Full of yearning and lament, the tango is perfect therapy for a nation still stinging from economic loss.


“Buenos Aires has changed so much under its failing economy. I felt sad to be back and see this proud and legendary city ruined. It used to be so prosperous, and I’ve always loved it so much. It was shocking to walk back to my hotel at dusk and see armies of the unemployed appear out of nowhere, ready to pick through garbage using supermarket baskets donated by the mayor’s office. These shadowy figures emerged from the side streets and, very quietly and systematically, started going through people’s trash. Everybody was so devastated by this humiliation that people in wealthy neighborhoods began to sort their garbage to make the pickers’ job easier, leaving clothes in one bag, food in another. I saw the pickers having dinner on the remains after a tango session at two or three in the morning.”

Alma Guillermoprieto

National Geographic

Photograph by Pablo Corral Vega
Text/Image: Copyright © 2004 NGS


Tango in Finland

1997 Finnish Stamp

“It can be understood simply as a song of unreqruited love, but it could also be a song about man’s longing for a paradise lost. When this is combined with the solemn, hymnlike melody, it explains why a prominent liberal theologian has recently suggested that Satumaa should be included in the official psalm book of the Finnish Lutheran church. In Finland, the tango is not taken lightly.”

Pekka Gronow
Virtual Finland