Archive for November, 2010

1993, November 30 – PREMIERE, “SCHINDLER’S LIST”

The classic tango “Por Una Cabeza” written by Carlos Gardel in 1935, is playing as Oskar Shindler is entering the night club to meet all the Nazi officials…”Schindler’s List” is a film about Oskar Schindler, a German businessman, a greedy war profiteer, the unlikeliest of all role models who then employs his skills and spends vast sums of his money to save thousands of Polish jews and risking his life in the process….the film’s soundtrack includes  “Ostatnia Niedziela” (Death Tango) which was played as jews were led to their death in nazi gas chambers…Shindler’s List, directed by Steven Speilberg, is based on the novel “Schindler’s Ark” by Thomas Keneally…it Stars Liam Neeson as Schindler, Ralph Fiennes as SS officer Amon Goth and Ben Kingsley as Schindler’s Jewish accountant Itzhak Stern…

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The film was a box office success and recipient of seven academy awards including “Best Picture”, “Best Director” and “Best Original Score” as well as numerous other awards (7 BAFTAs, 3 Golden Globes)…In 2007, the American Film Institute ranked the film 8th on its”List of the 100 Best American Films of All Time”…The lyrics of “Por Una Cabeza” speak of a compulsive horse track gambler who compares his addiction for horses to his attraction for women; Carlos Gardel was himself, a compulsive race horse gambler…the version in Schindler’s List, by the Rococo Quartet, is in the eyes of many, the best version ever after the original…Por Una Cabeza has been used in numerous films including the legendary, Scent of a Woman, where Al Pacino, as a blind, retired army colonel, dances to it…Interestingly, the most recognizable portion of the melody is borrowed from Mozart’s Rondo for Violin and Orchestra in C, K. 373 (about two-thirds of the way through the piece)….tango has a strong jewish influence; two of its greatest, Astor Piazzolla and Osvaldo Pugliese, were of Italian jewish origin

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  • CLICK HERE – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6FOUTWbu5WM to see the scene where Oskar Schindler walks in to the night club with “Por Una Cabeza” playing in the background…this is a version which has been modified from the original which was only an instrumental…in the eyes of many this is actually an improvement over the original

1869, November 29 – BIRTH OF JACOB “THUNE” GADE

Composer, Violinist (Sagittarius) – his “Tango Jalousie” is the most recorded and best know tango in history and was immensely popular even in Argentina where people would have been quite surprised to find out that it had been composed by some one from Denmark…Gade recalled the day, as he was having his morning coffee, he opened the newspaper and was greeted with the sensational story of a man who had killed his wife out of jealousy…on his morning walk he was haunted by the story and when he returned home he sat down to compose and finished in  just two hours…it has been used in over 100 films and countless television productions…it is estimated that every minute of the day someone somewhere in the world is playing “Tango Jalousie”; only the Beatles’ “Yesterday” could for a time match its popularity

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Joseph “Thune” Gade was born into a family of musicians; his family including his grandfather and father would play at festivals in the surrounding villages…early on he started studying the trumpet was so talented that at the age of nine he did a solo performance  in Copenhagen; at the age of 12 Joseph began studying violin….At the age of 16, Joseph decided to move to the capital Copenhagen to seek his fortune; those were difficult years when he would sometimes sleep in entrance halls of buildings relaying on the kindness of elderly ladies to give him some coffee and bread in the morning…by day he would compose country music and polkas; by night he would play in the local cafes…at the age of 18 he got his first break when he was invited to play at an operetta in Fredricksburg…in 1900, for the first time a “toast” song of his was published titled “Der Er Sollys i Modne Druer” (The sunshine on the ripe grapes)…it was popularized when it was recorded by Elna From, a theater actress ten years older than he, who was his first love; they never married but they had three children together…he left his vast fortune to help struggling young musicians preferably those homeless and destitute.

