Radio Tango Argentino

What is Argentine Tango?

For every person, Argentine Tango holds a different meaning. This multiplicity of meanings is reflected in the lyrics of Tango and makes the music a reflection of life itself. Themes of love, fear, politics, loss, sex, beauty, danger, yearning, intimidation, showmanship, laughter, and even violence all present themselves musically and poetically in Tango.

Played on the instruments of the poorest immigrants, such as the bandoneon, these universal themes are given life with melodic Old World harmonies punctuated with deep African rhythms. Cultural influences include the Waltz, the African Candombe, the native Musica Criolla, Musica del Sur (southern folk music), the Spanish Tanguillo as well as American Jazz. And with instruments of the Old World, the violin, cello, bass, piano, along with the distinctive bandoneon, this fusion of influences is interpreted uniquely by Spanish speaking immigrants who expose their Italian origins with names such as Biagi, Manzi, Basso, D'Arienzo, Tanturi, Pugliese and Piazzolla.

But the essence of Argentine Tango doesn't begin and end with this melting pot of lyrical and melodic influences. It is the dance of Tango that is paramount to its understanding . It is what breathes life into what could be "merely" sensual, beautiful and nostalgic sounds. For without the sensual dance that accompanied this music there was no reason to perform it.

Today, there are certainly many classical and jazz aficionados who would disagree, citing geniuses such as Astor Piazzola, who have transformed Tango into a genre of music that is meant for listening rather than dancing. But these forms of music became popular much later.

Tango's early beginnings took root with the desire of lonely immigrants, poor and far from home, in search for the warm embrace of another. And to that end, Tango has never strayed far. Today, in the endless spectrum of venues in which Tango finds its home, a ballroom in Paris, a brothel in Buenos Aires or in a New York avant-garde chamber orchestra, there still reverberates the haunting, nostalgic melodies and lyrics that echo past lover's embraces in the crowded smoky Milongas of the 30's and 40's. It is this element of dance that gives Tango its life-its seduction, intoxication and exhilaration.

So, to answer "What is Argentine Tango?" It is something exciting that happens when all of these elements are brought together in a special way--the creative harmonies, the masterfully played instruments, the poetic lyrics about universal human emotions, the angelic singers, and the most sensual of dances. Unlike the fads of many forms of music, Argentine Tango is something that does and always will transcend time and culture.

Radio Tango Argentino
On Radio Tango, you will hear a broad selection of music, from the innocent melodies of the 20's and earlier, to vocal giants like Carlos Gardel, Agustin Magaldi and Osvaldo Fresedo. You will also enjoy the golden era of the 30's and 40's when d'Arienzo "El Rey del Compas," Tanturi, Laurenz, Biagi and Troilo made the dance floors jump. Piazzolla's modern "Tango Nuevo," which is arguably a genre unto itself, also gets the spotlight on Radio Tango. And featured too are fresh interpretations of non-Tango composers and musicians such as Yo Yo Ma, Pablo Zeigler and Emmanual Axe. You may even hear a Turkish or Finnish Tango using non-traditional instruments that serves as proof of Tango's far reaching influence on people around the world.

But I'm no expert on every composer or orchestra (for Tango artist biographies, history and essays, I highly recommend visiting I am merely a far off admirer, living in San Francisco, who has been deeply touched by this form of music and dance, and who has had at his disposal the means to share it with people on the Internet. So if I missed your favorite Vals or obscure Milonga, please drop me an email, and I will do my best to get it. Better yet, send me the MP3 file! And keep checking the What's New section to see how I've been progressing.

Now open a bottle of Malbec, turn up the volume and enjoy.

Un Abrazo,

Greg Lindberg
Founder, Radio Tango