Monday, October 19, 2009

History of the Argentine Tango

Buenos Aires and tango are synonymous terms, and tango is an integral part of the large city. You can find the tango all over Buenos Aires: in it's mythical cafes, at the milongas, and by walking around the city's authentic neighborhoods.

The history of the Argentine Tango, from tango's humble beginnings to its latest developments, is part of the grand history of Buenos Aires.

The Passion of the Underworld
Although it has come to epitomize the glamour and elegance of high society, with women in sleek glittering evening gowns and men in tuxedos, the Argentine Tango originated in society's underbelly, the brothels. As immigrants from Europe, Africa, and ports unknown streamed into the outskirts of Buenos Aires during the 1880's, many came toward the houses of ill repute. The tango dance originated as an "acting out" of the relationship between the prostitute and her pimp. In fact, the titles of the first tangos referred to characters in the world of prostitution and were considered very obscene by society.

This form of the tango spread throughout the underworld for a number of years. During that time the bandoneon, an accordion-like instrument, was introduced into the music. The bandoneon came from Germany where it was used to play religious music in churches that couldn't afford an organ. In Argentina, Eduardo Arolas is credited as being the main early pioneer of the instrument and having forever intertwined the fates of the bandoneon and the tango artform. Eduardo said that the bandoneon was made to play the tango, with its deep melancholy feeling that the immigrants enjoyed as a sentimental tingle in their hard working lives.

Next Came Paris..
The next chapter in the history of the Argentine Tango was "written" by Ricardo Guiraldes. Ricardo was a well-to-do poet and writer and an upper-class playboy in Argentina. He enjoyed emulating the social lives of his more bohemian friends, including going to these tango performances. In 1910, Ricardo went on a tour of Europe. He wrote a poem called "Tango" to honour the dance, and gave a tango performance at a fashionable Parisian salon. The crowd was deeply attracted to the dance and Tango was the first of the many latin dance crazes that were to sweep Europe. With the popularity of the Argentine Tango in Europe, Argentine high society took a new look at the dance and welcomed it into their own lives.

Introduction by Hollywood
The next great name in the development of tango is movie star Rudolph Valentino. Hollywood moguls were able to connect the Argentine star's image to the tango artform in the movie "The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse"(1926). Valentino played a gaucho(Argentine Cowboy) and performed a tango dance wearing wide trousers and leather chaps while holding a carnation in his mouth and a whip in his hand. The scene is probably the greatest in the history of the Argentine Tango, not for a second discounted by the fact that gauchos never danced tango. Even future tango stars were forced to perform dances dressed as gauchos for no other reason but the strength of that scene and the image it created.

Gardel and Tango's Golden Age
Carlos Gardel was the star that became the greatest champion of the Argentine Tango. His beautiful voice and macho looks made him Argentina's favorite sun and the measuring stick for generations to come. The invention and wide use of the radio, records and film helped spread his fame worldwide, and make this time the Golden Age of Tango.

Gardel was tragically killed in an aircrash in Columbia. After his death the artform split into two main movements that dominated the then packed concerts and dance halls that tango has become. The traditionalist movement was led by Filiberto, D'Arisen, Biggie and De Angel is, while the evolutionists were led by De Caro, Dia Sari, Troilo and Pugliese. Bands grew and became more popular until the end of the Golden Age in around 1950.

