Archive for October, 2010

1913, October 28 – TANGO INTRODUCED INTO POLAND

Perhaps no other country in history took to tango like Poland; in fact in would become synonymous with Polish popular music…Tango emerged in Poland soon before the outbreak of the World War I…Ludwik Sempolinski, an artist and historian, in his memoirs records the fact that in the “latest operetta by Jacoby which was put on the stage in Warsaw on October 28th 1913, a new dance ‘Tango’ was introduced and was performed by Lucyna Messal and Jozef Redo”….this launched a series of noted Polish singers’ and dancers’ love affair with the tango; Aume Lauchame’s recording of “Regina Tango”, Karol Hanusz singing “The Last Tango” in the Warsaw Cabaret “Black Cat” in  1919, Stanislao Ratold’s recording  of Tango Du Reve” in 1922…but perhaps no one did more to popularize tango than the legendary Jerzy Petersburski composer of the mythical “Ostatnia Niedziela” (Death Tango)

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But there was no character more fascinating than Pola Negri who, with her partner Edward Kuryllo in 1913, as a 17-year-old, began dancing the tango in Warsaw…she was born in Lipno Poland on January 3, 1897 (Capricorn)…her exotic, mysterious passionate qualities would turn her into one of the most fascinating femme fetal’s in history…she edwas discovered by Austrian film director Max Reinhardt and she eventually move to the United States where she made some very popular films…she divorced a Polish Count and was engaged to Charlie Chaplan whom she left for Rodolfo Valentino…later she returned to Germany where she married a russian prince…she was a favorite actress of Adolf Hitler even though he knew she was half jewish…in one of her last films she was to sing “Tango Notturno” to great acclaim…she died in San Antonio, Texas at the age of 90

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1924, October 27 – PREMIERE OF “GRISETA”

“Griseta” is considered the first tango romanza, a genre different from the cayengue style which preceded it, with its lyrics of boastful expressions of tough guys; by contrast, the tango romanza is melodic in nature…in fact the words of “Griseta” speak of a sentimental, coquettish french prostitute girl, a gay dreamer whose final “sleep” is brought on by a prediliction for champagne and cocaine…..it was premiered by Raúl Laborde in the one-act farce “Hoy Transmite Ratti Cultura”, staged at the Teatro Sarmiento by the César Ratti’s Theater Company

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The lyrics were written by Jose Gonzalez Castillo (born January 25, 1885, Aquarius) who was inspired by the singer and poet customers of the barber shop where he worked at, as a young man…Paris had always been the alure for portenos and Castillo was no exception; he was a lover of French literature and in fact his text borrows freely from “Scenes De la Vie de Boheme” written by Henri Murger which was the inspiration of Puccini’s “La Boheme” and “Manon Lescaut” by Antoine Prevost which Puccini also turned into an opera….Griseta meaning ‘grayish’ referred to the base cloth of the seamstress…in the early part of the 19th century the young bourgeois women who allowed themselves to be courted were called “grisettes”…however, as of the late 17th century, the term and the character Grisette has been a constant in the literature of diverse writers

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  • CLICK HERE – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8egLIMB258U to hear Julietta Ghibaudo sing Griseta, (composed by Enrique Delfino) 2007 in Cordoba, Argentina…it has been estimated that it has been recorded over 50 times by major orchestras and singers alone

1921, October 26 – BIRTH OF CARLOS OLMEDO

Singer, Composer (Scorpio) – he died relativel young from a heart attack just when things were finally beginning to come together for him in his career and he left few recording but he was immortalized by some of his compositions which were made into great hits by other singers years after his demise…he was born in Departamento de Rivero, Uruguay but his family soon moved to the mythical Barrio Sur in Montevideo the home of two other tango pioneers Lagrima Rios and Modesto Ocampo…he began singing as a very young man with a voice which in time would be described by one critic as “he has the virtue of creating an intimate and delicate mood with his baritone voice”

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At the age 19 he won a singing contest at the historic Cafe El Ateneo which launched his career…later with another young friend Julio Sosa, who himself would become a renown singer and die young in a car accident, moved to Buenos Aires to seek their fortune….an early break came when he sang at Radio Mitre leading to performances at the Cafe La Armonia where he was applauded enthusiastically by its demanding audiences …he sang with different secondary groups but unfortunately his  tenure with two great orchestras that of Osvaldo Pugliese and that of Anibal Troilo were very brief…singer Alfredo Belusi had great success with two of his compositions “Y No Le Erre” and “Lo Que Voz Te Mereces”; Roberto Goyeneche with his “Por Quererla Asi”and several singers with his “De Puro Curda”

