Argentine Tango music is a fusion of various African and European styles, including polka, habanera, milonga, flamenco, mazurka, kondobe. It was developed at the end of 18th and beginning of 19th century.
First Tango ever recorded was composed by Angel Vilodo. It was performed by French National Guard in Paris, since at the time there were no studios in Argentina.
Early Tango was played by immigrants called “old timers” (Guardia vieja) in Buenos Aires. They played Tango on flute, gitar and violin; at the end of 19th century, bandenon arrives from Germany. Eduardo Arolas had popularized bandenon. Together with Vicente Greko, he standardized Tango sextet consisted of piano, bass, two bandoneons, and two violins.
Thanks to the singer Carlos Gardel, around 1920 tango migrates from suburbs to cities, and becomes very popular among aristocrats. He started the Golden Era of TangoAfter the tragic Carlos’ death, Rudolph Valentino, latino-lover and sex symbol, introduces Tango to North America by acting and dancing in his movies.
The most significant musicians were Roberto Firpo and Francisco Canaro who mastered flute and bass; Anibal Troilo and Carlos Di Sarli, called evolutionists , and Rudolfo Biadji and Juan D'Arienzo called traditionalists. D'Arienzo was called `Rey del compas` (king of rhythm).
During the Golden Era and later, Osvaldo Pugliese`s and Carlos Di Sarli’s orchestras, recorded numerous compositions. Carlos Di Sarli’s work is characterized by melodic an virtuous Tango. However, Osvaldo Pugliese introduced rich, complex and strong sound such as in `Gallo ciego`,`Emancipacion`, `La yumba` compositions. Music by Osvaldo Pugliese is mostly used for Show Tango (Tango Fantasia), and can be heard late at nights at millongas (Tango parties).
In modern time Astor Piazzolla arrives. In 1950s he tried to create pop form of tango, but to preserve integrity of his predecessors as well. In 1970s tango collides with jazz, rock & roll, and classic music. So called post-Piazzolla’s generation (from 1980s), represented by Dino Saluzzi i Juan Maria Solare, brings Nuevo Tango which is highly influenced by jazz and classic music as well as experimental style.
However, that is not the end of story. In the last couple of years, new ideas arrived: electro tango and tango fusion performed by `Gotan project`, a band from Paris; `bajofondo tango club` compilation; Carlos Libedinsky , Daniel Almada and Martin Iannaccone with ` Ultratango `, etc.
Tango becomes part of the program of big classical musicians such as Yo-Yo Ma, Gidon Kremer, Placido Domingo, Marcelo Alvarez and others.
Back to Articles