Traditional / folk music of Argentina
Argentina is one of the most sophisticating country in the culture and the music in South America. It has big musical influence on the other countries in South America. You can see Argentinian musicians from hippie style to professional ones, widely spread in all South America. They play from the Bars or streets to the big concert halls.
The first known trace of human in Argentina comes back to Paleolithic period, which means for thousands of years. Before colonial era, people in Argentina was consist of different hunter tribes and small amount of farmer tribes. The first European arrived in 1502. After a while Argentina became part of Spanish colonial and Spain ruled there for many decades until the independence 25 May 1810. Being part of Spanish colonial, the folk music of Argentina shaped under their influence. Also by massive immigration of other European nations and mixing with folk music of local tribes, the characteristic of folk and traditional music in Argentina shaped. Almost 60% of the population today has Italian origin and 17% has French origin. In the beginning of 20th century, Argentina was the seventh wealthiest developed nation in the world. Although later situation changed to political instability and dictatorship.
The folk music in Argentina is different and diverse from state to state. And the folk music is under the influence of different European and indigenous. During the year there are many folk music and dance festivals in Argentina.
The list of these folk music and dances are long. We list some more popular folk music styles here:
This is the most well-known traditional Argentinian music in the world. The music and rhythm of tango has Afro roots in Africa. Although tango mainly developed in Argentina and Uruguay, there are records of 19th and early 20th century tango styles in Cuba and Spain. The Afro rhythms came through European immigrant to Uruguay and Argentina and then developed in these countries. This type of folk music originally played by a solo guitar, guitar duo, and later by an ensemble, known as the orquesta típica which includes violin, flute, bandoneóns. Later some other instruments like piano added by tango legends. Tango originally was a dance focused music but later by the effort of some musicians like Carlos Gardel, Edmundo Rivero (and many more) turned into lyric style folk music. There are different meanings has been said for the root of the word tango. Some believe it to be derivative of the Yoruban (A West African religion) word tano, which slaves used to identify their drums and communicate where music was being played. Others believe the word comes from the Portuguese tanguera, means "to play". Some other says the word tango originally was used to describe native drumming and the places where dancing was being performed. So whatever the meaning was, after it came to Argentina, it mixed up with many different local style of folk music. For example by Payada, the Milonga from Argentine and Uruguay Pampas, and Uruguayan Candombe. Although in the early time of tango, it was played by solo guitar or a duet, the first known tango band was consist of a violin and a clarinet. The violinist was an Afro-Argentinean, named Casimiro Alcorta and Sinforoso was another Afro-Argentinean on the clarinet. The first recorded tango music happened in 1889 although the author is unknown. The name of the song is "La Canguela".
This type of folk music is accordion based and it is common in northeastern region (provinces of Corrientes, Formosa & Misiones). This area had immigrant from Poland, Austria and Germany. They used accordion with different European folk music styles like Polkas, Mazurkas and waltzes. So they mixed it up with local folk music and African rhythms to create chamamé. The typical group today includes accordion, guitar and bass guitar.
Cuarteto is a folk musical genre dance. It was born in Córdoba, Argentina. The roots of this folk music are in Italian and Spanish dance ensembles. It also mixed with Colombian guarachas, Dominican merengue and Latin salsa. The ensembles of Cuaurteto involves a solo singer, piano, accordion and violin.
This type of folk music is also from both Argentina and Uruguay. It is also used in Chile and South Brazil. Payador is the name of the person who perform this type of folk music. It is a performance of improvised verse usually accompanied by guitar. In the performances two or more payadores will compete to produce the most eloquent verse. It is like a duel in singing and making poems with questions and answers style. One of the most famous Argentinian payador was Gabino Ezeiza. In Argentina on 23th of July is the "Day of Payador" in commemoration of the famous payada where Juan Nava and Gabino Ezeiza competed.
This type of folk music is also accompanied with folk dance. It is originated in Santiago del Estero. The ensemble usually consist of voice, guitar, violin and bombo drum. Most of the chacarera repertoire can be traced to the 1920s sheet music of Andrés Chazarreta. The history of chacarera before the recording of folk music begins in Argentina, is not very clear. So what we know mostly about it, comes back to the beginning of 20th century. The word "chacra" means "farm", as it was usually danced in rural areas.
This type of music is a music movement started from Chile on 60s but then moved to many other South American countries. Argentina has strong tradition of Nueva canción which means "New song". The music is usually about the social, political and human rights topics and it was common between the left parties. Some of the most significant musicians of Nueva canción in Argentina are Mercedes Sosa and Atahualpa Yupanqui.
Some other notable folk music and dances from Argentina are zamba, cuecas and milonga.
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Traditional / folk songs for Argentina
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