There´s something truly amazing about a 10-piece tango band made up of dreadlocked Argentineans all in their 20s. Last night a group of us went to see underground acid-tango group Orquesta Típica Fernández Fierro play a show to release their new CD ¨Mucha Mierda.¨ There were four accordionists, four violinists, a cellist, a bassist, a pianist, and a vocalist. The accoridonists sat on plastic chairs in the front of the stage with the violinists standing behind them. To go along with the ¨A lot of shit¨ theme, the accordionists´plastic chairs had toilet seats zip-tied to them, and the playlists were written on rolls of toilet paper that hung from the low microphones.
The group was shaggy and the smell of hashish wafted through the air. The muisc was wild, untamed. I don´t know where accordions got the reputation for being dorky, but after hearing these instruments play the same notes in semi-perfect time, watching the cute boys passionately stomp the floor and coax, and slam, and shove, the tango notes from the accordions, close enough to hear the bellows slap together, was a bold realization: this is the silent soundtrack that´s playing whenever I have really, really good sex.
I´d seen a tango show before, at the famous Cafe Tortoni, when I was in Buenos Aires this summer. It was lovely, a small venue with slick, gorgeous music and glittery dancers. Last night was piano pounding, accordions shrieking in minor-note disharmony, the music teetering just on the edge of out-of-control, and sometimes the drunk singer would growl in the microphone while wearing a motorcycle helmet perched on the back of his head.
The place that tango has had in my life so far has been relegated to movies, stereotypical sultry women with roses in their hair, flingling fishneted legs about with controlled passion. Later tango, mixed with groovy electronic lounge music, graced my stereo when it was chillout time and I had friends over I wanted to impress with my hip, worldly, tastes in music. Tango in Buenos Aires is a normal part of life, a type of folkloric music that has never gone away and had a resurgence (like bluegrass in America). The passion in both in the music and in its playing, is in-your-face without boundaries like the passion for living, and loving, is here.