One of the most important things about a people’s culture, other than their food and language, is their music. In the case of Buenos Aires, there are rich traditions in both their Folclore music as well as their Tango music. The former is best exemplified by the recently deceased Mercedes Sosa, whose focus was in the regional folk styles of zamba and chacarera. As for Tango, with singers such as Osvaldo Pugliese and Astor Piazzolla, this music is the national pride of Argentina. Combining musical influences from the diverse immigrant populations at the end of the nineteenth century and beginning of twentieth century, this passionate music and dance form reached its pinnacle in the late 1930s and early 1940s, after which much of it disappeared during the nighttime curfews of the Perón regime and military dictatorship.
In the mid 1990s, young musicians began playing Tango music once again. This was a way of expressing their disdain at the growing globalization of North American music and recalling their national roots. Today, one can find a number of excellent Tango Nuevo groups playing in the San Telmo barrio of Buenos Aires. For an affordable and authentic evening, head to the Milonga (a Tango dance hall) at Avenida Independencia 572 at around 10pm for group dance lessons and/or at midnight for live music an dance until about 3am. Only 10-pesos (less than $3USD) to enter, and an extremely friendly 20-30 year-old bohemian artist crowd, it is a great escape from very popular Palermo SoHo.
Story by Oresti Tsonopoulos and Photo by Carolyn Balk