Tango

 Tango

Perhaps the most complex and fascinating musical and dance tradition to emerge in Argentina, specifically in Buenos Aires, is the tango. Its origins date back to the late 1700s with ancestors including the Afro-Argentine milonga, the Uruguayan candombe and the Cuban habanera. It evolved as a male slave dance performed in the brothels when it formally emerged arouPresentation1nd 1877. At first ridiculed or parodied, it made its way up the social ladder, finally receiving acceptance not in Argentina but in Paris in the 1920s. As the dance genre began to gain recognition in Buenos Aires, a song form also developed paving the way for the tango song, which saw its golden age through interpreters such as Carlos Gardel.

A Brief History

The exact origins of tango—both the dance and the word itself—are lost in myth and an unrecorded history. The generally accepted theory is that in the mid-1800s, African slaves were brought to Argentina and began to influence the local culture. The word “tango” may be straightforwardly African in origin, meaning “closed place” or “reserved ground.” Or it may derive from Portuguese (and from the Latin verb tanguere, to touch) and was picked up by Africans on the slave ships. Whatever its origin, the word “tango” acquired the standard meaning of the place where African slaves and free blacks gathered to dance.

Argentina was undergoing a massive immigration during the later part of the 1800s and early 1900s. In 1869, Buenos Aires had a population of 180,000. By 1914, its population was 1.5 million. The intermixing of African, Spanish, Italian, British, Polish, Russian and native-born Argentines resulted in a melting pot of cultures, and each borrowed dance and music from one another. Traditional polkas, waltzes and mazurkas were mixed with the popular habanera from Cuba and the candombe rhythms from Africa.

Most immigrants were single men hoping to earn their fortunes in this newly expanding country. They were typically poor and desperate, hoping to make enough money to return to Europe or bring their families to Argentina. The evolution of tango reflects their profound sense of loss and longing for the people and places they left behind.

Most likely the tango was born in African-Argentine dance venues attended by compadritos, young men, mostly native born and poor, who liked to dress in slouch hats, loosely tied neckerchiefs and high-heeled boots with knives tucked casually into their belts. The compadritos took the tango back to the Corrales Viejos—the slaughterhouse district of Buenos Aires—and introduced it in various low-life establishments where dancing took place: bars, dance halls and brothels.  It was here that the African rhythms met the Argentine milonga music (a fast-paced polka) and soon new steps were invented and took hold.

Although high society looked down upon the activities in the barrios, well-heeled sons of the porteño oligarchy were not averse to slumming. Eventually, everyone found out about the tango and, by the beginning of the twentieth century, the tango as both a dance and as an embryonic form of popular music had established a firm foothold in the fast-expanding city of its birth. It soon spread to provincial towns of Argentina and across the River Plate to Montevideo, the capital of Uruguay, where it became as much a part of the urban culture as in Buenos Aires.

The worldwide spread of the tango came in the early 1900s when wealthy sons of Argentine society families made their way to Paris and introduced the tango into a society eager for innovation and not entirely averse to the risqué nature of the dance or dancing with young, wealthy Latin men. By 1913, the tango had become an international phenomenon in Paris, London and New York. There were tango teas, tango train excursions and even tango colors—most notably orange. The Argentine elite who had shunned the tango were now forced into accepting it with national pride.

The tango spread worldwide throughout the 1920s and 1930s. The dance appeared in movies and tango singers traveled the world. By the 1930s, the Golden Age of Argentina was beginning. The country became one of the ten richest nations in the world and music, poetry and culture flourished. The tango came to be a fundamental expression of Argentine culture, and the Golden Age lasted through the 1940s and 1950s.

An important link in Argentine society and politics, the tango was interpreted by several different instrumental ensembles over the coming decades of the early 20th century—from a single guitarist/singer to full-blown orchestras. But the most significant musical grouping to play the form was the sexteto, which consisted of two bandoneones (an accordion relative closer to a concertina), two violins, piano and double bass or cello. In the mid-1950s, composer and bandoneón player Astor Piazzolla developed an avant-garde variety of tango that merged the style with European contemporary and classical forms as well as American jazz.

Recently, contemporary groups have begun mixing the tango with drums, from Uruguayan candombe drums to the Peruvian cajón and even synthesized and sampled drum beats. Several musicians have explored the renewed potential of the tango in the newest craze: tango nuevo.

 

 

Artickle url’s:

http://www.tejastango.com/tango_history.html

http://search.nationmaster.com/cgi-bin/search.cgi?query=argentine+music+styles&submit=+Search+%C2%BB+

http://www.history-of-tango.com/tango-music.html


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

 
%d bloggers like this: