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Love Tango? Then Be Happy Argentinians Are Making This Instrument

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Image: Bandoleon Player and Tango Dancers
File photo of the bandoneon instrument and tango dancers in front of the Karl Marx monument in Chemnitz, Germany. Though popular in Argentina as the "sound" behind tango music, the rare and expensive instrument had never been produced in Argentina until a university team started creating a more inexpensive version being tested now.Hendrik Schmidt / Hendrik Schmidt

Call it a tango crisis averted.

That accordion-like sound in all Argentinian tangos - we can all hear it in our heads - is from the bandoneon, a German-made instrument brought to the South American country by 19th century European immigrants. It may be hard to believe, but Argentinians had never produced their own bandoneones and the older instruments were rare and expensive collectors' items, while newer ones cost around $6,000.

But to the delight of tango lovers everywhere, the BBC reports that an industrial design team from the National University of Lanus in Buenos Aires has been working on a new, cheaper bandoneon that does not require 2,300 parts like the original ones. In their Facebook page the university group said their new instrument - still in the test run phase - will be heard at an upcoming university event.

The new instrument has a new name - pichuco - which is the Argentinian word for cry baby as well as the nickname for the bandoneon's most accomplished player, the late Aníbal Troilo.

"El bandoneón es parte de nuestra identidad cultural," (English: "the bandoneon is part of our cultural identity") according to the university project's Facebook page, stating their aim is to make the instrument more accessible.

Image: Bandoleon Player and Tango Dancers
File photo of the bandoneon instrument and tango dancers in front of the Karl Marx monument in Chemnitz, Germany. Though popular in Argentina as the "sound" behind tango music, the rare and expensive instrument had never been produced in Argentina until a university team started creating a more inexpensive version being tested now.Hendrik Schmidt / Hendrik Schmidt
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