MONTEVIDEO – Spanish airline Iberia is honoring on all long-haul flights this month “La Cumparsita,” the best-known tango in the world, marking the 100th anniversary of the piece created by Uruguayan composer Gerardo Hernan Matos Rodriguez.
A video shown on jetliners’ screens tells passengers the story of the musical piece, which has become the pride of Uruguay, Iberia representatives told EFE.
In April, the carrier gave passengers on Madrid-Montevideo flights materials about “La Cumparsita,” a piece first played in public on April 19, 1917, at Montevideo’s La Giralda bar, where the Palacio Salvo, one of the city’s landmark skyscrapers, now stands across the street from Independence Square.
In 1997, the musical piece was declared Uruguay’s “cultural and popular hymn” by the National Assembly.
The video describes “La Cumparsita” as an instrumental piece that was not well known until 1924, when Enrique Maroni and Pascual Contursi composed lyrics so it could be included in a play titled “Un programa de cabaret.”
The play was not very successful, but the tango thrived to the point that many of its interpreters, such as the renowned Carlos Gardel, included “La Cumparsita” in their repertoires.
Tango, as a musical style and dance, is one of Uruguayan culture’s greatest traditions.