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Tango

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"¡Qué saben los pitucos, lamidos y shushetas! ¡Qué saben lo que es tango, qué saben de compás! Aquí está la elegancia. ¡Qué pinta! ¡Qué silueta! ¡Qué porte! ¡Qué arrogancia! ¡Qué clase pa'bailar! Así se corta el césped mientras dibujo el ocho, para estas filigranas yo soy como un pintor. Ahora una corrida, una vuelta, una sentada... ¡Así se baila el tango, un tango de mi flor!
Así se baila el tango
Tango. The 2x4. This classic music style, and its dance, is likely the most known cultural production of
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Argentina and Uruguay. There is a playful rivalry between the two countries regarding influence. For instance, the most famous score is La Cumparsita by Uruguayan Gerardo Matos Rodríguez but is usually sung with lyrics by Argentinean Pascual Contursi.

Initially, it was a music genre from poor slums, influenced by music styles brought by African slaves in the 18th century. It became a huge hit among the young people in Buenos Aires and Montevideo during the early 20th century. Dancers and orchestras made frequent trips to Europe, and there were Tango booms in Paris, New York, and Berlin. By 1915 Tango got the style it has nowadays.

The genre had a decline in the 1930s, as a result of The Great Depression and the restrictions imposed by the Culture Police of the 1930 and 1943 military governments. There was a brief revival during the tenure of Juan Domingo Perón, but it declined again with the renewed restrictions of the 1955 military government, as well as being overshadowed by the new Rock & Roll.

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Tropes about the genre

  • Mating Dance: The Tango dance is a fundamental aspect of it, even more than the music.
  • The New Rock & Roll: It may be hard to believe nowadays, but Tango was not conservative music back in the 1920s. It was seen as a highly sexual dance and the lyrics talked about stuff that conservatives avoided. That's the reason the military governments imposed restrictions on it.
  • Nice Hat: Yes, many men used nice hats back in the 1920s and 1930s, regardless of circumstances (it was not a Tango thing back then), but as the genre is so associated with those time periods, men wearing nice hats is definitely part of the modern Tango imagery.
  • Nostalgia Ain't Like It Used to Be: Lots of Tango lyrics are about nostalgia. The nostalgia of the childhood's neighborhood, of the first love, of the woman that you once loved but said "no"...
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  • Sinister Tango Music: Tango used as background music in dark or sinister settings.

Famous Tango artists

  • Hugo del Carril
  • Catulo Castillo
  • Enrique Santos Discepolo
  • Carlos Gardel
  • Roberto Goyeneche
  • Libertad Lamarque
  • Mariano Mores
  • Astor Piazzolla
  • Osvaldo Pugliese
  • Edmundo Rivero
  • Julio Sosa
  • Anibal Troilo
  • Adriana Varela

Artists that experimented with Tango

  • Andrés Calamaro
  • Richard Galliano
  • Ricardo Iorio
  • Jey Mammon
  • Los Piojos
  • Los Visitantes
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