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October 28, 2006

Tito Palumbo's editorial on electronic tango

Hi Joe:

This seems relevant to Tete's note. I think it is perhaps less passionate but clearer and more educational than Tete's note. What do you think?


This is the English translation of an editorial on "Electronic Tango" that appeared in the March 2006 issue of the magazine, B.A. Tango/Buenos Aires Tango" that is currently in its 12th year of publication and is one of the most widely read tango reviews in the world. The editorial was written by Tito Palumbo, editor and publisher of the magazine.

There is no "electronic tango." There is electronic music.

That is a conclusive and categorical assertion, and I will get straight to the point. The so-called "electronic tango" that is causing some impact outside Argentina and expanding abroad has no support whatsoever from among those who dance and teach tango in the Rio Platense (i.e. the entire region encompassing metropolitan Buenos Aires and the shoreline cities of Uruguay across the Rio de la Plata river). There are reasons for this.

"Electronic tango" has, in fact, nothing to do with tango, not in the area of "avant-garde tango" nor in the compositions of Astor Piazzolla whose "city music" always is grounded in the city of Buenos Aires.

Neither does using the electronic sampler to incorporate parts of true tangos certify that the music is or has been born into or born of the tango. It is not even a bastard child of the tango family. The electronic music lacks both the structure and the form of the tango genre. It lacks the tango's "three-minute story." It simply is not tango and cannot be said to be tango.

By no means is it in any way acceptable to say that young people will begin learning to understand and to dance the tango through the use of electronic music. Absolutely not! It is very difficult, not to say impossible for those who become intoxicated with electronic music ever be able to appreciate real tango.

The integration of young people with electronic music defined as "tango" is related to a cultural orientation that includes diluting as well as globalizing the true tango. Even the name, "electronic tango," seems to have been chosen especially to mislead those who are without expertise, without significant knowledge of the tango.

Tito Palumbo

Posted by beatriz at October 28, 2006 02:52 PM


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