Argentina

What’s a murga?

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Carnaval comes in many shapes and sizes around the world, with the most raucous versions probably found in Brazil and the Caribbean. But Argentina (and Uruguay) also celebrate with their own rioplatense form of singing-dancing street party – the murga.

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Murga is a popular form of musical theater, with groups of colorfully dressed (mostly) murguistas, who put on a street performance for 30-45 minutes. To the uninitiated, the music sounds more like cacophony, with its characteristic loud, nasal singing accompanied by drums and whistles. Probably the best example out there of the style is El Matador, by Argie favorites Los Fabulosos Cadillacs.

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The real thing is a little less glamorous (and produced), but everyone seems to enjoy themselves. Except perhaps the neighbors living above, which aren’t few. This year BA saw 112 murgas all over the city, from the end of January to the end of February.

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Carnaval season is over for now, so you have plenty of time to book tickets to Rio for next year. But if you find yourself short on pesos in 2016, grab a fernet/coke and some silly string and join in the fun.

Watch out for Krusty the Clown!

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