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The Argentinean and Uruguayan tradition of the Tango, now familiar around the world, was developed by the urban lower classes in Buenos Aires and Montevideo in the Río de la Plata basin. Among this mix of European immigrants to the region, descendents of African slaves and the natives of the region known as criollos, a wide range of customs, beliefs and rituals were merged and transformed into a distinctive cultural identity. As one of the most recognizable embodiments of that identity, the music, dance and poetry of tango both embodies and encourages diversity and cultural dialogue. It is practised in the traditional dance halls of Buenos Aires and Montevideo, spreading the spirit of its community across the globe even as it adapts to new environments and changing times. That community today includes musicians,professional and amateur dancers, choreographers, composers, songwriters, teachers of the art and the national living treasures who embody the culture of tango. Tango is also incorporated into celebrations of national heritage in Argentina and Uruguay, reflecting the widespread embrace of this popular urban music. The Intergovernmental Committee for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage inscribed Tango on the Representative List as the nomination file satisfied all the selection criteria, as follows:

Geographical location

The Tango is a musical genre that includes dance, music, poetry and singing, and is considered one of the main manifestations of identity for the inhabitants of the Río de la Plata region

Communities involvement

Inscription of the element on the Representative List would contribute to visibility of intangible cultural heritage and a deeper understanding of the Tango as a regional expression resulting from the fusion of several cultures.

Practices related to ICH safeguarding

The two nominating States have presented a number of joint and individual safeguarding measures for the element by which the communities and the authorities commit to the creation of specialized training and documentation centres, as well as the establishment of an orchestra, museums and preservation trusts.

About a practitioner

The nomination of the element benefitted from the continuous participation of the Uruguayan and Argentinean communities through meetings, seminars, interviews and workshops, and community representatives have signed documents to mark their free, prior and informed consent.


The element is included in the inventories of intangible cultural heritage that are being elaborated in Uruguay and Argentina.

Information of intangible cultural heritage

Category : Dance, Choreography, Emotions, Immigrants, Instrumental music, Intercultural communication ,Orchestras, Poetry, Slavery, Vocal music, Working class

Number : 258

Year : 2009