Beagle Channel in the Patagonia

Beagle Channel in the Patagonia

January 27, 2013

THE ARGENTINE TANGO, A GIFT FROM SPANISH AMERICA

THE POPULARITY THEME 



A fellow Blogger posted an interesting theme for this week: Write a blog post on the topic of POPULARITY.

According to Google, the word “popular” means “liked, admired, or enjoyed by many people or by a particular person or group”.


I like this definition, and what’s more I can easily relate it to the central topic of this Blog, which is:


SEMBLANCE OF SPANISH AMERICA 


This vast geographical area has much to offer that is “liked, admired or enjoyed”, not only within this area, but also around the rest of the world. There is the music, the famous writers, the cuisine, the fruit, the agricultural products, the vacation resorts, the beautiful scenery, and so on….


I have chosen to highlight a specific musical form that is present both as a musical creation and as a dance form: the Argentine Tango.


WHAT IS THE TANGO?

The Tango is a musical art form that has been shaped over a lengthy period of time. Many contributions from different sources and cultures have intermingled in order to produce the masterpieces of the Tango’s Golden Age and beyond.


The geographical center of the Argentine Tango is without doubt, the city-port of Buenos Aires.



The Tango, both the dance and the music, is known to many. It is also difficult to ignore and when heard or seen, people either respond to its insistent beat, or are captivated by watching the performance of an expert dance couple.

Some clarifications are necessary. Argentine Tango is not Ballroom Tango, the one that is often presented on TV during various competitions. Neither is it the stage dance or “fantasia”.



The real Argentine dance is the one that takes place in nightclubs, or in special meeting places called “milongas” or on the street.



The origins of the Tango are rather obscure, as there are no written records that describe the process. It quite clearly originated among the poorer classes about the middle of the 1880s and was influenced by the people of different cultures that arrived to Argentina in various waves.



To begin with, the music had a very Spanish feel, which combined harmoniously with the Cuban “Habanera”. The African slaves that were brought to Argentina in the 1880s also contributed with their Candombé rhythms.


At a later date various Europeans of Italian, British, Polish and Russian origin provided great variety to the sounds and rhythms of the Tango.


The polka, the mazurka and the waltz all melded in with the Habanera and the Candombé.
This extremely varied melting pot produced the three main types of social Tango. 

The first is the Basic Tango and shows a relatively slow four-beat rhythm. The second is the Milonga, which is much faster and feels like a polka. The third is the Tango-Waltz, which uses the traditional 1-2-3 beat but with a very tango-like flavor. The main element is the insistent beat -  beat, which is also very syncopated.


This musical form has gone through various periods in its development, of which the most well known is the Golden Age of Tango, from 1935 to 1955. This 20 year period produced many beautiful Tangos and world famous interpreters.

A Tango revival movement started in the 1980s and has produced “Tango Nuevo” with Angel Piazolla, “New Tango”, “Electro Tango”, “Tango Fusion” and so on.

The Golden Age Tango has also been included in this revival and the old recordings have been re-edited with an improved sound thanks to modern technology. The Tango is very much alive and healthy today!


TANGO MASTERPIECES




There are so many, it is difficult to choose one for this Blog. After much deliberation, I settled on the sentimental Tango called “VOLVER”.

This famous and beautiful Tango is ever present today, even though its debut was in the year 1935. It was recorded in New York, at Victor Studios just a few months before the composer and the lyricist met their tragic death.

The composer was the world famous Carlos Gardel and the creator of the beautiful lyrics was his collaborator, Alfredo LePera. Carlos Gardel is a household name in all of Spanish America, and the recordings of his voice are a UNESCO World Heritage Nomination.

The style of “VOLVER” is more for listening than for dancing; it is what is known as a Tango-canción. The rhythmic beat is muted and takes second place to the melody and the lyrics.

This Tango became so famous that a phrase of the lyrics, included in the refrain is used by Spanish speakers the world over. This expression is as follows: “Que veinte años no es nada…”   The literal translation would be “twenty years are nothing…”. Nowadays, the meaning depends on the context and many use it without really knowing where it came from.


