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Open Access Publications from the University of California

“Italian Tango” Between Buenos Aires and Paolo Conte

  • Author(s): Serra, Ilaria
  • et al.

This essay will attempt to disentangle the “DNA” of the intricate music of tango in order to reveal the Italian strand of its genetic sequence, following it trans-historically and trans-continentally from its inception in Buenos Aires to its contemporary return to one of its ancestral homes, Italy. Outlining a little-studied version of “Italian sound,” in the following pages I will aim to unearth the Italian roots of tango in Argentina, which require a thorough description because they are often overlooked, by considering some textual examples. I will then follow the tango’s long branching out to Italy, through a brief treatment of the successful arrival of this music on the peninsula and through consideration of some of its most original all-Italian versions, the tangos by singer and songwriter Paolo Conte. The perspective offered here will be that of an overview covering a century of “Italian tango” and will especially privilege the connection between the tangos of Buenos Aires and those of the Asti-born Italian composer.   

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