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  • CLICK HERE – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CS4mERnUgA8 to hear the Peter Kreude version…Kreude was a child prodigy born in Aachen Germany in 1901…in Switzerland he met Eva Peron and fell in love with her…he followed her to Buenos Aires and remained there until her death whereup he returned to Germany and continued his great career as a film soundtrack composer

1920, November 28 – BIRTH OF JUAN SANCHEZ GORIO

Composer, Leader, Bandoneonist (Sagittarius) – curiously he had composed “Gitana Rusa” ten years earlier in his struggling years and it had been first recorded by Osvaldo Fresedo but when he recorded it with his own orchestra in 1957 it was a major hit…Juan Sanchez Gorio was born in Spain to a poor family which moved to San Nicolas just outside of Buenos Aires when he was four years old…from the first time he heard the bandoneon on the streets of Buenos Aires, he was mesmerized by its sound and he implored his father to let him take lessons…his talent was such that at the age of 13 he had formed his first trio and a little later he was recruited by Alberto Pugliese, Osvaldo Pugliese‘s brother…

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At the age of 20 he formed his own orchestra; his first break came when he was hired by Radio Splendido…in 1943 he formed his first which with its rhythmical style suitable for dancing made it very fashionable; he had his first taste of fame and financial reward…On august 18 1944 he recorded his first disc; on one side a tango of his own composition “Oriente” on the other  the waltz “Claveles Mendocinos” composed by Alfredo Pelaia…it was an important hit at a key moment in his career…he had a successful 20 year run before the advent of the rock era in the 60s that sent tango into hibernation..he passed away unexpectedly at the age of 58

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1952, November 27 – 1ST RECORDED “RODANDO TU ESQUINA”

Composed and sung by Charlo, the lyrics of Rodando Tu Esquina say, my passion for her is devouring me and I must go out and look for her…to forgive her…I don’t care what people will say, people will talk anyway…I think of her continuously, I can’t get her out of my mind, “….this was a major hit for Charlo; one of many in his long career; he would pass away at the age of 85…Charlo, (born July 7, 1905, Cancer) after Carlos Gardel was the most important figure in tango history…he was certainly the equal of Carlos Gardel in every way and yet, in one of those odd twists of fate, he is relatively unknown…he was born in Avestruz a railway station outside of Buenos Aires; his father was a foreman in a crop harvesting company…as an adult he cut quite a figure; he was a dandy, elegant, sophisticated…in fact he inspired a line of men’s clothing and accessories  called “Charlot”….

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His real name was Carlos Jose Perez, but he was an ardent admirer of Charly Chaplin who inspired his stage name “Charlo”  which he used for the first on his debut on Radio Cultura in 1924…as a child he studied piano and later he entered law school but he stunned his family when he advised them that he would leave law school and devote himself to music…he began by singing and accompanying himself in humble cafes where he elegant attire was almost an insult to the usual patrons nevertheless with his voice, his compositions and his charm, he quickly ascended the ladder of success performing with, among others, the Francisco Canaro and Roberto Firpo orchestras; the most renown at the time..in his career he did everything including having had numerous hits in composing and recording; he may well have been the most recorded tango singer in history

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1888, November 26 – BIRTH OF FRANCISCO CANARO

Composer, Leader, Violinist (Sagittarius) – born into extreme poverty in the city of San Jose de Mayo, Uruguay he would grow to become the richest man in tango history so much so that a popular saying arose “he has more money than Canaro”…he left school very early, he had no choice, he had to work; his parents, immigrants from Rovigo, Italy had eight children…he was mesmerized by the violin; his first violin he constructed himself from an old oil can with which he would play on the streets to earn money…years later he would recall with tenderness, the patch quilt cloth case his mother had made for his “violin”; at the age of 18 he finally bought himself a real violin…his first gig was in a seedy bar in the outskirts of Buenos Aires where gun fire to resolve arguments was not uncommon…in 1908 he composed his first tango “Pinta Brava”,  many more were to follow including great hits however many other tangos attributed to him, he actually bought from destitute composers…

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No one is sure how many recordings he made but the estimates range from 3500 to 7000…in 1924 he pioneered the idea of having a singer in the orchestra but only to sing the “estribillo” the bridge or the main section of each tango…by 1915 his orchestra was immensely popular; so popular that he created three orchestras with his name which performed simultaneously around Buenos Aires…his one area of failure was the film industry; his film company Rio de la Plata had only one film that made money, “Idolos De La Radio”…….some time in late 1920s he began his affair with the legendary Ada Falcon who was very much in love with him…when he realizes how much money he would lose in a divorce, he reneged on his promise to marry Ada…at one point his wife actually threatened Ada by pointing a gun to her head…it has been speculated that Ada’s sudden  retirement from show business at the height of her career to enter a convent was related to her broken heart and this incident

