June 3, 2023

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Rhythms of Latin America: Tango

3 min read

Tango tunes and relocations were such a hit that, from the beginning of the 20th century, whole orchestras took it as their highlight and traveled all over the world to captivate audiences as far as the United States and Europe– where it settled in far-away towns of Finland and transformed into a local custom. And not even the military dictatorships in 20th-century Argentina could really snuff out the organization of tango.

Image drawn from Pixabay.com

Today, tango is thought about a monolith for many Argentineans and Uruguayans, a real source of pride coming from a well-established musical expression that became engraved in 2009 on the List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity. There is even a National Day of Tango, December 11th, since 1977.

To discuss tango is to plunge into a rhythmic, intimate journey from Argentina and Uruguay to the remainder of the world.

Beginning in the 1880s, it ended up being rather a phenomenon after spreading along the Río de la Plata region thanks to regional clubs and theaters, progressively acquiring a track record of more than just part of the working-class custom-mades.

Tango was born as a social dance at the end of the 19th century from the run-down neighborhoods of Buenos Aires and Montevideo. As lots of other Latin American musical designs, it was nurtured by many sources at the same time: the African-influenced candombe, the regional milonga and the spanish-american contradanza.

How is Tango Like?

The most widely known design of tango is defined by a 2-by-4/ 4-by-4 time signature with an arrangement that should include bandoneón (a type of accordion) and might include the instruments generally discovered in an orchestra band.

But as essential as the way tango is composed, the themes and the dance itself are the basic signatures of this category. Any tango lyrics will focus on sorrow, long-lost love, and a yearning for joy, be it directly or indirectly written.

Concerning the dance, it can be specified as an embrace full to the brim with rules and conventions about the way each partner may act and move while the music goes further, even if one might roughly considerate tango dance as essentially “strolling” with the melody and a partner.

Tangos Greatest Representatives and Songs

Naturally, there have being lots of names that have actually become synonymous with tango over the decades, like the mythical Carlos Gardel (1890-1935) as the quintessential singer, alongside the composers/performers Ástor Piazzolla (1912-1992) and Osvaldo Pugliese (1905-1995).

It must also be discussed how tango has been developing in modern-day times thanks to various musical business, like the Gotan Project and Bajo Fondo Tango Club, both driving forces of what is known as “neo-tango”.

La cumparsita, known as the “tango de los tangos”, made up in 1916 by Uruguayan Gerardo Matos Rodríguez:

Mi Buenos Aires querido, by Carlos Gardel and released in 1934:

Por una cabeza, also by Gardel written in 1935:

Suite Punta del Este, from Ástor Piazzolla in 1982:

El mareo, from Bajo Fondo Tango Club featuring the terrific Argentinean rocker Gustavo Cerati: