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.
Buenos Aires and its porteño residents have never been a particularly disciplined lot, so the idea of sending visitors on a traditional sightseeing tour complete with an officious flag-bearing guide is wrong on all accounts. However, BA, as creative as it is, offers a whole host of alternative ways to see the city via its street art, boutiques, sacred grape and a photography workshop.
In Buenos Aires, fitting in is a more complicated process than simply knowing your steak, wine and football, or becoming a pro at multiple-dog walking, staring and protesting. Here are some ways you can act, live and love like a local. If you follow them you might just avoid men on passing motorbikes hollering “Gringa!” (but probably not). Whether it’s their amigo, boss or total stranger, Argentines peck each other once on the right cheek to say hi and bye…
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.
Walk down Buenos Aires’s central shopping street, Avenida Florida, and you’d be forgiven for presuming that Argentine music tastes encompass just one genre: tango. So where should you be heading to catch the city’s hottest bands? Here’s a rundown offering something for all tastes.
The neighbourhood of San Telmo is the Buenos Aires that people imagine when they think of the city. Dancers really do tango on the plazas, the sound of an accordion can be heard echoing through doorways and elephantine steaks are served in the area’s restaurants.
Since the year 2000, a classical music festival has taken place on the Mendoza Wine Route during each Easter week. Ten years later, the festival has become one of the area’s most popular musical events, performed in natural settings and at churches and wineries.
Just after midnight, one drizzly Friday morning in the poor Buenos Aires neighbourhood of Abasto, I wandered through a rusty door. Inside the cavernous Club Atlético Fernandez Fierro, The Stooges’ ‘I Wanna Be Your Dog’ echoed, anti-globalist art was lit up under a roving mirror ball and students knocked back the cheap Italian liqueur fernet mixed with cola. It was clear this wasn’t the average stuffy tango hall
Everyone knows that Tango is the most famous dance of Argentina. As a proud Argentine man myself, I was always a bit embarrassed that I didn’t possess the dancing skills of so many of my fellow countrymen. So this year, I decided to tackle the dancing challenge and enrol in some proper Tango lessons. I still have a lot to learn, but here is a video showing the result of my journey into Tango so far…