The tango was born by the end of the 19th century from a mixture of several rhythms that were danced in the suburbs of Buenos Aires. Originally it was almost exclusively connected to cabarets, a sort of contention house for the predominantly male population that was increasingly immigrating to the country. Since only prostitutes would dare performing this dance, in the beginning most couples were formed by two men.
The tango then started to call more and more attention, not only in the obscure areas where it came from but also among working-class neighborhoods. Even respected Argentine families got fascinatated by the dance, especially after it reached great success in Paris and then all over Europe.
Its distinctive sound came to life thanks to the combination of violin, guitar and flute, which was eventually replaced by the "bandoneón" or concertina. Additionally, the immigrants added all their nostalgia to the lyrics and helped to develop tango's unique flavor.
Carlos Gardel was the first and most famous tango singer, who also gave an enormous contribution to spreading this Argentine music overseas until he tragically died in 1935. During the 60's, the tango had been virtually abandoned outside its home country, but it was brought to life again thanks to the more jazzistic traits added by bandoneón genius Astor Piazzolla.
Nowadays, the tango is more alive then ever. Although it is not a massive phenomenon as in its early years, it is still the best way to penetrate the Buenos Aires soul and will always stand as its most genuine symbol.