Tuesday, March 3, 2009
The Corruption of Tango
I'm going back to a prior post - "Tango is in trouble" - because there is some good commentary going on - http://alextangofuego.blogspot.com/2009/02/tango-is-in-trouble.html#links
Important note: Ruddy did not write the original post, but an anonymous acquaintance of his did. At the time, I thought it was interesting enough to share - he was writing about tango being "in trouble" in Buenos Aires.
It was this paragraph that I found most interesting - and is probably the reason I posted it in the first place:
Many Argentine people that are involved with the music of tango, such as tango historians and others, who may not even dance themselves, feel that the Americans have a genuine interest and love for tango
music. It appears that many people from the US are buying a lot of
tango music, and not just the most obvious selections, but things
that are rare, and they know what they are buying because they have
been looking for it. These Argentine tango historians look at the
American dancers and DJ's with respect and hope. They believe that if
anyone can save the tango, it will be the Americans that love it.
As a tango DJ and historian myself, I found it intriguing that as the decades advance, a few of us here in the U.S. may end up being the archivists, the preservationists, of the one, true, original tango. This is simply an interesting concept to ponder, that's all.
The commentary on the original post tended toward "the death of tango" - kindasorta. I don't think tango is in any real danger of dying out or disappearing. Quite the contrary. I think tango has a slow steady burn to it - like the coals of a fire made with heavy, dense oak logs. Those fires burn long and hot. More coals than flames. Black iron can be forged in those coals. White hot coals and blue flames in between them.
The fire may appear to be out in the morning chill - covered with a layer of white ash - there is no heat from the night before. But if you lightly brush back the ash, and start to blow on the coals, you will always find a few still glowing. A good boy scout can get a fire roaring back from only one or two glowing coals.
What I do think, based on my personal observations and experiences, is that for every traditionalist, there are three or four who are corrupting tango through their ignorance or apathy of the history, traditions, culture and music of tango. I don't think they are doing purposely. I think they are oblivious.
So, more accurately, perhaps our concern should be about the corruption of tango, or the prostitution of tango.
See Johanna's post on the "Kiss and Tango Effect" for more interesting commentary on a related aspect.
I'm not worried. I'm simply choosing Ghandi's words as my new mantra, adapted for the purpose - "BE the tango you wish to see in the world."