Piazzolla's Tango Nuevo
Astor Piazzolla became the next tango superstar. He had the vision of tango "for the ear rather than the feet". He created numerous operas, concertos, theater and film scores. Piazzolla paved the way for a new age of tango to begin.
In 1920s, tango-rocker(tango rock) became popular by such albums as "Homage to Gardel and Le Opera" by Lit to Nubia. The music replaced the standard combination of violins and bass with a rock-style rhythm section including electric guitars and synthesizers. Tango also mixed with jazz led by the Siglo XX trio.
Traditional tango was maintained by the old guard led by the singer Roberto 'Polaco' Goyeneche and the pianist Osvaldo Pugliese.
Tango Today
Today, after the long stretch of "the second decadence of tango" (in the 60's and 70's), young people have come around and have started to accept the tango around them as being a part of them. The youth realize the tango in their own ways, with their own unique character, mixing Piazzolla with the primitive bands and with flute and guitar, deconstructing and restructuring it. Maybe that is why tango is now again a phenomenon, this resurrection of tango may make the artform more powerfull than ever. The beautiuful city of Buenos Aires remains the world center of the movement.
The Evolution of Tango
The history of the Tango can be traced surprisingly enough to a country dance of 17th Century England. The English country dance became the Contredanse in France, and this in turn was called the Contradanza in Spain or later simply Danza. When imported by the Spaniards into Cuba, it became the Danzahabanera. During the Spanish American War, a popular dance called the Habanera del Cafe appeared which was the prototype of the Tango.
The whole genealogy is presented in the following chronological table:
- Country Dance (England, 1650)
- Contredanse (France, 1700)
- Contradanza (Spain, 1750)
- Danza (Spain, 1800)
- Danza Habanera (Cuba, 1825)
- Habanera (Argentina, 1850)
- Habanera del Cafe (Argentina, 1900)
- Tango (Argentina, 1910)
The Stars of Tango:
Great musicians and phenomenal dancers have shaped the Argentine Tango artform into the marvel that it is today. Read their bio's and listen to their music to be a more informed tango enthusiast.
Contemporary Tango Stars
Here you'll find bios and information on the greatest contemporary tango stars.
Gotan Project:
Initiated by Philippe Cohen Solal and Edouardo Makaroff in 1999, with Christoph H Muller joining immediately, Gotan Project saw the light of day with the release of their first 10 inch in February 2000 on Ya Basta!, Solal's label. The project which gathers on record, as well as on stage, top Argentinean musicians exiled in Paris, is experiencing an incredible international success with the release of their first album "La Revancha Del Tango". To date, more than 500.000 records have been sold in Europe. Their current live tour is taking them to some of the world's most prestigious stages and influential clubs. The show mixes video performances of Prisca Lobjoy and the technical skill of gathering acoustic musicians alongside machines.
Adriana Varela:
Maybe the major Tango female singer in Argentina and an artist with a unique style. Her career has grown up year by year through the constant search for expressions of the Argentinean cultural identity.
Her professional debut took place in 1991 and since then, her continuous performances have placed her in a privileged position between among the Argentinean press and musicians, who consider her "the tango's voice revelation" of the last decade.
Adriana Varela was awarded with several international prizes, and she has participated in very important music festivals such us the ones that take place in Nantes (France), Paris, Granada (Spain), Porto Alegre (Brazil), the "Argentinean festival in London" (England) and the GREC of Barcelona (Spain).
