Of course you all know (or I hope you do) that along with steak, malbec, and a flair for rewriting the rules of Spanish grammar, tango is another one of Argentina’s claims to fame. Having originated in Buenos Aires, tango is inextricably rooted in the culture and consciousness of Argentines, and especially of porteños (a native or resident of BA). Unlike other Latino dances–such as salsa, lambada, and merengue–that are more vibrant and celebratory, tango is undeniably sultry, but in a somber, powerful, and mesmerizing way.
So, apropos (ha, I love that word) of living in Buenos Aires, I went to go see a tango show last week. Although there wasn’t any tango dancing, it was a tango band show, and it rocked. Literally. Orquesta Típica Fernández Fierro, made famous by a documentary film that won tons of awards, is tango music meets grungy rock band. They played classical instruments with an impressive passion (albeit at times I thought some members of the band took the whole rock band persona a little too seriously). The show was set in a stylized warehouse-turned-performance room, with tables and bleachers, where you could buy drinks and–of course–delicious empanadas. A cool experience for my first exposure to tango music. With dramatic lighting, smoke curling up towards the spotlights, and the shrill bandoneón (the instrument that looks like an accordion), the intensity of the music was palpable. Get a taste of it in the video below. Enjoy!
[EDIT: So, it turns out that with the crappy wifi connection that I currently have in my Argentine apartment, it is impossible to upload video onto the Interwebs. So, as soon as I get to a snazzy cafe with faster Internet service, I’ll put that video up. But for now, here’s a video from Orquesta Tipica’s website, which actually has much better shots of the orchestra members playing, b/c believe it not, I wasn’t allowed to go up on stage and hold my camera in their faces.]