I’ve been struggling to get rid of what the Germans call an ‘Ohrwurm’, a catchy tune that goes round and round in your head whether you want it to or not. My Ohrwurm is an early-20th-century Argentine tango, El Choclo, ‘the ear of corn’, which I heard played on the accordion by in an evening of tangos I took part in recently. Since then it has played itself about 8 million times in my head. I’ve also listened to many versions of it on the internet, enjoying especially the older historical recordings with their wonderful atmosphere.
Searching for old Argentine tangos, I came across the heritage of Carlos Gardel, the ‘king of tango’ whom I’m ashamed to say I didn’t know about before. On his Wikipedia page (which is fascinating in itself) there’s a sound clip of his 1935 tango ‘Por una Cabeza’. It instantly transports me far from present-day suburban London. It’s from a time and a culture quite different to mine, but through the power of music and Gardel’s enchanting voice I feel completely immersed as I listen.