Tango isn’t just a genre of music–it’s a way of life. Tango originated along the border between Argentina and Uruguay in the 1700s as a blend of the Creole contradanza, the Cuban habanera the African-inspired milonga and Uruguay’s candombe. The dance that is inextricably bound to the music began to emerge in the mid to late 1800s as a dance of the “underclass,” performed mainly by men in “houses of ill repute” in Argentina’s Buenos Aires and Uruguay’s Montevideo. Decade by decade, as it developed into a deeply romantic art form, this passionate dance became socially acceptable, then even socially desirable. By the turn of the century composers like Astor Piazzolla had begun to fuse the genre with European classical music and American jazz and vocalists like Carlos Gardel had pioneered the art of romantic vocals. Today, tango music is expanding to include more and more percussion instruments, though there are definitely many tango lover who are very serious about the passion that drives the dance and want it to remain “pure.”
COUNTRY: Argentina, Uruguay
KEY INSTRUMENTS: Bandoneón, Guitar, Flute, Piano, Violin
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