The last decade has seen a world-wide explosion of interest in the
most unlikely places. In London you can tango every night of the week;
in tiny towns in Holland, Germany, even Norway and Finland (where it has
been declared as national music and dance) , tango aficionados gather together
night after night. Japan has its own tango sub-culture .
The birth of tango took place towards mid-19th century, with the formation
of dwelling conglomerates around the young city of Buenos Aires. Those
who lived there, peasants from inland, European immigrants and some disadvantaged
porteños (born in Buenos Aires) made up a new social class. Perhaps
as a way of identifying themselves as a group and of feeling they belonged
in their new home, they began to create cultural expressions derived from
this mixture. This was the start of tango, characterized by its extremely
closed codes, which were only accessible to the working classes.
Due to this impossibility of understanding by other audiences, the diffusion
of tango was difficult and was basically approached through dance, which
was earlier than tango itself in its most characteristic musical format
(let alone sung tango, which arrived much later). It is clear that tango
culture, understood as some particular usages and customs, is earlier than
tango as an artistic expression. Salon dances involving a man and a woman
embracing were the precedent for tango, which was refined until it became
what has long been known as tango. Somebody said: -Tango is something else
than a soft wave turned into music, it is the deepest dance in the world
-, and he who spoke these words was not Argentine. The truth is that it
must be acknowledged that it represents the last step in the universal
dance evolution as regards dances of mixed couples.
What started with dance was eventually coming of age in the expert hands
of great men, who, inspired in the popular melting pot, captured the richest
part of the Buenos Aires culture in their compositions. Themes always refer
to the ordinary man and his problems, the city and memories. Thus, tango
becomes a portrayal of Buenos Aires and its people. For this reason, undoubtedly,
since the best of the Buenos Aires culture is carried in each song, tango
gained ground abroad.
The main tango musicians and singers: