1905, December 2 – BIRTH OF OSVALDO PUGLIESE

Composer, Leader, Composer (Sagittarius) – the story is told of the time when Osvaldo Pugliese was playing the “Cumparsita” in a night club and the police raided because he was forbidden to work…the owner of the club told the police that they should at least finish what they were playing…somehow word got back to Osvaldo and so he ordered that they continue playing; in fact they played for so long that the police finally left out of frustration…when the longest “Cumparsita” ever, finally came to an end, the crowd applauded thunderously; humbly, Osvaldo stood up and pointed to his orchestra in gratitude….besides being one of the greatest tango figures in history, Osvaldo Pugliese was an impassioned and indefatigable activist for social justice who was frequently  persecuted by the Juan Peron government…among his activities, he was an organizer of workers’ strikes and even looked after the welfare of the terribly exploited prostitutes

***

During his periodic incarcerations, his orchestra, which would continue performing, would place a red rose on top of his unmanned piano…He was born in the neighborhood of Villa Crespo, Buenos Aires, a traditionally jewish neighborhood, to an Italian immigrant father who gave him his first lesson in the playing of the violin; Osvaldo would later switch to piano..at the age of 16 he was hired by Paquita Bernardo, the first professional female bandoneonist in Argentina, to play in her sextet…after numerous engagements with different orchestras, on August 11, 1939, he debuted with his orchestra at the Cafe Nacional…he set up his orchestra as a cooperative in which everyone including himself was paid the same amount of money…there were numerous great hits among his hundreds of recording but perhaps non greater than “Recuerdo” which he composed  at the age of 19…during one of his numerous world tours at a stopover in Japan, he had a conversation with Dr. Daisaku Ikeda, a renown Buddhist who said of Osvaldo “I have met with emperors, kings, philosophers, great personalities from around the world, but I never found as much spiritual affinity with such a person as with Osvaldo.”

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  • CLICK HERE http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M1N4EJFhAqo to hear a brief interview with the inimitable Osvaldo Pugliese followed by a performance of “Recuerdo” by his own orchestra shortly before passing away at the age of 90
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