Tango is not only a practice; it is an experience which is expressed in a myriad of languages; physical, musical, spoken, representational. The artistic illustrations on sheet music covers capture the variety and vibrancy of countless Tango songs and stories, recounting tales of cultural collisions, broken boundaries, contradictions and lamentations.
Tango songs chronicle social situations and describe archetypal characters, such as El Negro Raúl. The songs might refer to politics: Congreso, tango parlamentario, or sport: Dinamita. They capture the upwardly-mobile transition in styles from streetwise compadrito: El porteñito to glamorous fashion: Barón and acceptance in Parisian high society: El Tango en Paris. The artistic style of the cover illustrations ranges through the decades, such as 1910s caricature: La Cumparsita, 1920s sophistication: El Rey del cabaret or 1930s art deco: Mandinga.