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Peñas Folklóricas

Old Country Tradition Celebrated in the City

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Peñas Folklóricas

Peñas Folklóricas

Photo courtesy of Los Cardones.
With its thriving city buzz, Buenos Aires drew many people in from the countryside during the mid-1900's. However, as the saying goes, you can take the people out of the country, but not the country out of the people. Many still yearned for the traditional food, song, and dance they enjoyed before relocating to the metropolis. As a result, the peñas folklórica emerged as a place to enjoy those traditions people had left behind.

In the Argentine language a peña simply means a party, although a lively one. Folklórica can refer to singing, dancing, and music in the traditional style of old Argentina. This style comes from a mix of influences from indigenous tribes, European settlers, and African rhythm.

Not so Fast! Don't prejudge peña folklóricas.

If you think that a peña folklórica is just another concert, or just another place to tango, you'll be missing out. While there may be some old strains of tango twirled around the floor, you're more likely to see dances going along with music styles such as chacarera, chamamé and zamba.
The vibe is also completely different at a pena compared to a tango hall (milonga) or concert. In some instances, amateur guitarists get to perform on-stage at a moment's notice. Mingling and mixing is encouraged and the general sense is to relax and enjoy yourself.

You must not forget about the traditional dishes that are often found at these events either. You're likely to find piping hot bowls of locro, steamed sweet humitas, and, of course, a pile of empanadas. In traditional pena fashion, you should wash all of this down with a bottle of red wine, and preferable an Argentine Malbec.

Some Popular Peña Folklóricas
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