Tango’s Carlos Gardel in Buenos Aires

Argentinians love them some Carlos Gardel — so much so that a neighborhood-sized shrine exists just for him! Possibly the most famous person in tango history, Gardel died way before his time in a horrible Buddy Holly-esque plane crash. His house has been restored and opened as a museum, in the Abasto district of Buenos Aires. For me, walking through the surrounding streets and finding all of the portraits of him painted on windows, walls and elsewhere became like a puzzle, and his flowery lyrics fun to try to translate with my intermediate Spanish. It might be tourist-y to some, but I loved the history lesson — and also the colorful filete style of painting that adorns the area. Trust me, you’ll know it when you see it…

Street named after Argentina’s most beloved tango songwriter

Argentina’s famous filete style of painting

Painted lyrics on the walls of a building in Abasto.

Filete painting is everywhere!

Lyrics peeking out of the shadows

My tango history lesson about Carlos Gardel came courtesy of Buenos Aires Local Tours, run by the brilliant, passionate tour guide Jonathan. He does the tours for tips only and has a wealth of local knowledge, both past and current. It was a fascinating day!

For information on touring the Carlos Gardel museum, which has been built in what was once his home, click here: Museo Carlos Gardel

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I'm a life-long travel junkie journalist who works hard to find adventure in everyday life after two years of travel and expat living.

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  1. I love the picture of the painted lyrics on the walls… Argentinians are so artistic!

  2. Love these photos. They look so rustic and artistic. Gorgeous!

  3. What a colorful house! Beautiful pictures!

  4. Buenos Aires is one of my favourite cities. I love the vibe in the city and exploring the different burroughs. Thanks for sharing these stunning photos. Sure brought back lots of great memories!


  5. One of many unique & fascinating barrios located in Buenos Aires – thanks for sharing these shots.

  6. What great photos! I love the pink facade, the music on walls. And Carlos Gardel… can’t believe I didn’t see (or know about) this when I was there

  7. I love how the artwork seems three-dimensional. Very talented work.

  8. I really enjoyed this part of Jonathan’s walking tour too. I like your photo with the street signs.

  9. Ooooh, I’ve never seen that wall with music on it. Love that. Must go back and take a picture some day 🙂

  10. Thank you so much, everybody!

    Sophie and Kyle — yes you need to go back! I feel like I have so much else in Buenos Aires to see still…

    Shaun, you’re right — his portrait does look three-dimensional!

  11. I definitely need to visit Argentina! I didn’t even know about Carlos Gardel — glad I do now. Cool photos — I love the lyrics on the wall, especially.

  12. I love these photos! Both the photography and the subjects are so artistic 🙂

  13. Cathy — it was so interesting that he could be that famous in Argentina and we know nothing of him! My favorite tidbit: he was born in France. 😉

    Thanks, Emily!!

  14. I’m loving that Buenos Aires appears to be embracing their old vintage things with an added colorful flare. I especially like the photo of the filete painting the most (colorful things rock). And, the tango history lesson in Buenos Aires sounds like a must-do when I finally get there.

  15. Yes! And I highly recommend Jonathan’s tour. He’s so great!

  16. What an interesting story- I too love all the bright colored paintings everywhere. Very happy part of town!

  17. For once I kept it short… it sounds like people would’ve read more on this guy! He really is so, so interesting.

  18. This is so interesting, you’re right, very fascinating! I had never heard of Gardel, Buenos Aires is revealing a very vibrant city. Great photos!

  19. Thanks, Angela! I want to see an old movie of his now… I bet they’re a bit over-the-top!

  20. I want to paint something filete style. So cool!!! I love the passion behind this, too!

  21. I’ve been dying to get my arse over to Argentina! I wish I lived in a neighbourhood like this — all I see is concrete and traffic. Great pics!

  22. Fantastic artwork, in honor of Carlos Gardel I’m dancing the tango around my bedroom in nothing but my boxers….oops maybe I should’ve kept that to myself.

  23. Nice post! I love Gardel and loved that museum. BA is one of my favourite cities too; have written about it a lot and love the Abasto barrio. I actually knew of Gardel and his colossal popularity (not only in Argentina, but all over the Spanish-speaking world, in Spain and even in Mexico too) way before I went to Buenos Aires – mainly because I started studying Latin American cinema, which is what my Masters was ultimately in, and became aware of his music through Argentine cinema. They were the two things – Argentine films and Gardel’s music that really inspired me to go to Latin America and to do my Masters there. Don’t you love how movies and music do that?!

  24. Outstanding! I would love to go on this tour!

  25. Lara, I’d love to read what you wrote about BA. You’re so passionate about the subject — I love it! What a great inspiration for your masters. I love old song-and-dance movies. I want to watch some of Gardel’s.

    Thank you, everyone — it was a great tour!

  26. Some of these photos look pretty familiar – hardly surprising since we did Jonathan’s tour a few days later.

    I love that shot of the Volver lyrics. I think the lack of sleep must have kicked in at that point because while I remember liking it in person, I don’t have any pictures of it.

  27. Beautiful photos. Every time I visit your site, you make me want to go where you’ve been. I have never heard of Carlos Gardel, but now when I visit Argentina, you can be sure I will visit his home. I’m intrigued to find out more now too!

  28. Such an awesome post! I’ve been to BsAs over 10X and haven’t seen any of these places, what a shame!!!

  29. Always learning something new from you Abby! I think this is reason 1,234,567 I want to go to Buenos Aires. Sigh…

  30. Thanks for the history lesson on Carlos Gardel. Fascinating to learn about influential people in other parts of the world. Argentina is passionate about Tango and it’s great to see the ways they have chosen to honor him with streets and murals. Fittingly, this Tango superstar is best appreciated through unique art!

  31. That was amazing paintings! Specially those with the house, colorful and alive. Though the wall with music notes is old, still it looks preserved and taken good care.

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