The black roots of the tango

From what I know, Argentina from 1800 onward is a mix of cultures. When we look more specific at the tango, the music and dance that is so much part of Argentinian culture, Africa plays an important role.

It starts with the name:Tango. There are theories that this name originates from the thunder God Shango from the Yoruba in Nigeria. The slaves imported to Argentina that worked on the sugar cane fields had one day off a year, and celebrated that special day with dance and music. In doing this they influenced the Gaucho’s, the Argentinian variant of Cowboys. This musical influence was traceable all the way to its capital Buenos Aires. The Gaucho’s mixed with the Immigrants, starting to make music on the streets using Indian Lyrics even. This is the origin of tango music, a melting pot of different cultural influences.

The Cumbia and Candombe are clearly rhythmically African. In the milonga’s the cortina, the set of 3 songs, is sometimes refreshed by this black rooted swinging rhythm that shakes up the nostalgia that sometimes hangs in the room like a thick blanket of static nostalgia, lost loves, and left behind countries. This rhythmical based music than is the red pepper in the European Pasta.

Argentina has its own black roots, expressing itself in one of its main cultural expressions, the Tango.

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