Following the steps of the legendary singer Polaco Goyeneche, her musical mentor, she recorded songs with important tango bandoneonists such as Leopoldo Federico and Rodolfo Mederos, and with the famous Uruguayan musicians Hugo Fatorusso, Ruben Rada and Jaime Ross. She has also sung songs of Joaquin Sabina and Fito Paez. That's why Adriana is a complete exponent of the mixed musical culture of the new Rio de la Plata expressions.
In 1999 Quincy Jones requested her to represent Argentina at the "Concerts of the Americas". It was the opportunity to share stage with Liza Minelli, Paul Anka, Celia Cruz, Daniela Mercury, Tito Puente, Arturo Sandoval, Rita Marley and Kenny G, all of them under Lalo Schiffrin's artistic direction.
Adrana Varela has recorded some songs specially for Argentinean film soundtracks like "FLOP" (1991); "Al Corazon" (1996), directed by Mario Sabato and "Plata Quedama"(1999), under the artistic direction of Gustavo Santaolalla. Her voice also opens the film "Tango", directed by the world famous spanish director Carlos Saura.
Alejo Gabriel Carames:
Alejo Carames began his academic guitar studies at the Academia Superior de Carmelo Rizzuti, then continued them at the Conservatorio Municipal Manuel de Falla and he finally completed his studies at the Escuela de Música Popular de Avellaneda. In that school he obtained his Popular Music Instrumentalist degree, with a Tango Guitar specialty. His teachers were Kelo Palacios in folk; Anibal Arias, Ruben "Chocho" Ruiz and Hugo Romero in tango; and Rodolfo Alchourron and Rodolfo Mederos in arrangements and orchestral practice. He later improved his orchestration and writing studies with the latter.
Since 1995 he has been performing as a tango guitarist, accompanying different singers -like Jorge Valdes, Carlos Acuna, Enzo Valentino, Abel Lando, Hugo Marcel, Maria Silvia Varela, Favio Santana, Silvia Laura, Fabian Russo and Gabriel Dominguez, among others- at live performances and recordings in diverse instrumental nds -such as El Trebol Trio, Cuarteto Filiberto, Pura Mana, Daniel Buono Quinteto- and in a guitar duet with Hugo Romero.
His appearances include stages like Teatro Astral, La Scala de San Telmo, the National Library, Cafe Tortoni, the Obras Sanitarias Stadium, La Esquina Homero Manzi, Oliverio Always (Bauen Hotel), La Casona del Conde de Palermo, El Caminito Tango Show, Teatro Colonial, The Salon Dorado at the Casa de la Cultura, Teatro Municipal de Moron and Gandhi bookstore.
Carames worked as a musician and an arranger in several plays, like El conventillo de la Paloma, El Angel: tango y bar, La nina de la noche, Canta San Telmo (un punal y una guitarra).
He has been member of the Hombres de Tango trio since its foundation in 1997-on guitar and arrangements-, and of the Quinteto Tipico Buenos Aires -on electric guitar and arrangements. He works as a guitar teacher and a Tango Assembly director privately as well as at various institutions like the School of Law at the University of Buenos Aires. He is in charge of arrangements in diverse projects, like singers recording productions, music production for dancers, music for plays, etc.
Cuarteto Almagro:
In early 1997, Argentine musician Alfredo Rubin asked German violinist Leo Weiss, who had just arrived in Buenos Aires, to join pianist Analia Goldberg and bandoneon player Alejandro Bruschini and form this tango group. Since the beginning, this quartet tried to combine -through transcriptions of orchestral versions from the 40's- a solid, classic sound with bold arrangements and their own compositions. They were asked to play in several events, such as dinner shows, ballrooms, private and public cultural events, tango-dance exhibitions, at the FM de la Ciudad radio (92.7) and at the National Library. They also joined other orchestras and young groups in recording two CDs.
After some months, Cuarteto Almagro had become one of the more solid and original groups of the new generation.
