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Tango's History



Tango is a popular dance that means charm and elegance, but at the beginning it was very different. Tango was the music of the poor people of Buenos Aires. Nowadays, Tango is danced all over the world.

Tango was born in the Buenos Aires brothels around 1880. In those places there were a lot of immigrants trying to forget their lives problems. Tango emerged as a way to mitigate the problems of daily life.

Argentine population evolved from people coming from many european countries. As a result, Tango was the result of the mixing of several cultures. In Tango, one can notice slight influence of african cultures, perhaps more likely cuban rythms, and part of european cultures, that came with spaniards and other immigrants. For instance, one of the most important musical instruments used to play tango is the bandoneón. This musical instrument, like the acordeón, was brought to Argentina from Germany in 1886.

Tango has many emotional aspects. Originally, Tango was about the relationship of a prostitute and his man. Most Tangos, at the beginning, had quite obscene lyrics. First Tango music related to prostitution for the most part. Later on, it took a more nostalgic and romantic turn. This change started around 1912, when some aspects of the brothel culture came into mainstream argentine culture. The basic structure of Tango music remained the same but from then on it was not so openly sexual as it was before. Tango was also very popular in France. This fact gave certain "high class distinction" to Tango, as it continued to evolve. Tango singers were and still are very popular in Argentina. Carlos Gardel remains popular today, fifty years after his death. He was as popular in Argentina as Elvis Presley was in his time in the United Sates.

Astor Piazzola's music created a lot of discussions among tango fans. Piazzola combined tango with other forms of classical music.

After many years, tango is still popular in Argentina. The "musical" "Forever Tango" (1996) was played in San Francisco during 92 consecutive weeks. This musical is currently being played in Broadway. In most of argentine cities there are academies where people can learn to dance Tango. A dance that was born in the brothels of Argentina and now it is popular in many countries of the world.


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