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When you think about music and Argentina, do you immediately think tango?
You’re not alone. Argentina is known for unleashing the sexy style on the world in the early twentieth century. Over almost a hundred years, the tango has been an obsession of many, even leading to an explosion of tango-themed vacation tours.
While I appreciate the music, and especially the dance, of the tango, it’s not something I would necessarily have in my iPod. Throughout the years, the style has of course evolved, first into Nuevo Tango, which incorporated new instruments and new melodies into the traditional music, and then into Neo Tango. This most recent version of the tango style is a fusion of the traditional with an electronic sound.
My favorite example of Neo Tango is a band called Bajofondo. Their song Pa Bailar. The embedding is disabled, but I recommend you click the link. Just like in traditional tango, the video uses dance to tell the story, but in a funky new way.
Another popular style of music in Argentina is cumbia villera, or “shanty town cumbia,” which was derived from the Colombian cumbia but in Argentina has taken on a much grittier and even populist feel. I confess that I am not a fan of cumbia. To me, every line of every song sounds exactly the same and the dance is too slow for my taste. I listened to a lot of different examples of cumbia villera, hoping to find a little variety, but I was mostly disappointed. The video below is a group called Piola Vago (or savvy bum), singing a song called El Triki Triki. I picked this particular song because it sounds a little bit rougher than the others, a little bit more “street", if you will, and the dance is much sexier than your average cumbia. Also, I like this band because Carlos Tevez sings with them when he can find time away from his life as an international football phenom.
I prefer meringue to cumbia, which is why I really enjoy Argentina’s cuarteto, which is similar, and even a little faster, than the meringue I have heard. The style became popular in the 1940s, and remains so today. Here’s a song called Camina Y Ven – 20 Años, by a band called Tru-la-la.
Finally, I perused the top 20 charts for this week and there were only a couple of songs that I found interesting. At number 17, is Babasonicos, and their hit Microdancing.
Coming in at number three is a song titled La Luz del Ritmo, by Los Fabulosos Cadillacs. The band has been popular for over twenty years, mixing rock, punk, ska, reggae, jazz, folk, and funk. The result is energetic and fun, and should wake you up a bit if you’ve stuck with me til the end!