The tango has a gloriously twisted history. And Tango Conspiracy, led by Buenos Aires-bred, Miami-based singer, songwriter, and taskmaster Jimena Fama, is only the latest chapter.
Invented by ex-slaves and peasants, the tango was born on the banks of the Río de la Plata, a large, triangular body of water that sits like a wedge between Uruguay and Argentina. And for a century, the two neighboring countries bickered over ownership rights: Uruguayans insisted the tango was theirs while Argentines laughed in disbelief, and vice versa.
But here's the truth: Everyone owns the tango. By now, its bloodline is so muddied -- African, South American, Italian, French, American, etc. -- that any attempt to trace a definitive map of the music's DNA makes you want to laugh in disbelief, just like those Argentines and Uruguyans.
Still, in an attempt to squash the debate, UNESCO officially recognized the tango as an international treasure of "intangible cultural heritage" back in 2009. But there's probably a better way to make peace. Like maybe spending a sweaty night with Fama, her multinational seven-man band, and their dubby, acid-tinged take on the tango -- not to mention a bottle of caña quemada.
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Tango Conspiracy as part of the Heineken TransAtlantic Festival. Wednesday, April 27. Bardot, 3456 N. Miami Ave., Miami. The tango begins at 9 p.m. and tickets cost $10 plus fees via fla.vor.us. Call 305-672-5202 or visit transatlanticfestival.com.