The Tango

Short and poetic History of Tango

No one can agree about when the Tango was born, or which was the first one. What is certain is that the Tango is as dark and melancholic as its origins, violent and passionate, a dance with the slowness and energy of snakes that tangle to each other but never asphyxiates, love and passion, Macho imagining himself as dominator meanwhile is the Female-Mother the real dominant. Food for psychologists, the Tango is a weeping between brothely and edipic Machos (yes, with capital letter) that could kill or mourn with the same ease.


Brothely, lonely, passionate, sad, energic, heroic, erotic, pornographic, chauvinist, feminist, sensual, secret. How could it not be melancholic and sad, How could it not be sensual and erotic, if it was the dance of the wait for the sad prostitutes? (Mr Gabriel García Marques, Nobel Prize in Literature, arrived 100 years late to this kind of sadness).

At the end of 19th Century, Argentina was receiving waves of thousands and thousands of lonely men from al the nations on Earth: Spain, Italy, France, Scotland, Great Britain, Greece, Lebanon, Arab, Germany, Russia, Denmark, Syria, Poland. Young men alone and in pain, waiting to save the money for "get the América", what means the spanish version of the American Dream: A house, the family finally together (wifes and kids were usually waiting at the other side of the sea), a decent job, eat every day.

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They use to be in the brothels, ruminating dreams and the sad of not get them (yet), seated one beside the other, in silence, in the lobby, waiting for the prostitutes -also inmigrants but with no more dreams- to be ready to attend them. And some pimp got the idea of alleviate those faces and sell a little more of wine during the wait. With all those starving musicians, it was easy to create and orchestra and make it play to liven up. And from that havoc of multiethnic musicians merged with the local sounds, arraised this music nostalgic but plenty of a strong pornographic content. Let´s check some established Tangos:

The Corn (El choclo)
Dirty Pu--y (later Dirty face, Cara sucia)
Two without take it out (Dos sin sacarla)
What happens that it is not inside (Qué pasa que no entra)
The C-m (El Fierrazo)

Cryptic, prohibited, outlying, poor, violent. Other words for the Tango. African bloode (Candombe influenced Tango), Cuban blood (The Habanera also influenced Tango), Andalusian blood (that brought guitars to Tango), German blood (That gave the Tango breathing trough the "bellows", acordeón (for us is the bandoneón), the poor churches and travelling Shepherd's organ).
Tango, now you understand why is passion.
Tango who borned wrong and I anyway love you. Of course marginal, poor neighbourhoods, inhabited by people neither spanish speaker, placed beside of Riachuelo river, a little bit less than the end of the world of the end of the world.

Tango of brothel's wait, secret dance (music was forbidden in brothels till 1921), men's dance. Longshoremen, ship welders, slaughtermen, many of them carrying a huge "barb" of 14, 18 inches to burry it in the first who look ugly or press excesivelly when they were dancing together. (Yes, when they were dancing together, ladies, were in the rooms)

Tango turns in an aristocratic dance

Something so passional, charming, secret and prohibited, couldn't do less than attract the snobs "childs" of high class. Far away from the services of "Frenchies" or Polish ladies, they should been got fascinated with that sight of silent dancing murders. And they took it and exhibit it in Paris where they use to live half of the year. And they also love it.

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Tell me how you dance and I will tell you who are you (from the bottom (the very one) from the top (really top) 

From the top it spilled like a cascade, and from the bottom it went up like a honeysuckle (by the way, honeysuckle, other formidable Tango), climbing by the hand of those who went out of poverty (almost everybody did it), recovered their families, bought a lot and did a little house.

The firs Tango introduced into society was "The Corn", in 1903 in Peron St Cafe. The Corn wasn't anymore the male sexual organ, now was a "native dance" that denies to be a Tango and was refering, without lyrics, to fruit of the land, the corn.

1905, "Lita" (a tribute to a Cabaret Lady) pass to be named "My sad night" (“Mi noche triste”), Tango with its own lyrics, its own melancholy and all that own sadness that I had told you.

Then in 1913, the first competition of that "open secret" well known as Tango was done. They will tell you that was in the Palais de Glace (Ice Palace), but it wasn't there, was in Corrientes St at 900, and the jury…were all Ladies of the High Society. What is a real honour for the Palais the Glace, is the honour of been the place where a Carlos Gardel yet unknown, won his first and last bullet that joined him saved in a lung. But this, is other story.


I gift you a Tango list, some of them obvius, others not

From the "Old Guard" (The first ones)

Mi noche triste  (My sad night)
Cuartito Azul (Blue Little Room)
Volver (To came back)
Mi Buenos Aires querido (My beloved Buenos Aires)
Madreselva (Honeysuckle)
El día que me quieras (The day you love me)
Mano a mano (face to face)
Sus ojos se cerraron (Her eyes closed)
Caminito (Little trail)
La Cumparsita (The Cumparsita)
Malevaje (Gangsters)
Tomo y obligo (I drink and I force to do it)
Volvió una noche (She come back one night)
Arrabal amargo (Bitter suburb)
Milonga sentimental (Sentimental Milonga)
Sur (South)
Naranjo en flor (Bloomed orange tree)
Ojos negros (Black eyes)
Tinta roja (Red ink)

From the New Guard (and according to some people: renegades, heretical and murders of Tango that's the way the Piazzolla's sect was called, but it is not true

Libertango (Freetango)
Adios Nonino (Bye bye Nonino)
Tristango (Sadtango)
María de Buenos Aires (Maria of Buenos Aires)
Primavera Porteña (Portenean springtime)

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The Tango essence is in missencounter (desencuentro), because is in our roots of being waiting for who are at the other side of the sea. Our grandparents could brought the families, but about Homeland, they only carried their memories and yearnings. The inmigrant is half cut man, those who arrived to Argentina, didn't cry, he was whistle a Tango.

There is a Tango Tour ready and waiting for you, with Acordeon sadness and the eight brothely steps of Tango included, and also Tango tickets for Shows and activities.

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