La Bomba de Tiempo
I´ve had the opportunity to see two music-themed shows so far: a live drumming performance and a tango concert.
The drumming show was called “La Bomba de Tiempo” and takes place every Monday night at a cultural center in the city. The same group performs each week, though they always have a special guest(s) to keep things interesting; the night we went the guest was an electric guitarist. From what I´ve heard, I believe the performances are all improv, coordinated by a series of hand signals given by a conductor. Bright colorful lights supplement the music, which is enjoyed by a mostly drunk and/or high crowd of young locals and tourists (we did hear a lot of English spoken there). It was a fun experience, although not quite worth the 50 peso entrance fee. Also, when we got there the first time, my friends and I were told we needed copies of our passports (my US driver´s license, which had been sufficient before, apparently wasn´t this time), so we had to return to our apartments to get the proper identification that clearly was not required of everyone – not even of all of the tourists.
The second event was a free tango music concert. I hadn´t imagined it was possible to play the accordion in such a dramatically romantic fashion, but the performers at that show certainly proved me wrong. The accordion players, obviously the main attraction, were accompanied by a male singer with a deep, textured, and heavily accented voice, as well as by a motley of other instruments. The place had an underground-music-club feel to it, complete with a smokey ambiance and mass quantities of beer.
Apart from the traditional tango, Buenos Aires doesn´t really have any unique music styles or artists. Indeed, American songs can be heard everywhere from the radio to stores to boliches to news broadcasts. The Beatles and Katy Perry seem to be equally popular, with any sort of 80s music not far behind. I am very grateful that my host family usually has the radio tuned to a classical music station, instead of to American pop!