Hernan Salinas: Argentine tango singer of the school of Carlos Gardel, and one of the most important voices of Argentine tango. His voice of Buenos Baritone, sometimes sensual, other dramatic, demonstrates his aptitude to adapt to varied forms of sung expressions. To this natural feature, he adds a great dose of talent, study and dedication that allows him to include different facets that tango offers.
In a type of music that require certain maturity , Salinas recorded his first simple as soloist when he was just 20 years old. He obtained a fast recognition from the public like a great orchestras singer . Thus it was that the maestro Astor Piazzolla invited him in 1987 to participate in the European opening of his Opera Tango "Maria of Buenos Aires".
Classic Tango Stars
Here you'll find bios and information on the greatest classic tango stars.
Carlos Gardel (1890 - 1935):
Carlos Gardel was the legendary singer of the new lyrical tango songs that appeared in Argentina in the 1920s. His light tenor, influenced by the popular opera singers of the time such as Enrico Caruso, sold millions of records and packed concert halls throughout South America. Gardel was also an accomplished actor and appeared in many films. Well-groomed, smiling and handsome, Gardel helped to make the tango legitimate with other audiences in Argentina for whom the word tango had sleazy connotations. He was also an icon for the millions of urban poor in Argentina and beyond who saw him rise from the slums to be an international star.
Carlos Gardel was born in Toulouse, France in 1890 as the illegitimate son of Berta Gardes. He came to Buenos Aires in 1893 with his mother to find a better life. In his teens he began singing native folk and Spanish songs, shimmies, and fox trots accompanied by guitar in the clubs and cafes of Buenos Aires. He established a well-known singing duo with Jose Razzano, performing in venues located as far as Uruguay. Carlos Gardel also appeared in big music-halls, where he performed with light classical singers such that the lyricisms of his songs, coupled with their drama and tragic endings, were reminiscent of Puccini's operas.
Sometime in 1917 Gardel met Pascual Contursi, a street poet in Montevideo with a talent for writing risque songs using 'lunfardo' - Buenos Aires street slang. Their meeting resulted in their first tango song in a whole new genre. "Mi noche triste"('My sad night') told the tale of a pimp's lonely nocturnal longings for his whore to come back to him. Against the advice of his friends, Gardel sang the tango (his first in public) at a theatre performance. Even though Razzano bailed out, Gardel got a standing ovation at the end.
The new sound of tango had arrived and the record companies couldn't release the records fast enough. Gardel wrote one hit after the next, songs now considered tango masterpieces: "El Dia Que me Quieras", "Mi Buenos Aires Querido", "Por Una Cabeza", "Volver", "Silencio", and "Cuesta Abajo". By the early 1920s Gardel's recordings had made him an international star. He travelled to Spain and France, and was swamped by adoring crowds everywhere.
During a promotional tour for "El Dia Que Me Quieras" Gardel visited Puerto Rico, Cuba and finally Colombia. At Medellin Airport in Columbia, Gardel boarded a short flight to Cali for a radio interview before returning to Buenos Aires. He never arrived; the plane crashed shortly after take-off. The effect on the Argentine public was similar to that which followed the death of Lady Diana Spencer in 1997 in England. Citizens reacted with shock and disbelief to the news, and life in Buenos Aires came to a halt. Gardel's body was returned to Buenos Aires and lay in state for a day at the Luna Park arena amid weeping crowds. Eventually the coffin began its final journey along Corrientes Avenue to the cemetery of La Chacarita, where he was laid to rest.

