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Saturday, April 01, 2006

In the Halls of Congress

While tango in Argentina is a year-round event, the months of February and March are like "tango on speed" thanks to the Buenos Aires Tango Festival.

During the festival, tango and milonga music can be heard for free in the city's parks, squares, open spaces and last night, at the Congreso Nacional (see photo at right).

In the Juan Peron Salon, we listened to the Juan de Dios Filiberto Orchestra—directed by the Maestro Atilio Stampone—perform some classic Argentinian tunes along with more modern milongas and tangos.

The program also featured Cecilia Aimé, who sang songs from her latest CD, “Ciudadaña.”

The salon was packed with Porteños (the name given to those who live in Buenos Aires). The room itself was flanked on either side by two 24-foot-wide oil paintings by artist Antonio Alice.

Following the performance, I asked an older woman standing next to me if Cecilia Aimé was famous. She said, “No, she’s from television.”

Then, she also added, “You know, tango music has its origins in the bordellos. This wasn’t classical music at all.”

It seems tango is still a mystery, even to those who have lived in Buenos Aires their entire lives. But, according to the announcer of the program, it “is the perfume that gives Buenos Aires its smell.”

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