Tango’s lyrics of nostalgia, passion and heartbreak are a powerful testament to the countries multicultural history. It’s a serious business for many tangueros who dedicate the twilight hours to the scene of late night milongas, dancing to the wee small hours until it’s time for desayuno (breakfast) and a snooze, before doing it all over again. So entwined is the genre with Argentine culture that much of the old tango slang or lunfardo is still in popular use today and scratchy tango tunes play over the airwaves 24/7 on dedicated radio stations. 1930s heart throb and poster boy Carlos Gardel is still regarded as the best tango singer, so don’t be surprised to hear his canciones (songs) seeping out onto the streets from taxi driver’s windows and señoras clutching stereos on doorsteps. So much more than a sexy stereotype, tango illustrates the Argentine psyche and is every bit the embodiment of a way of being.
In the first of three music blogs, The Real Argentina’s guide to folclore…
Folclore embodies the wholesome earthy vibe rooted in la tierra, el campo and el corazón of Argentina’s gaucho culture. Romantic partner dances play out at peñas all night long with locals waving handkerchiefs in the air to songs, which mesh European and criollo indigenous influences. Although stalwarts of the genre still get airplay, there’s a whole new world of folclore beats banging on dance floors these days.
Buenos Aires is filled with great places to hear music and go dancing. But especially there is a recent movement of underground bands that soon will be the talk of the town. Here is a little insight on some of the Argentinian bands you should be listening to: Callate Mark Callate Mark is one of…
In our own way we all have an idea of what tango is, even if that comes down to stockings, stilettos and men rocking enough hair gel to fill the Río de la Plata. But an independent revolution’s going on in Buenos Aires and the protagonists want to shout it from their barrio’s rooftops. Tango’s not a crop, it’s culture and it’s not just for export.
If you are a keen dancer or a curious spectator, where do you go? It’s about time The Real Argentina put together a guide for all tastes. Below is a pick of top milongas. For the uninitiated, these are the tango dance clubs, where novices and experts go to practice, rather than the made-for-tourists dinner shows. Most milongas offer lessons, too, and for different abilities, so come early for the class, then stay to dance – and people-watch – until the early hours.
In the booming Argentina of the 1920s, the hip place to look to for ideas if you were an artist or intellectual was mother Europe. Jazz had just become all the rage over there, and hence arrived in Argentina not via the United States, but rather from the likes of Paris, London and Berlin. As the ‘new’ music began to take off in Buenos Aires in the ‘30s, it met with some resistance from certain quarters who viewed it as too foreign, and a threat to traditional types of music such as folklore and tango.
You will have heard Gustavo Santaolalla’s music. He may not be a household name everywhere, but his prodigious talent – some have argued genius – has been one of Argentina’s greatest musical exports. Where to begin? Well, there was an Oscar for Ang Lee’s gay cowboy epic Brokeback Mountain soundtrack. Oh, and there was another one the following year for…
Nothing quite prepares you for Gaby Kerpel. In his benchmark album, Carnabailito, he took the sounds, mood and, most importantly, the vibe (or onda as they would say in Argentina) of this stunning part of the country and mixed it, mashed it, messed it until it was, if not quite unrecognisable, then certainly genre defying.
Electronica has always found a home in Buenos Aires. It has also provided Argentina with some of its biggest breakout acts – most notably the Gotan Project and Gustavo Sanatolla’s project Bajofondo Tango Club. Then, in the post-superclub space came The Manta Raya. And since their genesis in 2000, with the current bands making the same sort of New Rave noises (M83, Foals, Hot Chip et al), they have found their groove again and are partying as hard ever. Read on to find out all about this anarchic Argentinian electronica outfit.
Don’t let the following words put you off: Juana Molina is an actress turned musician. Yet her ambient bedroom mixes remain warm sounding, luscious even, and ruefully manage to skip over the ‘that’s interesting’ which experimental music often elicits, to be gorgeous cross over music, soundtracking dinner parties in Buenos Aires and across the world.