Contrary to popular belief, tango is not a national dance. It is specific to Buenos Aires, and even in the city, not everyone knows how to dance it. Most of the people in my tango classes are Argentinians rather than foreigners. There is a wonderful folk music tradition in Argentina with dancing, called folklórica. It is beautiful and fun, and the very essence of community and connection. This evening I went to a concert of musica litoral (music from the north-eastern provinces) in the cupola at the Centro Cultural Kirchener. The music was beautiful, heartfelt and full of stories, and distinctly Argentinian. Brought to us by three lovely musicians, with a guest appearance by the accordionist’s father, dressed in traditional costume. A delightful Monday night treat!
Looming large in the square outside the Centro Cultural Kirchener stands a statue of Juana Azurduy (1780-1862), heroine of independence, women’s rights, and equality in South America. The statue was installed in 2015, replacing a statue of Colombus and ruffling more than a few feathers. She stands fiercely outside the extraordinary new cultural centre that houses exhibitions, installations, concerts, workshop and more, and all free for the people. There is something deeply hopeful in this prominent respect for the arts, culture, inclusion, equality, and independence in the heart of Buenos Aires.