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2007, October 25 – published “THE MEANING OF TANGO”

Book – one critic said of this book, “The Meaning of Tango is presented with an appealing combination of humility and authority and is logical, open-minded and clear throughout”.…using elegance and cohesiveness, the book traces the roots of tango, from its birth in poverty-stricken Buenos Aires, the craze of the early 20th century, right up until it’s revival today…it has a valuable section which explains the technique using simple illustrations…perhaps no other book ever written about tango does it better

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Christine Denniston (born December 31, 1963, Capricorn) was a graduate in theoretical physics from Cambridge University in the UK, when one day, she happened upon a couple dancing tango on the street and was so smitten that she began a passionate and years long odyssey into understanding and learning to dance tango…she has taught tango all over the world and has appeared as an expert on radio and television programs….Christine says, “when tango is done properly, it reaches a level that no other social dance reaches, it is the purest essence where two people can reach a kind of shared Zen state…the man’s job is to please the woman and the woman’s job is to allow herself to be pleased.

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1934, October 24 – PREMIERE OF “IDOLOS DE LA RADIO”

Film – premiering at the Monumental Cinema Theater in Buenos Aires, this musical was an excuse to parade the radio stars of the time Ada Falcon, Ignacio Corsini, Pablo Osvaldo Valle, Tita Merello, Ernesto Fama…it was produced by film company Rio de Plata which was created by Francisco Canaro

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Inspite of its haphazard and rushed production it was a huge success; it spurned a genre of films and the creation of radio magazines like Radio Cultura and Radio Revista…it was to be one of Canro’s few success in the film industry and the only area in which he was not successful at making money…it directed by Eduardo Morera and written by Nicolas de la LLanderas and Arnaldo Malfatti…Tito Luisardo was given good reviews by the critics and in fact it launched his career as a comedic dancer and actor…it was one of only two films which Ada Falcon would do

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1898, Ocotber 23 – BIRTH OF ROBERTO GOYHENECHE

Composer, Leader, Pianist – tragically he died very young, at the age  of 27, from a lung disease but in his brief life he composed some tango which have made his name eternal….born in Buenos Aires, already as a child a great career was whispered about, of this oddly precocious, intense student…not to be confused with the Roberto Goyeneche, “El Polaco”, who interestingly would record a great hit many years later with this Goyheneche’s tango “Pompas”

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Still very young, he began playing piano for silent films at the Cabildo Theater and in the small cafes in the outskirts of Buenos Aires…he began to be invited to play with prestigious orchestras in important venues like the Cafe T.V.O., the Cafe Marconi and the Cafe Gambaudi….in 1922 he was invited to accompany  the Muino-Alippi Theater Company on a tour of Spain…upon his return from Europe he put together his first orchestra which debuted at the Las Heras y Pueyrredon Plaza to great acclaim…about this time the first symptoms of his disease appeared and against  which he fought valiantly but his deteriorating condition embittered him and he became difficult to work with…sadly he was to lose the fight and he succumbed finally in the city of Cordova

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  • CLICK HERE – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ch0J6B-WLao to hear Roberto Goyeneche sing his great hit “Pompas” written by his namesake Roberto Goyheneche (not the added letter “H” in the composer’s name)

1947, October 22 – Nelly Omar Records “Desde El Alma”

Recording – recorded with the Francisco Canaro Orchestra, this was to be Nelly Omar’s biggest hit and to this day there is probably not a milonga anywhere in the world that does not play this tango….”Desde el Alma” was originally written in 1911 by 14-year-old Rosita Melo who born in Montevideo but raised in Buenos Aires…it was recorded by Roberto Firpo for the first time soon after its composition but there were infinite versions recorded thereafter however non were to be more popular than the version by Nelly Omar  …the lyrics for this version were written by Homero Manzi for the filmPobre Mi Madre Querida”

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Nelly Omar (September 10, 1911 Virgo) was born in the city of Guami, west of Buenos Aires…her father, a ranch foreman, was a guitar player and friend of Carlos Gardel…very proud, she was finally helped in her career, without her asking, by Evita but when Juan Peron was overthrown, she was blackballed and had to leave the country to find work…many years later she recalled as a child seeing Gardel in her house “he was fat and his hair was straight and parted in the middle”…Rosita Melo went on to become an acclaimed pianist giving concerts in classical music in the most prestigious concert halls and winning numerous awards including one gold metal.

