then experiencing the great musical and artistic movement known as La Movida, and joined the punk band Toreros Muertos. During this period in Europe, he recorded Lions in Love, a psychedelic, soul, and pop album with flamenco influences.

Back in Buenos Aires, Melingo took on the character of a ruffian singing picaresque tango poems in lunfardo (the slang of the suburbs of Buenos Aires), with a certain grimy flavor of the genre as it was before the bandoneon arrived. This Pasolinian character recorded the albums Tango Bajos and Ufa in 1998 and 2001. Melingo also became a TV host, a film music composer, notably for Mariano Galperín (who in 2015 produced a multi-award-winning documentary about his European tour), and actor (Una Noche Sin Luna by German Tejeira; Lulú by Luis Ortega).

In 2004, Melingo started a second European career, particularly in France, when guitarist Eduardo Makaroff, the Argentine third of the Gotan Project, invited him to join the label that he had recently created, Manana. His first album distributed in France was Santa Milonga, followed by Maldito Tango and Corazon y Huesos.

In 2014, Daniel Melingo imagined Linyera, a series built around the character of the vagrant Celeste, which opened a path marked by dark compositions reconnecting with the Byzantine roots of his paternal ancestors. The songs featured powerful texts by Latin American poets from the lunfardo tradition: Carlos de la Pua, Evaristo Carriego and above all the famous tango creator Luis Alposta.

At the end of September 2019, there was a weeklong event devoted to Melingo at the CCK Cultural Center in Buenos Aires, the major retrospective called Universo Melingo.


H2O (1995)
Tangos Bajos (Polygram, 1998)
Ufa! (DBN, 1999)
Santa Milonga (2004)
Maldito Tango (Manana, 2007
Corazon & Hueso (World Village, 2011)
Linyera (World Village, 2014)
Anda (Discos Popart, 2016)
Oasis (Buda Musique, 2020)




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