When England were pummelled into submission by Germany, there can’t have been much consoling the players or the more dedicated fans. If somebody had told them, however, that the team that had just humiliated them would go on to inflict an even bigger and more spectacular dicking all over their bitterest rivals, it might have made things easier. Thanks, Germany. You’ve done us all a favour. The only sad thing is that now we have to bid everyone’s favourite fatso Diego Maradona goodbye, presumably with a big sloppy kiss, a bear hug, and a smack on the arse.
I’m not joking. He even kissed Carlos Tevez.
Neuva cancion was already covered in Chile’s entry, with the music of Victor Jara, but Argentina also embraced the genre and contributed to it heavily – and no wonder, with the sheer volume of political upheaval the country suffered during the 1970s. He’s not quite the star that Victor Jara is, but Atahualpa Yupanqui is Argentina’s most important figure in the movement – he was too early to really be a part of the political activism that surrounded the music, but he was frequently covered by acts at the heart of it (including, on the rare occasion, Chilean ones) and in Argentina, he came to take on a Godfather-style role. He was even given the nickname Don Ata. As the key link between the country’s folk tradition and its first important popular one, his is a vital name to know in understanding the country’s music.
Another major genre Argentina is kind enough to share, this time with Uruguay, is tango, which grew from the brothels of Buenos Aires in much the same way and at much the same time as jazz did in the whorehouses of New Orleans. And as with jazz, where it was a young boy called Miles born about 800 miles away who revolutionizing the genre, it was a man from the other side of Argentina that would become its central figure. The legendary Astor Piazzolla was the man who dragged tango out of the duldrums, gave it a splash of modal jazz, atonalism, and late Romanticism, and turned it into tango nuevo – and met a wave of resistance in his homeland. Tango is not for turning and not for changing to many Argentinian ears – but Piazzolla found himself a devoted following in Europe, became an icon for Argentinian revolution to the political minds of America, and established himself as the most fascinating voice in the genre’s history.
If you’re looking for a figure in Argentinian rock that is as influential as these two, look no further than Luis Alberto Spinetta. Originally a founding member of Almendra in the late ’60s, he was among the first artists to sing in his native language, before tiring with rock and moving to Europe. Once he’d moved back, he formed the more political and hard-edged Pescado Rabioso, where he became one of the key voices of the violence in Buenos Aires during the most turbulent period in Argentine history. This song is by his third band Invisible, however – a prog rock act that retained the social-conscious focus of Pescado Rabioso, and became the most critically acclaimed thing he ever did. He remains active as a solo act today, with the acclaim he continues to receive and the phenomenal influence he continues to have making him the jewel in the crown of modern Argentinian guitar music.