Argentine Culture

Tuesday, January 9th, 2007 at 12:00 am

argentinaArgentine culture is primarily a mix of several European influences. Its European immigrant community that has become a big part of its rich and colorful history greatly helped in shaping Argentine culture just as it is known today. From art, architecture, music, dance, literature and lifestyle, these influences are easily apparent and yet have made Argentine culture truly unique. Although predominantly having a more Latin American leaning, Argentine culture is probably the most European of cultures in the whole of South America.

The European influence in the culture of Argentina can be most noticeable in its capital, Buenos Aires. With a population of mostly Italian and Spanish descent, the European influence pervades everywhere one goes in Buenos Aires. The nation’s capital as well as many other cities in Argentina show a mixture of European architectural styles as can be seen in older establishments and settlements. Modern styles blend well with past colonial styles that were remnants of a Spanish-ruled past.

Spanish is the primary language used in Argentina, distinctive of its past under Spain. Standard spoken Italian as well as Portuguese can also be understood by most Argentines, being closely related to Spanish. There are some immigrant communities all over the country that have also retained their language of choice. A fitting example would be Patagonia’s Welsh community which has continued to hold an annual festival for Welsh poets and musicians called Eisteddfod. Other immigrants such as Arabs and Ukrainians continue on to have their language spoken in their own communities along with Spanish.

Argentine culture can also be distinguished through its music and dance. A variety of folk, classical as well as pop music fill in the Argentine’s taste for music. Aside from international influences, Argentina also has its own brand of folk music that has been developed and indigenously influenced by its people throughout its rich history.

This type of folk music may differ, depending on what part of Argentina it originated. Northern Argentina along the borders of Bolivia and Chile has Andean music to be proud of. The type of music in this region is distinguishable by its use of wind, percussion and string instruments. Then there is also the Chameleon, an accordion based music that originated from the northeastern region of Orientates, a melting pot of Polish, Austrian and German immigrants.

Probably the most renowned of Argentina’s contribution into the world culture is the development of tango music. This highly sensual music and dance arose from the brothels and bars of Buenos Aires which was a fusion of several multi-cultural influences brought together by Europeans, Africans as well as by South American natives.

Tango music is traditionally played by a sextet which includes two violins, a doublebass, piano and two bandoneons, a free-reed instrument much like an accordion. The drama and passion involved in the sounds and movements used in tango music and dance as well as its cross-cultural associations with romance and love have made it popular all over the world.