Archive for September, 2010

2009, September 30 – UNESCO, “TANGO IS CULTURAL HERITAGE”

Special Eventtoday in 2009, the United Nation’s Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) declared Tango as part of the world’s Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity”….the 24 members of  the Committee of Intangible Heritage, meeting in Abu Dhabi, in its 4th session, had entertained a joint petition from Argentina and Uruguay

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Argentina and Uruguay have argued for nearly 100 years over who have been the authentic originators of tango, both for example, claiming to be the birthplace of tango legend Carlos Gardel….but they had agreed to sideline their disagreements to present a united effort to persuade Unesco to list the tango among its traditions worth safeguarding for humanity.

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1890, September 29 – birth of “EL POLLO RICARDO”

Dancer, Pianist, Composer (Libra) – Ricardo Scandroglio was “El Pollo Ricardo” (Ricardo the chicken) in the immensely popular tango by that name…born in Montevideo Uruguay, he spent his youth mingling in the bohemia cafes of his day; places like “La Giralda” and the “Londres”…it is there that he got his first exposure to tango and attained some notoriety as a dancer even though he was self taught…one day he met Luis Alberto Fernandez and an instant friendship developed…

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It is Fernandez who wrote  “El Pollo Ricardo” in 1911 inspired, it is said, by Scandroglio’s dancing  which reminded him of a  strutting chicken…it was first recorded by the Carlos Warren Orchestra and thereafter it would become one of the most recorded tangos in history…”El Pollo Ricardo” has been continuously recorded for almost 100 years, the last being by Quinteto Los Tauras in 2003…Fernandez was a government bureaucrat, a clerk in the Montevideo police station,  and self-taught musician

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1917, September 28 – Premiere of “FLOR DE DURAZNO”

Film – based on Hugo Wast’s 3rd novel, this silent film, at the age of 27, was Carlos Gardel’s first film…he did not like it; he said “I am a singer not an actor”…in fact he leaves the set at Villa Dolores, Cordoba  in total disgust to return to Buenos Aires….the director himself, Francisco Defilipis Novoa, intercedes him at the train station and bargains with him to return…he did not look well on the film; he appeared highly overweight and in fact he did not receive good reviews….

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In the film, Gardel plays “Fabian” whose girlfriend “Rina” is seduced and abandoned with child by a German while he is away in Buenos Aires…in time, Fabian forgives Rina and they marry but the untimely death of the child surfaces old wounds concluding eventually, in a tragic ending for all….the film was screened500 times and established Wast (a notorious anti-Semite)  as a major writer.

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1906, September 27 – BIRTH OF EDUARDO MORENO

Poet (Libra) – born in the neighborhood of Palermo, Buenos Aires, he would spend his youthful evenings at La Paloma Cafe where he got his first exposure to the dancing and the music of some of the early greats…at the age of 16 he began working as a theater critic for the daily, “La Ultima Hora”; the plays he covered often had  tango themes spoken in lunfardo…at the age of 18 he wrote  his first tango “La sombra de Milonguita”, which among others was recorded by Francisco Canaro

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In his career he would write the lyrics to over 120 tangos but his masterpiece was “Recuerdo” which, during the period of the post-Peron dictatorship, earned him a summons from the official censor for the phrase “in the soft nights in the milieu of pleasure”…his career included having been a reciter of poems on radio and a  playwright of soap operas…in addition he led his own theater company, he founded ajournal, a magazine, and contributed to the scripts of several movies

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1924, September 26 – BIRTH OF LAGRIMA RIOS

Singer (Libra) – of mixed african descent, she was born to very humble surroundings  in Durazno, Uruguay…as a child she and her mother moved to “Barrio Sur”, Montevideo the legendary black neighborhood home also to two other pioneers of tango Modesto Ocampo and Carlos Olmedo…Lagrima would recall, as a child, having met Carlos Gardel in his celebrated visit there…for her entire life, through worldwide travels, she remained faithfully tethered to her candombe neighborhood…

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She started singing at the age of 18 performing folk songs and tangos…in 1945 her first break came when she was invited to join the famous Alberto Mastra Trio…a series of kudos and awards  followed, culminating in important contracts for radio and night clubs…in 1960 she formed an a capella negro spiritual group “Brindis de Sala” which had great success for 10 years…critically acclaimed television appearances and european tours followed where she was especially active in anti racism campaigns…among her various personal tragedies, was an estrangement for many years from a beloved son, born out-of-wedlock, who had emigrated to Sweden

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1922, September 25 – birth of “LUNATICO”, GARDEL’S HORSE

“Lunatico” (Libra)  was Gardel’s first horse and the only one with whom he made any money…Gardel paid 5000 pesos for him and earned $ 72.450 in four years…Lunatico made his debut on April 26, 1925, in a 1,200- meter distance; he finished third; the place bet paid $ 5,20…He raced 36 times in all – he won 10,  he was second in 6, third in 8, fourth in 6, fifth in 1…For most of his career he was ridden by the renown jockey Irineo Leguisamo who became a close of friend of Gardel’s..

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After its racing career Lunatico was taken to a farm in the province of Santa Fe to stud; in 1933 its grateful owner ordered that it be taken to open field and be allowed  to live its remaining days in total freedom….many tangos were inspired by the horse races including “Por una Cabezawritten by Gardelhimself…Gardel used to bet by means of telegrams sent to his proxy in Buenos Aires but he as well attended the race courses of Montevideo, Paris and New York while he was on tour

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  • CLICK HEREhttp://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8dStp5hq294 to hear Gardel sing “Por Una Cabeza” (by a head)…the text is the bitter tale of a man trapped between two fires: his passion for race horses and an a morbid passion for a beautiful and evil woman who lies to him and finally rejects him

1940, September 24 – BIRTH OF AMELITA BALTAR

Singer (Libra) – born in Barrio Norte, Buenos Aires, she had originally set her sights on becoming a professional school teacher….she had contemporaneously studied guitar and singing and in time she realized that this would be her life’s vocation…her first break came when she was accepted into the “Quinteto Sombras” , a folk group, with whom she would make her first recordings….In the early 1968, now as a soloist, she cut her first LP for which she was awarded the first prize at the Festival del Disco in Mar del Plata.

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When Astor Piazzolla, looking for a substitute singer  for his opera “Maria de Buenos Aires” (the original singer had been his lover and they had broken up)  came to hear her,  it is said that the first thing that impressed him were her legs but it was her mezzo-soprano, sensual voice which earned her an invitation  to join the company…in fact, her  interpretation of  “Ballada Para un Loco” would become Piazzolla’s  first popular hit; it would turn Amelita into an international star…in midst of all this, would develop as well, a love affair with Piazzolla

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