His death in a plane crash at the height of his popularity contributed to the Gardel legend - it's still said that he "sings better every day". The bronze statue of Gardel in front of his grave in La Chacarita cemetery in Buenos Aires is a shrine to his followers. Fans light a cigarette and place it in between the fingers of the life-size statue's right hand. Gardel is also commemorated during Argentina's National Tango Day every 11th of December. Other tributes to Gardel include a street and a subway station bearing his name.
Astor Piazzolla (1921 - 1992) - Bandoneon player, director and composer
Astor Piazzolla was a remarkable musician, who revitalised the tango and took it from the clubs and ballrooms into the concert halls. Various parts of Astor Piazzolla's output, while all based firmly in the rhythm and passion of his native tango, might be filed under the 'World Music', 'Jazz', 'Classical', or even 'Easy Listening' sections.
Piazzolla was born in Mar del Plata, Argentina. While living in Bronx, New York Piazzolla became a promising young bandoneon player. So promising, in fact, that he was asked by tango deity Carlos Gardel to play a part in his film 'El Dia que me Quieras'. Impressed, Gardel offered the young man a place on his forthcoming South American tour. Piazzolla declined the offer and returned to Buenos Aires, while Gardel went on and tragically died in a plane crash.
Back home, Piazzolla studied under the Argentine composer Alberto Ginastera and also made a name for himself as a band leader. By 1945 Piazzolla had recorded 25 albums. In 1954 he received a grant to continue his classical studies with the composer Nadia Boulanger in Paris. Nadia found his classical efforts too full of the 'approved' influences - Ravel, Stravinsky, Bartok - and not individual, not his own. 'The truth is,' Piazzolla later wrote, 'I was ashamed to tell her that I was a tango musician, that I had worked in the whorehouses and cabarets of Buenos Aires. A tango musician was a dirty concept in Argentina when I was young. It was the underworld. But Nadia made me play a tango for her on the piano, and then told me, 'You idiot! don't you know, this is the real Piazzolla, not the other one? You can throw all that other music away'. So I threw away ten years of work, and started with my Nuevo Tango.'
Back in Buenos Aires, Piazzolla started to develop his unique fusion, and formed the Quinteto Tango Nuevo ('New Tango Quintet') in 1960. Though some purists didn't like it at first, he took the traditional music of Argentina into new territory, revolutionizing its old image with innovative content and form. Tango could now have jazz chords and improvisations - or it could be worked into a classical fugue. Piazzolla's tango could be meticulously worked on in a studio or spontaneously exuded in the concert hall.
'I think that music or styles of music should not be explained, especially nuevo tango,' Piazzolla said. 'You feel it or you don't. If it's old fashioned, or traditional, or contemporary, that's another story. This music is trying to be something else, it's just a new way of feeling the music of my city, Buenos Aires. Some musicians love it and music lovers everywhere enjoy the new sound, but our 'tangueros' hate me, only because I changed the old tango. I only turned it upside down like a stocking, but the question is why did I do it? Tango, like jazz, must change. There was a need for new music (harmonies, rhythms, melodies, arrangements) and a history of 40 years of battling against enemies who wouldn't accept it.'

