Diana Gracia Simon
Con sabor a Tango
paperback, 2021, in spanish language
A contagious international tangomania
Born in a port suburb of Buenos Aires and exported to Paris by a group of intuitive musicians, the tango soon conquered the popular music scene. What was its magic that made international artists, whose career developed outside the orbit of porteño music, incorporate it into their repertoire? What tempted them?
There are plenty of examples of its attraction. The first manuals for learning to dance appeared in London and New York. The dance couple Irene and Veron Castle were in charge of teaching it in the U.S.A. Arthur Murray commissioned a jazz musician to record tangos to teach it to dance in his academies. Stan Kenton chose La Cumparsita and El Choclo to make his recording debut. Singers Jean Sablon and Tino Rossi seeded their repertoires with tangos. The first orchestra formed by Xavier Cugat, before the rumba, was a tango orchestra. Many English dance orchestras in the 1930s turned to tango, Geraldo formed his Gaucho Tango Orchestra and Mantonavi his Orquesta Tipica. The same happened in Denmark, Germany and Japan. And in our time, numerous jazz musicians incorporated tango into their repertoires.
As the stories included here show, musicians of different nationalities, different styles, jazz, rock, fusion, folk and other musical orientations entered the tango circle. Why did they do so? Probably the answer lies in the duende of tango, because no matter how much it is interpreted with only a slight tango flavor, it remains and will remain Tango.