Tango was born at the time when desperate immigrants from Europe (Italy, Spain, England, Germany, Ireland, Poland, Russia) and Africa spread all over South America etc, and also landed in Buenos Aires.
About 3 million people left their families in an attempt to try their luck in a far and strange country there, they practised and tried out entirely new dance figures in the charming company of willing ladies from the local brothels.
Those meetings of various immigrants, being descendants of creole negro slaves and townbounded Argentine cowboys, developed into huge nightly dance parties.
A great diversion of musical influences diffuses the history of the tango. Cuban habanera, Argentine milongas, Spanish flamenco etc are mixed up in this special kind of musique. African candombe percussion, violins from the east European klezmer, polka, walz and mazurka together with South European folksongs contributed to the style. The original tango was usually played on violin, guitar and flute (in the beginning sometimes accompanied by voices). Round the turn of the century the bandoneón (from Germany) was added.
The tango experienced her “Golden Age” at the beginning of the 20th century. Impressive tango-orchestras were starring at about 1920 theaters and clubs in town. And Carlos Gardel was the top tango star. Being a fatherless immigrant, he was the personification of the tango, but his voice far more than any other submounted the borders of social classes. In the course of his career he recorded about 1000 songs and acted in American movies. In 1935 during a tour in Colombia Gardel died in a plane crash.
In the beginning the tango was paria-musique, an underground passion on which the élite of Buenos Aires looked down, but once the dance was crossing the ocean to Paris, Europe was soon fascinated by the sound and movements e.g. shown in a well-known video. It was the first latin dance supported by huge audience outside South-America and destinated to conquer the world.
The second part of the 20th century was not very promising for the tango. Boogie-woogie, Swing, Rock’n Roll: dancing people preferred a way not to touch each other physically, besides Argentine was pestered by many dictatorial rulerschips up to the 80’s. For instance it was forbidden to gather publicly at the cost of dancing.
The fragile balance between sorrow and pleasure being one of the specific elements of tango seemed to be disturbed.
He does not sing his tangos with a full orchestra, but continues to use accompaniment of guitars. And in performing the text and musique he contributes with all his provincial musical knowhow.
Who is rather changing the character of the tango since 1950. He starts his career in the orchestra of Troilo after having lived in New York during 10 years.
Eager to learn, his guts and his infallible good taste he skills in Paris with Nadia Boulanger. Since 1955 he is active as an arranger, a productive composer and an admirable bandoneoniste, components of his great influence to many fellow musicians.