Electrotango: the evolution of tango into the 21st century, a pleasant addition or something that has nothing to do with tango?

 Well, we don’t have the answer: but you do. There is no right or wrong, there’s traditional and new, but traditions do tend to adapt with the times. Whether electrotango is a positive or negative addition to tango is down to personal opinion, so what’s yours?

Take the English language for example: some people would love to be speaking Shakespearian English as they believe it is beautiful and poetic, whereas others think it’s waffley and often pointless. Similarly, some people believe that tango is so wonderfully crafted that they can’t comprehend why anybody would want to change or adapt it. Others would like a version of tango more closely related to what they already know – with the influence of R&B and electronica; something more modern.


How about clubs?

Clubs with electro music have been popular for some time now, so merging this with tango seems a logical path to take to introduce younger people to tango. If younger generations fail to enjoy tango then the dance and its culture will suffer. Tango is after all something quite different from what we know, from a culture very distant from our own. Therefore, some people would say that new tango or electrotango are a necessity to adapt to our own culture. More and more Milongas in London do play electrotango in a separate room – proof things are definitely changing.

Electrotango arrived very gradually. Starting in the year 2000, the odd electronic sound was integrated into traditional songs, Gotan Project for instance. Then, in time, the electronic elements took over most of the song and some entirely new tracks were produced. Some Argentinian electrotango groups such as Otros Aires or Bajofondo are becoming quite famous outside of Argentina, including the UK. Perhaps not to the liking of everyone, but one must admit that they do have a great talent and produce brilliant tunes. And finally, even tango music, golden age-style is being written by modern groups, trying to rediscover the magic of this era. Yes, I do love Bajofondo and Otros Aires!


It’s also becoming mainstream…

It’s not just clubs or certain milongas that electrotango has made itself present, even if you haven’t ever been to one of these it’s still likely that you would recognise some of the tracks. Epoca for example, by Gotan Project; was used in a variety of famous and recent advertisements. This is where the movies are becoming an important factor to consider the evolution (in good and bad) of tango. So, the real question is, what is Argentine tango? Something that needs to stay intact to keep its roots, or something that needs to evolve? This is a debate worth discussing about.

Perhaps the electrotango revolution is less of a revolution for tango and more of an addition to the musical world. It has been twelve years since the genre began after all and the rapidity seems to have levelled out. Keep tuned,we believe electrotango is not a fad!


Emma Langschied