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  • CLICK HEREhttp://www.youtube.com/watch?v=72aRCJHRt_o to hear Nelly sing the hit version with the Francisco Canaro Orchestra….the lyrics of the opening stanza say, “dear heart, if you have been so hurt, why do you choose to cry for what is lost, to seek what you have loved, to call out for what has died…it avails nothing to be sad, you did not deserve your pain for you were noble in your love”

1896, October 21 – BIRTH OF HORACIO PETTOROSSI

Composer, Leader, Guitarist (Libra) – at the age of 5 he began to take guitar lessons for which he quickly developed a great passion…his father died young and he had to quit to school to help support the family but he made the extra sacrifices necessary to continue his music studies…later would emerge a renown composer of some of the most beloved tangos in history…At the age of 19 he was offered his first gig when he was included in a group of  guitarists for a dance scene in the play “Juan Moriera”…it is in this period when he met Carlos Gardel which would develop into a life long collabroation and friendship..

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In 1923 he made his first tour of europe making his debut at the Prince Theater in Madrid…he arrived in Paris where tango was all the rage and he was invited to play at the tango club owned by the Piazzaro brothers…from here he was invited on a tour of Romania, Greece, Turkey and Italy…In Italy he composed “Otono”…after 6 years abroad he returned to Argentina but soon after was called to Greece where he was inspired to compose and record the beautiful waltz “Noches de Atenas”…back in Buenos Aires, Gardel again requested his presence on a Latin American tour but he was now so busy that he made a rare refusal to his friend; it was precisely on that trip that Gardel and all of his musicians lost their lives.

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  • CLICK HERE – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7vgneoM0SGQ to hear the Osvaldo Pugliese Orchestra perform Pettorossi’s “Aquaforte” which was originally composed in Italy and initially banned there for its anarchist lyrics

1924, October 20 – The mystery of “Hotel Victoria”

On October 20, 1924, Carmen Jimenez  appearing at “La Borrachera del Tango”, with great fanfare announced the premier of a new tango “La Payasa”….the problem was that it was not new at all, but the oft copied, authorless, the mysterious “Hotel Victoria”…who wrote it?, no one know for sure…one historian says that it was played for the first time in one of the well-known carnival balls of the Politeama; another sustains that it is a tango from Córdoba which was composed by Feliciano Latasa for the opening on January 4, 1906 for the enlargement of the Gran Hotel Victoria

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But other early editions of this piece do not bear any signatureat all, while still others are signed with only the initials “H. D”….In 1932, a sheet music copy on whose front cover was written “Hotel Victoria” appeared credited to one Luis Negrón…about this Mr. Negrón, very little is known….Somebody said that the tango was composed by a violinist based in Rosario named Alfredo Barone…much later the same music was copied by two Japanese composers for their song “Mizuiro No Koi” and which female singer Amachi made into a smash hit in the seventies…there is anecdotal evidence that “Hotel Vittoria” was originally an old Spanish melody which was hummed by the immigranst arriving in Buenos Aires…of one thing we are sure of, it is one of the most recorded tangos in history

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2001, October 19 – PREMIERE OF “WAKING LIFE”

Film – Inspired by philosopher  George Santayana’s maxim “Sanity is a madness put to good uses; waking life is a dream controlled.”…..directed and written by Richard Linklater, “Waking Life” is an innovative, digitally animated film with a thought-provoking score composed and performed by Austin based, tango nuevo style, Tosca Tango Orchestra which bills itself as  “the 21st Century Tango”…a noted critic said about the film, “with Waking Life, Linklater has created perhaps the most vivid dreamscape ever to reach movie screens”

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Embracing groundbreaking technology, “Waking Life” follows a young man who arrives in Austin and hitches a ride with a stranger who engages him in a conversation about rarely considered facets of life…as the visitor drifts through the city, he encounters a variety of people and finds himself absorbing their views on art, philosophy, society and numerous issues of contemporary life; an obsession with dreams and their power to sustain begins to grow in him…Linklater used a method that involved filming his actors in digital video; the frames were then painted by a crew of artists…the film garnered ecstatic reviews and won several awards

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