venerdì 14 agosto 2015

What’s that thing called tango? by Rubén Andrés Costanzo second part


These are the chronicles that were documented at the time, but most likely the tango has had other unknown pioneers in Europe. In 1908 a London film studio had made available to the public a documentary where Argentine teachers teach first steps of the tango, which demonstrates the commercial success of the new dance.
The echo of the success of tango in Europe reached Rio de la Plata, where the tango dance was not yet accepted as a dance for society in some conservative areas of Buenos Aires. In 1913 Baron De Marchi prompted by the success of tango in Europe, organized a festival in the city of Buenos Aires to "introduce" the tango in high society, an unnecessary moves according to some tango’s lovers. A journalist of the time, who wrote under the pseudonym of Viejo Tanghero6, criticized the event replicating that the dance performed on that occasion was not tango, but a dance created for use and consumption of the Europeans and not the true tango of the suburbs of Buenos Aires.
For us it’s very difficult to know what was the "real tango" which was referring to the journalist, because the "folkloric" tango has never been registered, except in some not so much detailed descriptions. From this chronicle one thing remains: the verdict of Viejo Tanguero: "This is not tango”, which will be a constant to identify the major changes in the phenomenon tango. But after the european influence on tango where did its essence remaine? The tango’s river followed its course, since 1910 the rioplatense society became more homogeneous, children of immigrants born in Buenos Aires had wanted to leave the old imitation and the challenges of dance that characterized the past needed a different tango where they can be reflected starting the golden age of Guarda Vieja7.
Despite the winds of war blowing in Europe during the second decade of the'900 tango continued its race against censorship by religious and political power of the old continent and I would like to make a bracket for leaving you two italian visions of tango in 1914, I found very intelligent the apology of tango appeared on the monthly roman magazine: “Noi e il mondo”,edited in March of that year, I choose this section by Renato Berninzoni, author of the article titled "Tango": "So no more polka and all kind of antiques! It is time to find a dance that shall be the word (in the case that, as aesthetes say, we can talk with our legs) a dance that shall be the word for our civilization and that condenses all of exquisitely perverse, ipersensibile, brainy which is the substratum of our "Io". "
The rest of the article shows that the author knew the entertainments in Italian society of that time, what were the dances and fashions and the discussions on the morality of their own, without a doubt he is in favor of the tango. Even Guglielmo Emanuel sided in favor of the tango, but I cannot be sure of his intellectual honesty, because, again in 1914 but the magazine "L’illustrazione italiana” in an article entitled L’età del Tango, he begins a story, in fist person, claiming to have witnessed in Argentina’s countryside to a funeral wake for a child, celebrated with a party where people danced tango, probably this was a “funerale del angelito8” that means nothing with tango, but has that exotic aurea that strikes the not informed reader, the rest of the article is an interesting and very detailed description of the tango dance, but the first part obscure everything else. Unfortunately still today there is a lack of intellectual honesty about what people write about tango, shelves full of books and newspaper’s articles that try to talk to tango ... but maybe it was better not to have written them.
After the First World War, in Buenos Aires, the tango prepares a new transformation which can be defined as the migration of the tango from the foot of the dancers to the voice of the singer: the birth of the tango song, which is not the tango sung (gender that already existed) but a new almost inseparable amalgam between music and poetry, inaugurated by Carlos Gardel. The porteña society needed a voice and the tango could not stay outside it. In early 1920 the Guardia Vieja leaves the stage at Decariana epoc, style of interpreting and composing tango which has its most important representative in the figure by violinist Julio De Caro, style that will represent the essence of tango until 1955, when will rise the figure of Astor Pantaleòn Piazzola. Both styles have adapted to changes in rioplatense society, not without controversy, which usually began with the sentence: "this is not tango."

This succession of styles does not mean that one cancels the previous one, but that the new takes from the old and sometimes, as in the case of Piazzolla, goes to look for in an oldest tango something that the decariano style had overlooked: the Canyengue, term used to identify the proper rhythm of the tango. For now I will stop here, I know I have left open many questions, it was not my interest to do an history of tango. But I will continue to talk about tango with you, walk between your curiosity and my doubts. Perhaps we should throw down the window a few stereotypes, maybe it shall be necessary getting inside dusty libraries, between books from the yellowed paper, in the labyrinths of Borges or listen to a few stories by the grey Angelof Dolina and gray, and why not, do an accelerated course of Spanish for crazy people to understand the surreal Ferrer, or take a trip of seventy days with Cortázar. I leave you, I have an appointment with a pale blonde in a tale of Tuñón, I want to know if it is true that the tango was born in the brothel. Goodbye to the next.

First part on Blog Chitarra e Dintorni

Bibliografy:
Lauro Ayestaràn La musica en el Uruguay. Montevideo. Servicio Oficial de Difusiòn Radio Electrica. 1953
AAVV Historia del Tango: Sus origenes. vol. 1 Buenos Aires. Ediciones Corregidor. 1976
AAVV Historia del Tango: Primera Epoca . vol. 2 Buenos Aires. Ediciones Corregidor. 1993
AAVV Historia del Tango: La Guardia Vieja. vol. 3 Buenos Aires. Ediciones Corregidor. 1977
Horacio Ferrer. El libro del Tango vol. 1 e 2 Buenos Aires Ediciones Ossorio-Vargas. 1970
Blas Matamoro. La ciudad del tango. Buenos Aires. Editorial Galerna. 1969
Ventura R. Lynch. Cancionero Bonaerense. (riestampa della prima edizione del1883) Buenos Aires. Imprenta de la Universidad. 1925
Tulio Carella. El Tango mito y esencia. Buenos Aires Ediciones doble P. 1956
Luis Adolfo Sierra. Historia de la orquesta tìpica. Buenos Aires. A. Peña Lillo Editor srl. 1976

6 Viejo Tanghero: Old Tanghero
7 Guardia Vieja: old Guard
8 Funeral del angelito: South American traditions and the traditions of Roman Catholic worship practiced in various parts of Latin America and in the north west of Argentina, the popular belief that with the death a child becomes an angel in heaven and is celebrated with dances and music

Photo by Pat Ferro

Rubén Andrés Costanzo
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