Professor Viladrich studies the causes of health and social disparities. Her primary research focus is on immigrants' health and human rights.
She writes a special book on tango. It is not just about wonderfully appealing dancing, fancy clothes, and the extraordinarily popular milonga (tango salon) scene in New York. Professor Viladrich understands tango as a complicated set of phenomena that involve immigration, history, globalization, race, ethnicity, and national identity. For example, she shows us how tango provides a special social niche for Argentinian tango performers and instructors. This is a niche that enables some (but not all) Argentine immigrants to resolve many of the formidable challenges of transition to their new land.
Her data come from her involvement in the tango communities of New York and the extensive interviews she has done with tango performers and teachers. Her book is filled with the stories of the trajectories of their lives.
The trio played a wonderful selection of tango pieces. Many of them were danced to by the stunning dancers pictured above on the book cover.
The tango pieces were from different time periods, presented in an almost chronological order. I was captivated through the entire program. I love this music. I was most intrigued, however, by the very first piece of music in the program that came from a recording. It was a delightfully peppy and playful arrangement that included drums. It was a very early piece from the late 19th century when tango was still a dance of Black and Creole people. Professor Viladrich explained that this link between tango and Black and Creole communities ended early in tango's history. It ended when the Europeans who came to Argentina decided that tango would be theirs. They made it white, we lost the drums, and I would expect much more.