Louis Proyect lnp3 at panix.com
Sat Mar 8 09:47:39 MST 2003

NY Times, Mar. 8, 2003
A Downer of a Dance, the Tango Is In Again

BUENOS AIRES, March 7 — Every Argentine knows that when you're depressed 
there is nothing like a well-played tango to make you even more morose. So 
just imagine the effect of a nine-day tango festival that features dozens 
of free concerts as well as photo exhibitions, dance classes and what is 
billed as the first world championship for tango dancers.

Argentina is struggling to emerge from the worst economic crisis in its 
history, and the festival here, which ends on Sunday night, is a 
government-sponsored attempt to offer some solace to the population. But 
the event also raises questions not only about the place of tango in 
contemporary Argentine society but also about its vitality and future.


The tango, in contrast, remains more resistant both to outside influences 
and innovation from within. Many fans here continue to reject the music of 
the last of the style's great trendsetters, the accordionist and composer 
Astor Piazzolla, who died in 1992 at the age of 71.

"That's because Piazzolla didn't play tango for the last 45 years of his 
career," argued Jorge Dispari, a tango instructor and coach to some of the 
dancers in the competition. "The true tango is that which was played by 
orchestras in the 1940's and earlier, which was dance music. Why bother to 
mix that with something else that is not tango, which is what Piazzolla did."

As a result of that attitude, Argentine musicians who want to extend the 
reach of the tango have tended to go elsewhere to develop their style and 
gain acceptance. So an experimental ensemble like a French-Argentine 
septet, the Gotan Project, which mixes tango with Jamaican dub, house music 
and hip-hop, find themselves based in Paris and more popular there than here.

Full: http://www.nytimes.com/2003/03/08/arts/dance/08TANG.html

Gotan Project website: http://www.gotanproject.com

Gotan Project's "Capitalismo Foreano" (Foreign Capitalism): 

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