Tango is infused with the customs of European migrants, primarily from Italy, Spain and France. Between 1869 and 1929, 60% of Argentina’s population growth was from immigration. European immigrants and workers from the interior were attracted to Buenos Aires by jobs, housing and social benefits and by 1914, 80% of Argentina’s population comprised immigrants or recent descendants of immigrants. This rapid movement of people led to experiences of transition and displacement, reflected in countless tango song lyrics.
La Boca is the port district of Buenos Aires, where most migrants from Europe first set foot on Argentine soil and set up households, often in conventillos (overcrowded rooming houses). Still today La Boca is a jumble of run-down housing, improvised dwellings and disadvantage, side by side with it being a major Tango tourist drawcard; with markets, souvenir shops, dance classes, buskers, tango shows and bars, spilling around the colourful streets of Caminito and beyond.