Popular music has always been the keystone of Medellin’s lively popular culture, in which Argentinian tango has a rather important place.
Actually Medellin’s first appearance in the headlines was not because of the drug cartel bur because of tango. Carlos Gardel, the most famous tango star ever, died in an tragic plane crash that occurred in the local airport in 1935, when he was at the peak of his career. In the end this event became the cornerstone of a powerful Gardelian myth that nourishes the local society’s adoption of this popular music genre. Local intellectuals, writers and novelists have further elaborated and strengthened the connection between Medellin and the culture of the Rio de la Plata, creating a narrative that often blurs the limit between the history and myth.
Medellín has now the strongest Tango culture in South America outside of Buenos Aires and many people from Medellín have an encyclopedic knowledge of Tango.
A picture of Gardel can be found in almost every tango club in Medellin but his ghost is in good company. Tango is everywhere here; restaurants, corner stores, smoky pool halls in gritty neighborhoods and even young people sing along, the way Americans can belt out Sinatra.