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.
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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.
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.