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Argentine music troupes launch carnival parades

Published on NewsOK Modified: February 3, 2013 at 3:39 pm •  Published: February 3, 2013

"Los amantes de la Boca" is among the largest of the city's murga groups, with about 400 members. Other well-known groups include "La Gloriosa de Boedo," or "The Glorious of Boedo," and "Alucinados de Parque Patricios," or "Crazies of Parque Patricios," both referring to Buenos Aires neighborhoods.

The troupes' "corsos," or parades, will be held every weekend in February, as well as on Feb. 10 and 11, both official holidays marking the carnival season leading up to the start of Lent.

The Argentina celebrations were banned during the country's 1976-1983 military dictatorship due to their penchant for political satire and celebration of resistance.

With the return of democracy, murga members asked for the restoration of the traditional two-day holiday. President Cristina Fernandez honored the request with a 2010 decree that restored the holidays in 2011.

"It was an achievement," said Lucrecia Torres, who helps decorate the hats used by members of "Los Smantes de la Boca" and teaches dance to the troupe's young girls. "Since then we have a lot more new people in the festivities."

Troupe members say the Buenos Aires carnival is among the most open and inclusive in the Americas.

"You don't need money, everyone participates, said Gonzalo Estevez, a percussionist with "La Gloriosa de Boedo."

Although his group starts rehearsing as early as May, Estevez said anyone can join at the last minute.

"Those who don't know how to dance or play instruments can help by waiving flags or carrying the standard," he said.