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.
The best to get to know a city and its culture is having a friend living there, who also enjoys the simple pleasures of life. Because there is something that the travel guides cannot provide; those ordinary details that make the identity of each neighbourhood in a city. Buenos Aires is known as the city…
2015 Autumn & Winter in Buenos Aires? Temperature may be dropping but the cultural calendar is just warming up. Argento guides you to the city’s upcoming artistic and cultural agenda.
At the risk of sounding like a typical girl, or worse, Carrie from Sex and the City, I love shoes. I would go so far as to say I’m a shoe fiend. I think I love shoes so much because I don’t have to take off anything, apart from the shoes I’m wearing, to try them on (I also think that’s why I only have 2 pairs of jeans). When I arrived in Argentina a year and half ago, I had 3 pairs of shoes. Now I have 9…
Fileteado is as porteño as a flock of riled-up Boca fans, although perhaps a little more sedate. It is a form of decorative art that originally started out adorning wagons in Buenos Aires in the early 20th century, painted by the Italian immigrants who worked in the wagon factories. Soon, it began to appear on trucks and buses and can now be seen everywhere from shop windows to metal plates sold at market stalls to giant advertising billboards looming over Avenida 9 de Julio.
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.
Soy porteña. Well, not exactly – I am from Oklahoma. But what I am is a milonguera and my Argentina is late nights that spill into early mornings, the beauty of the tango embrace and lots and lots of Malbec. Buenos Aires is full of tango. Most tourists visiting the city only ever have access to smallest section, the part the city creates for them. The dancers in La Boca, the tango shows hawked by tour guides and hotel concierges. But Buenos Aires IS tango… there is so much more. And it’s way more complicated than it looks on stage.
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.
If you’re not lucky enough to be in Argentina right now, and you’re longing for some authentic Argentinian culture, what do you do? Traditionally, you head for the nearest themed steakhouse. That’s a very fine place to start, but is the sum of Argentina made up only by parts of a cow? A boom in tourism in the early 2000s has led to a more amplified understanding of the Argentinian way of life. From music and drinks to film and dance, here’s our look at Argentina’s growing influence abroad.