THIS IS TANGO ROJO, OR RED TANGO, A FILETEADO ART PAINTING





 Source: Alfredo Genovese, CC BY, Wikimedia Commons


STREET DANCERS AT BOCA







 Source: Jean-Phillipe Mondon, CC BY SA 2.5. Wikimedia Commons.





I have written a series of articles on the Argentine Tango. The Tango VOLVER is included in Part 5, which also refers to another composition of a similar type called NADA, the sound tracks for both Tangos and my own free translation of the beautiful lyrics. The title and link for the specific article are as follows:




ELOQUENT TANGO: VOLVER AND NADA (Lyrics in English)



SPANISH VERSION

.


(This blog is bilingual)




SEMBLANZA DE LA AMERICA HISPANA



En este Blog consideré como desafío el tema de la POPULARIDAD.



La América Hispana tiene mucho que ofrece en este sentido, ya que su música, sus escritores, su cocina, su fruta, sus productos agrícolas, sus centros de vacaciones, sus maravillosos paisajes, son conocidos y apreciados en el mundo entero.

En esta oportunidad elegí destacar una forma musical específica: el Tango Argentino.



¿QUÉ ES EL TANGO?



Es una forma de arte musical que se fue conformando  a través de un período de tiempo bastante largo.

 
El centro geográfico del Tango es sin duda la ciudad-puerto de Buenos Aires.
 
Muchos conocen el Tango, tanto como forma musical como una danza de carácter internacional. Es muy difícil de ignorar al escucharlo y también al observarlo, ya que la atención queda atrapada por su insistente ritmo y la belleza de las figuras de la danza.

 Es necesario aclarar que el Tango Argentino no es el Tango que se muestra en las competencias de la TV, y tampoco es el llamado “Tango Fantasía”

 El verdadero Tango Argentino es el que se baila en los locales nocturnos, en las milongas y en la calle.

Los orígenes del Tango no se conocen con claridad ya que no hay registros escritos sobre el proceso de su formación. Claramente surgió entre los habitantes de pocos recursos durante la década del 1880, y acumuló las influencias de los inmigrantes de distintas culturas que llegaron en repetidas oleadas a la Argentina.

En los comienzos, la música tenía mucha influencia española, combinada con la Habanera de Cuba y el Candombé africano traído por los esclavos negros llegados en la década de 1880

Posteriormente llegaron italianos, británicos, polacos y rusos, aportando cada uno con lo suyo.

La polka, la mazurca y el vals se refundieron en esta creación cultural llamada Tango.

En la actualidad el Tango se ha ido modernizando con el Tango Nuevo de Astor Piazolla, el Electro Tango, el Tango Fusión y muchos otros.

El Tango del Período de Oro también se ha remozado gracias a las nuevas copias de las antiguas grabaciones, hechas con la ayuda de la tecnología.


¡El Tango está muy, pero muy vivo!



CLÁSICOS DEL TANGO



Son tantos, que se hace muy difícil seleccionar uno específico para este Blog. 



Finalmente elegí un Tango sentimental: "VOLVER” del inmortal Carlos Gardel.

Este Tango se grabó por primera vez en Nueva York en los Estudios de la Víctor, en 1935, con la letra de Alfredo LePera y la interpretación de su compositor.

Este Tango contiene la famosa frase “Que veinte años no es nada…” que ha recorrido el mundo Hispano parlante y en la actualidad se usa con variadas interpretaciones en la vida cotidiana. Muchas personas desconocen su origen, que no es otro que este magistral Tango.

More about the Argentine Tango in a future post.        Más sobre el Tango Argentino en un próximo post.



LANGUAGE TIPS FOR ENGLISH


 Words that go together!  * Have lunch  - * Save money  - * Keep the change   - * Get angry  – * Go online 




LANGUAGE TIPS FOR SPANISH.



Expresiones de uso frecuente: * Ahogarse en un vaso de agua -  * Costar un ojo de la cara - * El que la sigue, la consigue  - * El talón de Aquiles


How is your level of comprehension?          ¿Cómo está su nivel de comprensión?




© 2012  joanveronica  (Joan Robertson)



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