One of Piazzolla's great compositions from that period, 'Adios Nonino' ('Goodbye Grandpa'), written in memory of his dying father, displays the new direction of tango: the piece starts with a splashy, jazzy piano introduction that sounds improvised but isn't. The piece continues with a piano soliloquy, but turns frantic and introspective and is brusquely interrupted by the bandoneon's sound and from there the music alternates between boisterous reminiscence and tender memories.
It was all very different from the tango of Carlos Gardel, but Piazzolla's music and influence began to spread from Buenos Aires around the globe. By the end of the 1980s he was a celebrated international artist, having anticipated the boom in popular world music - or rather, having helped to cause it. In 1989, he formed the Sexteto Tango Nuevo with two bandoneons, and carried on composing and performing concerts, although many of his compositions were never recorded in a studio. He became ill in 1990 and died in his beloved Buenos Aires at the age of 71, having almost single-handedly revived and renewed the artform.
Osvaldo Pugliese (1905 - 1995) - Piano player, director and composer.
Born in Buenos Aires, Osvaldo began his musical career as a pianist in the sextet of Paquita Bernado. In 1929 he formed a sextet with Elvino Vardaro and by 1939 Osvaldo had formed his own orchestra. In 1943 he made his first recordings with Odeon, and later with Stentor and Phillips, while starting to travel the world widely, including trips to the Soviet Union, China and Japan.
His father Adolfo, worker in the shoe industry, was an amateur flutist and performed in quartets that played tango in the neighborhood. Adolfo's two older brothers played the violin: Vicente 'Fito' Salvador, and Alberto Roque, the latter was more involved than the former and was well invlolved in music for a number of years. It was Osvaldo's father that taught him his first music lessons, and Osvaldo started his first steps with the violin, but soon switched to piano, even though it took Don Adolfo a certain time to buy the expensive instrument. After being trained at Conservatories nearby, at fifteen Osvaldo started playing at the "Cafe de La Chancha", so called by the customers in reference to the lack of hygiene shown by the owner. Sometime later, he worked at a well known cafe in downtown Buenos Aires, and took part in the group of the first female bandoneonist in tango, Francisca "Paquita" Bernardo. Going on with his career, Osvaldo entered Enrique Pollet quartet, and later played in the famous Roberto Firpo orchestra, and then in 1927 was a pianist in the great bandoneonist Pedro Maffia's orchestra. Together with the violinist Elvino Vardaro, Pugliese left the orchestra to form a new group under their own name which was considered avant-garde for the time, but it has not left recordings. Vardaro-Pugliese had their debut at the Cafe Nacional starting a long tour across the country. They were accompanied by the poet Eduardo Moreno, their manager and Malena de Toledo, their singer. Moreno was the lyricist of "Recuerdo", the most successful tango composed by Pugliese. The tour turned out a financial failure and Vardaro had to pawn his "Sartoris" bow to pay the return tickets. Later, Pugliese in association with another violinist, Alfredo Gobbi, formed a group where one of the bandoneon players was the very young Anibal Troilo. That venture lasted a few months and after that he formed his own team thanks to an opportunity to play in a couple of local hangouts. Afterwards he took part in two duets, firstly with Gobbi and later with Vardaro, performing in radio broadcasts. In 1934, when the bandoneonist Pedro Laurenz assembled an orchestra, Pugliese was chossen to play the piano. On this occasion he wrote the first arrangements for some tangos, among these was "La Beba", which belongs to his inspiration. In 1936 he was member of the bandoneonist Miguel Calo's group, still in the De Caro stream, and in this way he was nurturing his aesthetic ideas concerning tango. Until 1938 Pugliese put together new formations which did not last, and tried unsuccessfully to put together a cooperative society of workers as an expression of his Communist ideas.
His definitive projection towards the tango he conceived commenced on August 11, 1939, when he reappeared at the cafe Nacional. Amadeo Mandarino was the singer in his brand new orchestra. After a time he reorganized the group, then with Augusto Gauthier as vocalist. Pugliese was the leader, pianist and arranger of a group that at this time was working as a cooperative unit. From a cafe placed in the Villa Crespo neighborhood they switched to the most important broadcast of the time, Radio El Mundo, so giving origin to an important group of followers made up of fans of his style and adepts of the Communist party.
Pugliese was becoming the most faithful example of the De Caro style, but with a strong rhythmic beat, very appealing to the dancers but without sacrificing quality.
Of the greatest importance was, when his orchestra finally recorded in 1943, the arrival of Roberto Chanel, tough singer, with nasal sound and "compadrito" style, who left 31 recordings. To achieve a contrast, Pugliese included Alberto Moran as vocalist because of his dramatism, sensuality, his rare quality for the mezza voce and perfect match with the orchestral accompaniment. His appeal on women has never been equaled by any other singer. Moran left 48 recorded songs. Between 1949 and 1950, Jorge Vidal, another of the popular voices in the history of this orchestra, recorded only eight. Among the subsequent singers outstand, although with repertories of irregular quality, Jorge Maciel and Miguel Montero. In the 40s Pugliese recorded some instrumental pieces of his own which anticipated the avant-garde. Such is the case of "La yumba" (which became a sort of anthem of his orchestra), "Negracha" and "Malandraca". Because of these two latter, he is regarded as a pioneer in the use of syncopation and counterpoint prior to Horacio Salgan and Astor Piazzolla. Other important tangos Pugliese composed and played are, above all, the aforementioned "Recuerdo", and "La Beba", "Adios Bardi", "Recien", "Barro", "Una vez" and "El encopao". Through years, Osvaldo Pugliese orchestra was banned for broadcasting as a means of political censorship but it did not succeed in diminishing his popular acceptance.
He was extremely well loved and respected by his musicians. When Pugliese was blacklisted his orchestra would leave a single red carnation on the empty keyboard to honour his absence. Pugliese developed a unique orchestral sound, regularly a rranging his own works to feature the bandoneon of Osvaldo Ruggiero, with whom he collaborated for almost three decades (1939-1968). Their combined skills together with Pugliese's piano playing and visionary musical intelligence created a music that remains the top choice of many stage and salon tango dancers for its intensity and integrity. "La Yumba" is one of his most famous compositions and was played at his funeral in July 1995.

