After attending the carnival practice in San Ignacio Mini, the craziness of Encarnacion’s sambodrome and the heartfelt llamadas of Montevideo we came to the end of our Carnival baptism with the Murgas of Buenos Aires.
After a late evening dancing tango with our friends in the vibrant capital of Argentina, we stopped by the side of the road on our way back home after we saw a couple of Murgas playing in the street. A “Murga” is a percussion-based rhythm that is usually played live in the streets. Contrary to the Uruguayan Cadombe, the Murga is sang and the lyrics usually criticise corrupt politicians and are used as a popular resistance. Murgas are very popular in Uruguay and Argentina. When Carnival is a show in some countries, it is viewed as a street performance in the others, which explains why we only have seen this in Argentina.
Dressed with a high-end hats and a bright and personalised “man-suit” the Murga dancers we watched were mainly very energetic young teenage girls. We were striked by their moves which involved acrobatic complex aerial movements. Pretty impressive.
Note – we later learnt in Chile that the reason Argentina and Chile do not have major carnivals like most Latin American countries date back to the past dictatorships which basically outlawed them and that is why Murgas tend to criticise politicians.