Official Name: Argentine Republic
Capital: Buenos Aires
Official Language: Spanish
Argentina is the world’s 8th largest country with some of the world’s tallest mountains, expansive deserts and impressive waterfalls. The diversity of the land ranges from wild and remote to bustling cities.
Argentina is known for industries such as: Food processing, Motor vehicles, Consumer durables, Textiles, Chemicals and Petrochemicals, Printing,
In 1816, the United Provinces of the Rio Plate declared independence from Spain. Eventually Bolivia, Paraguay and Uruguay went their own way, but the area that remained became Argentine. The population and culture was mostly shaped by European Immigrants, particular Italy and Spain.
As part of Latin American culture, Argentineans regard dancing as a very important activity of not only social settings but also as a formal art. Argentineans are best known for the Tango but other styles such as Cumbia, Salsa and Rock is also very popular.
The heavy European influence on Argentina in the arts has made this country a major cultural centre in South America with theatre, dance, ballet and cinema being well developed. Major cities have impressive theatres and opera houses with the jewel being the Colón Theatre in Buenos Aires.
Argentine Tango is the greatest Argentine dance on one of the best known dances in the world. The dance is an intense couples’ dance and represent the essence of Latin style. The Tango was originally a popular style among the poor and lower middle class people of Buenos Aires early in the 20th century. By 1913, the Tango had become an international phenomenon in London, New York and Paris.
Argentine Cumbia only hit Argentina during the 90s and is danced in clubs with live music throughout the country.
Salsa is a known classic of Hispanic culture but of no particular emphasis in Argentina.
Traditional Argentine Dance consists out of three categories. Chamamé, Cuarteto and Argentine Folk.
Chamamé is a blend creates by settlers from Czecholoslovakia, Poland, Austria and Germany brought the waltzes, mazurkas and polkas which were blended with African Rhythms. The dance was developed in the Northern part of the country and dancers dance very close to one another in a cheek-to-cheek embrace.
Cuarteto was developed in Cordoba and has Italian and Spanish influences. An upbeat rhythm known as tunga-tunga, created by 4 instruments characterizes the Cuarteto. The dance was named after the original performer, Cuarteto Leo and became popular in the 1940’s. Dancers gather in a large circle and move counter-clockwise.
Argentine Folk Dance is composed of four-part harmonies. The National Folklore Festival has been hosted in the Punilla Valley, Cosquin, since 1961.
Argentine is home to a variety of musical styles, influenced by a blend of indigenous and immigrant cultures.
There are two main kinds of folk music heard. One comes from several original indigenous cultures and the other is Creole music of the Spanish Colonists. European dances, songs, music and instruments, carnivals and festivals were brought to Argentina by immigrants and evolved into the Creole music.
Each geographical region has cultural characteristics of its own. The South (Patagonia) is undisturbed and retains its indigenous folk music. The Northwest (JujuyIn) has characteristics of the Incas, influenced by visitors from neighbouring countries such as Bolivia, Peru, Paraguay and Chile. The Central Region (Cordoba) has almost completely lost its traditional music due toe the Cuarteto becoming so popular.
The music of the Argentina is known mostly for the Tango which developed in Buenos Aires.
The Argentine Tango is emphasized by themes of desire, loneliness, passion, despair and jealousy. Instruments would include an accordion, guitar, violin, piano and string bass.
The Tango arouse in brothels, bars and port areas of Buenos Aires. Tango was a result of fusions such as:
- Milonga (Songs of the rural Gauchos – Origin Andalucia)
- Habanera (Cuban music)
- Polka and Mazurka (Slavic music)
- Contradanse (Spanish music
- Flamenco (from Andalucia)
- Italian Folk Music
The Argentine Cumbia is characterized by keyboards, trumpets and electronic sounds. The Cumbia is an important part of contemporary Argentine music, adopted by the lower classes in the Bailantas. In the 1980’s, South American migrants brought the so-called tropical music to higher prominence in Argentina.
The Cuarteto is similar to Merengue and is characterized by an upbeat rhythm always created by four instruments such as the violin, solo singer piano, accordion and bass bands / bandoneon. The style became popular during the 1940’s.
Argentine Folk or Folklorica music re-emerged in the 1960’s and is characterized by tight arrangements and four-part harmonies.
Andean Music created by the Indigenous Argentine ‘Quena’ (Traditional Andean instrument) reflects the spirit of the land with the sounds of local wind, percussion and string instruments. Mainly indigenous to Northern Argentina on the border with Bolivia and Chile.
Chamamé is an accordion based style which arouse in the North-eastern region of Corrientes. This are had many settlers from Poland, Austria and Germany. Polkas, Mazurkas and Waltzes mixed with the already present Spanish Music.