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  • CLICK HERE – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LYJJQqoE3Dw to hear the Francisco Canaro Orchestra play “Yo No Se Que Me Han Hechos Tus Ojos” (I don’t understand what your eyes have done to me) with  music and lyrics by Francisco Canaro

1964, November 25 – JULIO SOSA DIES IN CAR WRECK

Singer (born February 2, 1926, Aquarius) – his love of fast cars cost him his life, he was 38 years old and at the pinnacle of his career…awaiting him were plans for other films, tours of europe and south america; he was very much in love with a new girlfriend…in the 60s he was the only tango singer who could still command crowds; tango had by now passed from fashion and rock and rock was all the craze….he was born in Las Piedras, Uruguay to a dirt poor family; his father was a day laborer and his mother was a washer woman; Julio himself had to quit school while still very young and he worked at a large variety of menial jobs comforted by the tangos of Radio El Mundo, but in the evenings he would sing at local cafes for spare change; more than once the police would escort him out for he was underaged…the streets matured him quickly where the voice of Carlos Gardel inspired…his first marriage at 16 which all too soon ended….

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His big break came one evening while he was singing at the Los Andes Cafe in Buenos Aires, lyricist Raul Hormaza happened to walk in and was impressed with the young, gaunt singer…an overwhelmed Julio found himself at the elegant Cafe Picadisi auditioning for Armando Pontier one of the most renown orchestras at the time…for Pontier he sang “Tengo Miedo” and that very evening he debuted in a borrowed, ill-fitting suit…but somegthing unexpected happened; people stopped what they were doing to actually listen to Julio sing whose gesticulating, emotional, stage presence was different and mesmerizing…in 1960 he published his book of poems, “Dos Oras Antes Del Alba (Two Hours Before the Dawn) whose stanzas revealed that beyond the strobe lights of success, somehow the pain of his childhood, like that of Tita Merello, had never really been erased from his soul

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1908, November 24 – BIRTH OF LIBERTAD LAMARQUE

Singer (Sagittarius) – by the age of 18 she was already a professional actress on radio and theater, had made her first recording, had married, given birth to a daughter and was in the middle of a difficult divorce;…she was to have a long, highly successful career becoming the first female super star of tango and along the way enduring a series of seemingly never-ending mishaps…in 1935 she may have tried to commit suicide by jumping from a building, luckily an awning broke her fall and saved her life…born in Rosario Argentina, she was the daughter Gaudencio, a son of French immigrants (originally to Uruguay), who married a woman with six children; Libertad was their only mutual child…Gaudencio was a tinsmith by day and a cultured fiery political anarchist by night; in fact Libertad grew up in a household full of music, literature and fashionable ideas…

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Gaudencio started his daughter in theater at the age of seven where she frequently acted in his own plays full of provocative  ideas…Libertad was beloved by the public and when she was 12, Gaudencio decided that she was ready for Buenos Aires and so he moved the tinsmith shop and the whole family there…with a letter of introduction in hand from a journalist she was given a small role in the famous Teatro Nacional; she never stopped working…she married a theater promoter with whom she had a daughter but quite soon she realized it was a mistake and she would seek a divorce…during the shooting of the film “La Cabalgata del Circo” she got into a  argument with actress Eva Duarte “Evita” whom myth states that she slapped and which resulted in Libertad being blackballed…Libertad, in her autobiography, would deny that she had ever slapped Evita and Evita woul later denied any involvement in  her being ostracized but nevertheless all avenues in Argentina were inexplicably closed to her….Liberta emigrated to Mexico where she was eventually adored and worship to such a degree that Mexicans considered her one of their own; in fact it was from this venue that she would become an internationally beloved star…the output in her career is mind-boggling, over 800 recordings, 65 films and even the screenwriter for her film “Ayudame a Vivir”…she died at the age of 92 in Mexico City while performing in a “telenovela”

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