Friday, May 15, 2015

Argentine Tango: An Overview

Argentine tango in NYC is a world in itself. It combines music, dance, singing, and poetry. Tango’s origins go back to the 19th century, somewhere around the 1870’s. It was developed in working class areas outside of Buenos Aires. Between 1860 and 1925, 70% of the immigration population were men who came to Argentina for a better life.Tango was originally played by one musician on a guitar or accordion. Later trios formed adding guitar, flute, violin,or clarinet. these instruments were chosen because they were easy to transport since musicians would travel to different locations throughout the evening.

At first, tango was prohibited in public places due to its voluptuous nature and working class origins. A long time passed before it was accepted in proper people’s homes of high society. According to Tomas Alberto Garcia, at the beginning of the 20th century, during the era known as "La Belle Epoque," Paris was the center of the world, and Argentine aristocracy looked to Paris as a model for itself. Once tango was accepted in France, the high and middle classes in Argentina accepted it; in fact, they took great pride in this uniquely Argentine art form. From France, tango spread through Europe and the rest of the world. More orchestras were formed, and the tango developed, eventually to reach its splendor in the 1940's.

This decade, known as the "Golden Age" of tango, was the most impressive, and families from all levels of Argentine society started to dance, packing the dance halls and making it possible for even the largest orchestras to survive and prosper. Tango finally reached its maturity and was widely accepted so we can still enjoy it today.