Argentine Folklore Music and Dancing

(Photo by @eggar)

Although Tango is a folkloric music from Argentina, what is generally considered Folklore to the locals is traditional music and dances, mostly from the North and the Litoral regions of the country.  Some of the more popular styles of Folklore, performed and danced at folklore parties called peñas, are Chamame, Chacarera, Carnavalito and Malambo.

Chamame is a typical music and dance from Paraguay and the Litoral provinces of Corrientes, Entre Rios, Formosa, Santa Fe, Chaco and Misiones. The origin of this music is Guarani with European influences, such as the incorporation of the German bandoneon.  It is similar to a Paraguayan Polka but with a stronger beat and may be cheerful or sad.

Chacarera is typical in the Northern region of the country, in the Provinces of Santiago del Estero and Tucuman mainly. It has afro-argentine influences and traditionally includes a formation made up of a guitar, a type of bass drum called bombo leguero and the violin. Chacareras are generally sung, in both Spanish and Qechua.

Carnavalito also comes from the Northern region of the country although mainly from Jujuy, Salta, Catamarca and Tucumán.  It is a typical Andean music and dance, and is played with the quena and charango, both traditional instruments of the region.

The Malambo is a typical dance that originated in the Pampas region and is carried out by men who display their ability through their footwork and their skill with knives and boleadoras (a kind of sling used by the Patagonia natives and gauchos). The rhythmic music is usually played with a bombo leguero and a guitar, although instruments vary depending on the area of the country.

For those who want a peak at Argentine Folklore, we recommend you go to one of the following venues where peñas and live shows are staged:

Peña del Colorado:  This peña in Palermo serves traditional food and stages live shows by an array of performers as well as hosting folklore dances for the community.  From midnight onwards they also encourage the diners to play spontaneous guitar music. (They offer the guitars). Open every day from 10pm-4am. Güemes 3657, Palermo. 4822-1038. info@lapeniadelcolorado.com.

Los Cardones Peña Folclorica: Also in Palermo, this popular venue offers traditional dinner, live shows, peñas and folklore dancing lessons. J.L Borges 2180 , Palermo.  4777-1112.

La Paila:  This is a good place to go for homemade regional food from the North and for great live folklore shows. Open Mon-Fri from 7pm-closing and Sat-Sun from midday onwards. Costa Rica, Buenos Aires 1414, Palermo. 4878-2688, lapaila@folkloreclub.com.ar.

Peña de la Ribera: This popular peña is in the outskirts of the city in Olivos and is held every Saturday. They have a lovely outdoor patio where the summer events take place and they serve empanadas and typical sandwiches (choripan, bondiola.) Currently there are carnival celebrations  and also open dance lessons at 10.30pm. J. Diaz de Solis 2289, Olivos.

Feria de Mataderos: This popular fair held on Sundays in Mataderos showcases and sells all things typical. Folklore shows and dancing are also a very important part of its charm and popularity. The fair is on Lisandro de la Torre Avenue. To get there, we suggest you coordinate transport with the hotel, as you will have to go through some dodgy areas to arrive.

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