Carlos Di Sarli (1903-1960) - Pianist, director and composer
Di Sarli, the perfectionist, was a wizard of the keyboard and one of the great composers of tango. His famous rhythmic sound came from a guitar when he didn't use the bandoneon. Di Sarli always wore a dark pair of sunglasses to hide an accidental wound that occured in childhood.
Juan D'Arienzo (1900-1976): - Violin player, director, and composer
Juan D'Arienzo and his energetic beat brought great masses to the milongas and dance halls in the 1930s. D'Arienzo placed strict emphasis on the rhythmic side of tango, and with a forceful lead, became on of the greatest tango musicians to dance to. D'Arienzo also possessed and displayed the lunfardo attitude that the tango was born with.
Francisco "Pirincho" Canaro (1888-1964): - Violin player, director and composer.
This excellent performer added much to tango music. In the late 1920s Canaro was one of the first to create the unique sounds of the Fantasia style of Tango. In the late 1950s Francisco also introduced Juan Copes and Maria Nieves in one of his grand shows.
Ricardo Tanturi (1905-1973):
Ricardo ameliorated and grew the classic tango sounds with his powerful compilations.
Angel D'Agostino (1900-1991) and Angel Vargas (1904-1959): -
D'Agostino, the pianist/composer and Vargas, the singer, made a tremendios pair that enriched the tango world.
Miguel Calo (1907-1972): - Bandoneon player and orchestra director
Miguel Calo was the master of the tango sound. He could make beautiful pieces sound complete and delightful. He always recruited the best performers and was a very successful producer.
Roberto 'Polaco' Goyeneche:
The prolific singer Roberto Goyeneche followed Carlos Gardel in his style and worked with many great orchestras.
Anibal Troilo (1914 - 1975):
Troilo was a master of controlling feeling and a had a strong manner of expression. As an orchestra leader, he created an undoubtable tango style, balanced, with originality and of undeniable taste. He knew how to choose the best players according to his musical ideals. Finally, he was an inspired composer, creator of pieces made to that passed the test of time.
Eladia Blazquez:
This renowned singer and composer took her first artistic steps in her early years. At the age of eight she already sang and played the guitar and piano by ear. Her compositions deal with melancholy and hope, everyday life and the expression of pain and frustration in home city of Buenos Aires
Maria Grana:
Maria Grana is one of the greatest world-renowned tango singers. She is the daughter of singer Marcos Grana, and started her career very young, recognized by Osvaldo Pugliese who, in 1971, encourages her debut on television and turns her into one of the first singers of his orchestra.
Tango Dance Stars
Here you'll find bios and information on the greatest dancers of the Argentine Tango.
Juan Carlos Copes:
Known as "The Legend of Tango", Juan was proclaimed "Dancer of the Century" in Buenos Aires. Copes, the first and still most important choreographer, set scenes that are now the foundations of tango theater. Men fighting with knives and then beaten a gun and a tango danced on a tiny table, are all his early creations.
Copes achieved further world renownment by choreographing and starring in the broadway play Tango Argentino. Copes toured the world proudly displaying the beauty of the dance and music. In 2000, his film Tango won over a number of heart along with the American Choreography Award.
His greatness was acknowledged a number of times including a performance for President Reagan in the White House and a number of performances on the nationally televised Ed Sullivan Show.
Maria Nieves:
Maria is a self-learner that rose to tango greatness with her longtime partner Juan Copes.
Gloria and Eduardo Arquimbau:
The couple have been dancing and performing tango for over 40 years. They performed in the broadway musical Tango Argentino from 1985 to 1992. They were part of the original cast of the succesful Forever Tango in 1994 and 1995. Eduardo and Gloria are considered the only living masters of the Orillero style of tango. Eduardo is now considered one of the greatest milongueros of his generation.
Miguel Zotto:
Born in tanguera family, Miguel started dancing at 6 years old. In 1988, Miguel, with his dance partner Milena Plebs, created the company "Tango x 2" in which they were they were the directors, choreographers and star dancers.
Carlos Gavito:
The last of tango's Golden Age, Carlos Gavito learned to tango in the suburbs of Buenos Aires. Carlos created a few numbers in the broadway show Forever Tango that have become the key numbers in the show.
Roberto Reis and Guillermina Quiroga:
Roberto and Guillermina are one of the main couples that has danced in the Broadway sensation Forever Tango.
Nito and Elba __:
Nito became on of tango's greats in the mid fifties by winning over a dozen dance contests. He was then invited to be the lead dancer in Osvaldo Pugliese's orchestra. The couple met in 1975 became partners for life. They have toured the world and performed, choreographed and taught where-ever they went.
Pablo Veron:
Pablo may be the most famous tango dancer in the world. His superb dance skills landed him a starring role in the show Tango Argentino and brought him in a leading role in Sally Potter's film "The Tango Lesson".


  1. Hello...
    I thoroughly enjoyed your lengthy and detailed account of the history of the Argentine Tango. Other than you have a "passion for life" and your interest in "the foundation of life," I am curious as to how or why you became interested in the music/dance. Are you perhaps an Argentine tango musician or dancer?
    Thank you.

  2. Its wonderfull the history of Tango. I love it!!
    When I was at an apartment in Buenos Aires, I went to a lot of "milongas" in San Telmo, a neighborhood full of Tango. I also went to see a couple of Tango shows in Abasto neighborhood. There a lot of good places to see it, its amazing!

  3. There are a lot of tourist spots in Argentina and here's where you could spend the day or night in Argentina.

    Hostels in Bariloche