The Universal Languages of Music & Dance

I sat enraptured watching the band play and the folks dancing and felt the tingling sensation of joy make its way throughout my body. My eyes crinkled in a smile, and my feet moved themselves independently, while I remained seated. Someone must have noticed my excitement because two hands welcomed me out of my chair onto the dance floor. I put the brakes on and nervously announced, “I’ve never danced chacarera in my life!” However, sometimes, the best way to learn is by doing, and I haven’t stopped dancing chacarera since that day! Thanks to these peñas, community has found me in Argentina, and I have, since that evening, been blessed to collaborate with folklore musicians I respect.


Why does the community have this tradition?:

Although there is no clear starting date for the peña, its perseverance all the way to today is a testament to the soul’s necessity to gather and share song and dance in order to connect to our collective roots. Folklore is the name of the style of music and dance that is shared in the peñas. Argentina honors its folklore heritage and even celebrates it on the national holiday Día de la Tradición (Day of the Tradition) each November 10.


Is this tradition connected to its environment? How?:

From the grass and rock Patagonian south to the cactus and jungle covered north; from the Andes Mountains in the west to the Atlantic coast to the east, Argentina is ripe territory for peñas. The content of the music often expresses a nostalgia and connection to the land.