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Neo-Tango

What we are seeing in neo-tango is a most beautiful thing; it is the new generation of dancers who have welcomed, subsumed and embraced tango, and are evolving it to a new form!

Neo-Tango History

Whilst one cannot precisely pinpoint the 'invention' of neo-tango, the first three albums by the group Gotan Project - Vuelvo Al Sur (2000), El Capitalismo Foraneo (2001) and La Revancha del Tango (2001) - mark a worldwide turning point for the genre, which is considered by many as neotango's birth.

Philippe Cohen Solal of Gotan Project once said:
Two years ago Christophe and I met Eduardo, who had been living in Paris for eleven years already, and immediately we became friends. I was a big fan of Astor Piazzolla, the man who reinvented tango by adding elements of classic and pop music to it, and Eduardo let me listen to all kinds of folk music from Argentina and other parts of South America. One of the records I heard was this folkloric album with extremely percussive music from Argentina, and I simply fell in love with it immediately. We decided to start making music together, without thinking of trends or commercial success. Through Eduardo we met loads of other Argentinian musicians living in Paris, and we started jamming. At first it didn't work out at all. After a couple of jams we recorded the Piazzolla track 'Vuelvo Al Sur', but somehow it didn't turn out the way we wanted it to. Something was missing, and whatever we tried, we just couldn't seem to get a satisfying result. At one point we were about to give up, when one day I was fiddling about in the studio, twisting some knobs and such. I started dubbing some of the separate tracks, filtering them and manipulating the sounds, and all of a sudden the song came to life. I had found the missing ingredient! Excited as we were, we started playing around with it; we let the bandonion player improvise around certain pieces of music, for example, instead of giving him finished pieces to play. We re-recorded the track and made another one, 'El Capitalismo Foráneo'. But the same thing happened to that song; something was missing. Until one day I was walking down the street, listening to it on my walkman, when I heard the street noise coming through the music; a dog barking, a train passing... It sounded fantastic. So I recorded those sounds and mixed them into the song, which gave it a kind of 3D feel.
In another interview:
It’s the most important thing, we always want to push more, especially in the field of Tango. It’s like Jazz, Tango is genre apart, it’s in a field by itself, and there is already a huge repertoire of hundreds of tracks, so it is important to push the boundaries not necessarily with just electronic or club elements, it could be other things. Just like in Jazz most people play Tango as expertly as possible and to perfection but where is the interest in that? So for us it is most important to find something new and exciting.
In 2003 Narcotango was produced by Carlos Libedinsky, another proponent of neotango. It became an overnight senation without any marketing budget or even a record label!!!!

Carlos Libedinsky said:
There was something that seemed strange to me. There were many people experimenting with a new form of dancing, but the music they were dancing to didn't seem to me to harmonize. I also felt a rich, living energy in the milongas, but at the same time the music being played there was all by artists who were already dead. It seemed that a part of the tradition had been left behind.
Much of what I was listening to at the time began to inspire me to dance as if it were tango. I was going out dancing at night and then at home in my CD player I had this modern music playing, and I began to feel a connection between the two. It was very interesting the first time I invited some friends to the studio to play them the new tracks I was recording. Suddenly, we all started dancing here on the patio. At that moment I realized that it wasn't just me, that there were others who were also eager for new music.

Neo-Tango Characteristics

Neotango has the following characteristics:
  • Evolved about the year 2000.
  • Mostly derives from the USA and the rest of Europe, rather than Argentina itself.
  • Neo-Tango is danced to music that is not traditional tango (Fusion or Alternative - see below).
  • Has many new forms of steps, embraces and combinations - particularly the over-extended step, almost a leap
  • Within a dance, there can be separation of lead and follower, in which embraces are broken, or the lead rotates around the follower without touching.
  • The dress code is 'hip', including baggy pants etc.

Neo-Tango Sub-genres

Neotango is highly experimental, not only with a completely new evolution of music style, but also novel and inventive embraces and moves. It consists of two sub-genres:
  • Tango Fusion: a collaboration between contemporary tango and other types of music to create a modern feel. The fusion includes electronica, synthesized music, jazz, ethnic sound, house, rock, dosco, dance-club and techno. It should be noted that the strongest identification of Tango Fusion, and probably with neo-tango generally, is with electronica - also known as electrotango. It is interesting to note that the bandoneón is a strong input into electrotango.
  • Alternative Tango: non-tango music danced to Argentine tango steps. Here a 'tangoesque' beat is clearly recognizeable, and the fact that the music is identifiable makes it very danceable.

Neo-Tango vs Traditional Tango

Neotango has the following traits in common with traditional tango:
  • A consistent, walkable tempo (the unmistakable 4/4 tango beat)
  • Sophisticated tango rhythm

Neo-Tango musicians

The more notable neotango musicians include:
  • Gotan Project
  • Bajofondo
  • Narcotango (Carlos Libedinsky)
  • Electrocutango
  • Carla Pugliese
  • Otros Aires
  • Tanghetto
  • Hybrid Tango
  • Juan Carlos Caceres
  • Tango Project (Jaime Wilensky)

Neo-Tango Albums

Popular neotango albums include:
  • Astor Piazzolla Remixed
  • Bajofondo Tango Club (by Bajofondo)
  • Buenos Aires Remixed (by Tanghetto)
  • Dos (by Otros Aires)
  • Electro-Tango Vol. I (by Orquesta electronica Berretin)
  • Emigrate (by Tanghetto)
  • Felino (by Electrocutango)
  • La Revancha del Tango (by Gotan Project)
  • Lunático (by Gotan Project)
  • Mar dulce (by Bajofondo Tangoclub)
  • Narcotango (by Carlos Libedinsky)
  • Narcotango II (by Carlos Libedinsky)
  • Nuevos Aires (by Bailongo)
  • Otros Aires (by Otros Aires)
  • Revolution (by Tangothic)
  • Tango Electronico (by Le Tango)
  • Tango Project II (by Jaime Willensky)

Neo-Tango Internet Radio

Neo-tango web station:
  • flux (click » in the site that opens)

Neo-Tango Videos


Gotan Project



Narcotango



Bajofondo



Otros Aires



Neo-Tango Beautiful Dancing



Differences between Tango-Nuevo & Neo-Tango

See the article Tango-Nuevo & Neo-Tango: the Differences.