Saturday, May 12, 2012


One of the most popular and well-known styles that came out of Argentina is the tango. German and Italian immigrants brought this style of music to this area when they immigrated there. A traditional tango orchestra consists of a sextet: two violins, a piano, a double bass, and two bandoneóns (an instrument that sounds somewhat like an accordion).  The driving feature of the tango is the “dotted quarter – dotted quarter – quarter” [in 4/4 time] feel to it.

The dance of the same name that accompanies tango music has its roots from Europe and Africa. It was immensely popular around the turn of the 20th century up until about the middle of the century. Tango was a social dance, and was especially popular among working-class and immigrant communities. There are several styles and type of tango dance, but more or less the two partners stand very close – almost chest-to-chest – where one person leads and the other follows closely. Tango is included among the canon of ballroom dance. In 2009, UNESCO approved the dance to be part of the Intangible Cultural Heritage List. This is an example of both tango music and tango dance. 

In popular music, rock music is all the rage. And that, my friends, makes me happy. One band that I came across on Spotify is Intoxicados. I really like them, although I found I liked the album “Otro dia en el planeta tierra” [roughly translated as “the other day on planet Earth”] better than the album “El Exilio de Espicies” [roughly translated as “the exile of spicies”].  Both albums are available on iTunes for $9.99.

I’ve also come across the band Catupecu Machu. They’re a little harder rock than Intoxicados. There are some songs that I like, but others are just ok though.  There are several albums on iTunes ranging from $7.99 to $15.99.

I also really like the band Babasónicos. They have a sort of 70s/retro sound to some of their songs. They actually sometimes remind me of the Brazilian band Skank (before you get any ideas, it’s pronounced /skunk/).  I was listening to the album “A Propósito” on Spotify and was quite impressed. I might end up buying this one. I’m not sure yet, but I did like it a lot. It’s a toss-up between Intoxicados.

There’s also a movement to bring back Argentine folk music. Several folk artists have become popular in their efforts to bring folk music to younger crowds. One artist who has mixed folk with rock is Leon Gieco. (Every time I see his name I think it says Geico, like the insurance company.) His album called “Grandes Exitos” is really good. ($9.90 on iTunes). [While Spotify dates the album as 2005, iTunes says it was released in 1995. Regardless, good music is timeless, so I’m not sure why I bother with mentioning this discrepancy.] I’ve also listened to his album called “4° LP” which is very good, but not available on iTunes (I’m lazy and am in love with instant gratification; if I can’t buy it and download it right away, I’m going to let out a huge sigh and curse.) Enjoy! 

Up next: the food!

Wikipedia: “Culture of Argentina” “Tango music” “Tango dance” “Bandoneóns”

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