Musical documentary examines the African roots of the Tango

 

: Dom Pedro director of 'Tanto Negro: The African Roots of Tango’
Dom Pedro director of Tanto Negro: The African Roots of Tango

Kam WilliamsThe word “tango” means “sun” in Congolese. Given that derivation, it comes as no surprise that the dance thought of as South American might be traced back to Africa.

That explains the mission of Tango Negro: The African Roots of Tango, a labor of love marking the writing and directorial debut of Dom Pedro. What makes the project of educational value is the fact that Argentina, the country most closely associated with Tango, has generally been averse to admitting its African heritage.

Truth be told, a post-slavery purge of Blacks there resulted in a whitening of the region by the early 20th Century. For, while the descendants of Congolese slaves were being slaughtered or run out of the country, immigration was encouraged by settlers from Italy, France, Lebanon and Syria.

Thus, it is argued in ‘Tango Negro’ that “the history of the Americas is an absolute lie, from the extermination of the indigenous peoples to the destruction of African cultures.” And it is further stipulated that this shameful legacy “will have to be acknowledged for reconciliation to occur.”

Besides the revisionist lessons, this informative documentary includes numerous songs and performances of the Tango. Unfortunately, the music proves to be the low point of the picture, due to its woefully low-production values.

Nevertheless, three “olés” to director Dom Pedro for daring to raise the taboo subject right in Buenos Aires, an ethnically-cleansed environment where it’s admittedly hard to find any dark-skinned citizens.

 

Tango Negro: The African Roots of Tango is playing in select theaters across the country. If you miss it in the theaters, it will also be available on VOD, DVD and streaming. Visit http://www.tangonegrofilm.com for more info. To see a trailer for Tango Negro, visit: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b1OCMY06u7M

Olé! Olé! Olé!

Very Good (3 stars)

Unrated

In Spanish, French and English with subtitles

Running time: 93 minutes

Distributor: ArtMattan Productions

 

Kam Williams welcomes reader comments to kam_williams@hotmail.com. Find more interviews and reviews by Williams at http://www.kamwilliams.com.