“I could have chosen thousands of books about tango. I’m not a dancer but I do have a passion for tango music and lyrics. This book traces the black, African history of tango. Argentina is famous for whitening its culture. Whereas Brazil still has a mixed-race community and so does Uruguay, in Argentina the blacks were used as cannon fodder in wars against the Indians, and many tango historians have tended to ignore the African influence in a music that is infused with African rhythms. The chances are that the word tango is African, perhaps Angolan, perhaps it was the name of the place or a kind of drum. It’s clearly not Spanish. There are early 19th-century sketches of African mourners at funerals moving in a tango-like way and one of them shows black people carrying a coffin and making these strange movements. It’s possible. Funerals might have been more festive than they are now and certainly people talk about tango as the dance of death. The book hints that it might have come from a ritual funeral dance. Of course, tango used to be part of the carnival culture that has more or less died out now in urban Argentina.” Read more...
The best books on Argentina and Psychoanalysis