Well since one of my fave Green Bay Packer stars of all time, Donald Driver is doing the tango on the TV (mainly to generate press to save himself from Ted Thompson’s axe, don’t cut him, he was the only Packer player who played well in last year’s discount double choke against the NY Giants), it made me reminisce about Wall I’s trip to Buenos Aires, Argentina and Montevideo, Uruguay and the Uruguayan coast in 2008. These grass-fed, free-range beef loving countries, share a fierce rivalry over resources, futbol, food, and of course the world-famous elegant dance music known simply as “tango” with the unmistakable sound of the bandoneón driving the smooth sounds of the choreography on the dance floor. (if you don’t know Wall I has dos pies izquierdas, two left fins that keep from being sly on the dance floor!) Before we go modern, let’s get back to the roots of tango, and why Argentina and Uruguay fight over the naming rights as the place of origin to the tango.
Donald Driver Does the Tango
There are two individuals who can only be called the godfathers of the Tango, Carlos Gardel and Astor Piazolla. Gardel was ahead of his time (made Elvis look like a punk pill popping, peanut butter and banana sandwich eating tool, wait wasn’t he?), a lover, composer, and mysterious iconoclast who died at the peak of his career in a 1935 plane crash way before his schedule departure time from this planet. He’s amazing and I can understand why women swooned over him and his fantastic compositions. Uruguayans claim he was born there and Argentinians fight that with zeal in defense of their “native son”
Carlos Gardel – Por una Cabeza (For One Head)
Melodia del Arrabal (Melody of the Poor Neighborhood/Ghetto) from the Zorzal Criollo film of the same name.
Astor Piazolla followed soon after with his infectious Nuevo Tango style, which incorporated orchestral and American jazz elements, building on what Gardel started. He’s inspired to many musicians to count, including your scribe and don of the deepwaters, Wall I, in my building my guitar, mandolin, and producing/composition abilities.
Astor Piazolla featuring Cellist Yo-Yo Ma – Libertango
Astor Piazolla – Adios Nonino
Astor Piazzolla – Vuelvo al sur (Koop remix) (Return to the South)
Some other contemporary classical tango faves of mine!
Al Di Meola – Café 1930
Tosca Tango Orchestra – Walking Life
Tosca Tango Orchestra – La Casa De La Grasa (The House of Fat)
In addition, the former Argentine fascist military dictator, Jorge Videla, who denied murdering tens of thousands of his own countryfolks, called “desaparcidos” (“the disappeared” in any dictatorship country where the CIA supported right-wing fascism, see 60+ countries since the end of WWII, see former CIA agent’s William Blum’s book Killing Hope) in “la Guerra Sucia” (the Dirty War) from 1976-1983, last week finally admitted to “disappearing” his opponents. (i.e. taking many of them to the U.S. trained school of navy engineers for the infamous death flights, “vuelos de la muerto”, in which they bound, drugged, and stripped their prisoners, put them on helicopters and dropped them into the Rio Plata to disappear forever like many in Operation Condor, or just simply assassinating them.) Ford Motor Company and Mercedes-Benz were also accused in aiding the process of the “desaparcidos” of their own factory workers, well explained in Naomi Klein’s opus on the loss of life and human rights under neo-liberal economic global expansion, The Shock Doctrine, which I’m sure Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker would support 100%. Fascists and dictators think, “hey if we can’t beat them in a debate, just silence them with a bullet.”
Manu Chao – “Desaparacido”
Politik Kills – Manu Chao & Linton Kwesi Johnson (Poet Laureate of Jamaica)
Linton Kwesi Johnson – Fite Dem Back (Live)
One of the most intense stands against military dictatorship, fascism, and unabashed murder in the history of the world took place by a group of the mothers of the disappeared, the “Madres de la Plaza de Mayo” (Mothers of the May Plaza), who in 1977, began a protest against the dictatorship by wearing white shalls in silence in the plaza of that bears their organizational name, every Thursday from 1977 to present to remember the consequences of dictatorship and fascism, in Argentina and around the world during global history.
Los Madres de la Plaza De Mayo
Ana Prada – Homenaje a las Madres de Plaza de Mayo (Homage to the Mothers of Plaza de Mayo)
Pink Floyd – Mother (Live 1980)
Argentina has been in constant turmoil before and after its birth as a nation. Here are electro-tango masters Gotan Project’s video from Queremos Paz (We Want Peace) showing scenes from the economic meltdown in 2001, which as you can see looks a lot like the U.S. today. Peace be with you! Paz sea contigo!
Gotan Project – Queremos Paz
Mi Confession (My Confession) with some sick rap flow en español!
Last Tango in Paris – LIVE (THIS VERSION IS DA BOMB, A WALL I PICK POR CIERTO (FOR SURE))
Captailismo Foreano (Foreign Capitalism)
The same happened in Uruguay as CIA operatives like former policeman, Dan Mitrione, laid the groundwork for torture and violence similar to Guantanamo Bay in Cuba and Abu Ghirab in Iraq, during the military dictatorship that silenced Uruguayans from Montevideo to the borders. The powerful 1973 movie, State of Siege by Costa-Gavras is based on the story of Mitrione’s kidnapping and the conflict between the left and right in Uruguay during the 1960s and 1970s.
Dorindo Cardenas – Me torturas el alma (you torture my soul)
Shakira feat. Alejandro Sanz – La Tortura (with english translation)
The arrogance of Porteños, is often a comment many have about the egos of those from Buenos Aires. One of my fave jokes is, “How does a Porteño commit suicide? By jumping off their ego!” However, the snobbery and greed of a few bourgeois idiots often ruins the reputation of a great nation of people (see every country in the world), many of whom are my friends and colleagues. I encourage anyone who can to visit this great country and experience a small piece of Europe in South America, granted at the hands of the colonial genocide of the indigenous population who once inhabited most of what is Argentina and Uruguay, making Argentina what might be the most european/whitest country in the western hemisphere. (Which might explain why it was such a hotspot for fascists from Nazi Germany, Spain, and Italy after WWII)
Tango Digital and Electro-tango Bands that I absolutely am addicted to and will hook you on, no pun intended!
Bajofondo Tango Club
Bajofondo Tango Club ft Gustavo Cerati – El Mareo (The Tide) ONE OF MY FAVORITE SONGS EVER!!!
Bajofondo – Perfume
and another video of Pa’ Bailar (sorry but they are so captivating)
Luciano Supervielle with Bajofondo – Pulso Urbano (Urban Pulse)
Tanghetto – Blue Monday (New Order cover and absolutely fantastic)
Tanghetto – Montevideo (LIVE)
Tanghetto – Enjoy the Silence Live in WMDC (Depeche Mode Cover)
Federico Aubele – One of my favorite artists right now off Thievery Corporation’s ESL Records
Tango Dub Stylee!!!!
Federico Aubele – Postales (Postcards)
Federico Aubele feat. Natalia Clavier – La Esquina (The Corner)
And Federico’s angel voiced chanteuse of a partner in music and beauty…..
Natalia Clavier – El Arbol (The Tree)
Natalia Clavier – Azul (Blue) (VERY RECOMMENDED)
Tangothic – Milonguita (Buenos Aires Electro Tango)
Saludos y disfruta!
WALL I SIEMPRE!!!!!!