While Brazil is the most well known for its Carnival celebrations, a lighter form of Carnival still exists in Buenos Aires.
This past Saturday night my Porteña friend called me up and asked, “hey, do you want to go to a Corso?” “Whats a Corso?” I asked. “You will see. Its Carnival! You might want to wear clothes that you don’t mind getting wet.”
After having some hamburguesas on the asado at my Porteña friend’s house in the barrio of Flores, we headed to the Corso around midnight 3 blocks away. Since my Porteño friends had told me that there was going to be lots of espuma (foam) at this fiesta , the first thing that crossed my mind was some type of techno fueled foam party at a nightclub. “Hey, it is Carnival right? Its not Brazil, but we are still in South America. A crazy foam party could be on the horizon, no?” Well, a crazy foam party was on the horizon, but not the kind you would expect….
The Corso(Corso is another way of saying Carnaval) took place on a blocked off section of the street, similar to your typical neighborhood ‘block party’. Instead of a techno fueled foam disco party, the foam that took place here was a result of “foam battles” between the children of the neighborhood. The street was filled with kids running around spraying each other with aerosol cans of foam bought for 7 pesos.
I quickly realized why my friend had told me to wear clothes that I didn’t mind getting wet. While if you aren’t engaging in the battle of foam and don’t have a can in your hand, you most likely will stay dry. The army of foam kids will leave you alone. But after my friend ambushed me and spray me directly in the face with foam, it made me a target.
Once you have some foam on your body or a foam can in your hands, the kids will realize you are part of the game and will ambush you. After my friend sprayed me which resulted in kids spraying me with even more foam, I bought a can of my own and the battle was on.
While we engaged in a foam battle of our own and were probably the only people over the age of 12 running around with foam cans and spraying each other, another aspect of the corso was taking place; the Murga group…
Murga is a form of musical theater that is performed primerly in Uruguay during Carnival season, but also is widely common in Buenos Aires as well. The Argentinian style of Murga puts more focus on dancing as opposed to vocals. The Murga groups have extravagant costumes with a portion of the group performing dances and another playing percussion instruments, primary bass drums and cymbals. The group performed a dance and percussion routine before some members reached a stage where they began to sing.
All in all, the Corso I attended in the barrio of Flores was all about community. This was an event where families went and brought their kids to have some fun, watch the Murga groups and most importantly, spray each other with loads of foam!
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I think that you are missing an entire genre of music.
Watch “Los Auténticos Decadentes – El Murguero” on youtube.
Then you can follow with “El Viejo de Arriba” (by Bersuit), Carnaval Toda la Vida, etc.
Looking forward to experiencing this tonight in Boedo!
Thanks for the post.