The Birthplace of Tango

Trip Start Aug 17, 2010
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Trip End Sep 16, 2011


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Plaza Hotel

Flag of Uruguay  ,
Sunday, October 17, 2010

We've decided to pop-up to Tacurembo from Montevideo for 2 reasons. First – to see some of "country" Uruguay, otherwise we are only going to see coastline; and secondly – to track down the birthplace of Tango !

Carlos Gardel is recognized as the father of Tango, but intense debate revolves around which country is credited with the origin of Tango. One opinion is that Tango evolved in France; the most popular assumption is that Tango is Argentinean; but Uruguay claims the Tango as their own as Carlos Gardel was born in Tacurembo !

The French apparently say Carlos Gardel was born in France. Their claim is based on one Frenchwoman, who asserts that she was his mother. But her proof of school photos, the likeness of Gardel to her other children etc. is not too convincing.

The Argentineans, in typical style, simply state that it doesn’t matter where he was born, the reality is that Tango was made famous and really developed in Buenos Aires, so it is Argentine.

In answer to these other claims the Uruguayans, built the Carlos Gardel museum, located some 25km from Tacurembo. It is dedicated to proving his birthplace is indeed Uruguay ( well, they do have a certified copy of a birth certificate ! ) and Tango was developed in Tacurembo ( they have some early recordings ). All fascinating history and clearly as a visitor to Uruguay it was best to avoid any debate on the matter and simply agree !

The museum was set in a beautiful country estate, with camping facilities and a lovely café where we had lunch. Definitely the choice for a weekend away. Tacurembo turned out to just be a commercial centre for the surrounding agricultural industry, but did provide a further insight into Uruguay society. If one considers that Argentines are addicted to mate, then the Uruguayans are completely possessed by the mate demon ! The typical Uruguayan walks around with a flash of hot water permanently crooked under one arm, carrying a mate vessel in the other hand, and can be seen constantly topping up their mate ! Some Uruguayans go further and carry around a leather bag containing 2 metal flasks and a bag of yerbil – wouldn’t want to run out of mate – the country would grind to a complete halt !

Apart from the Carlos Gardel museum, the trip out to Tacurembo was not that great or worth the 5 hr bus journey (each way). Ah well – the joys of travel. Our next stop more than made up for that decision !
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