Archive for March 5th, 2011

1934, March 5 – GARDEL SINGS ON NBC, NEW YORK, 3 PM

This was one of the very first broadcasts of its kind in history…while Carlos Gardel was singing at  the NBC studios in New York, through a short wave radio hook-up, he was being accompanied by his long time guitarists Guillermo Barbieri and Angel Riverol back in Buenos Aires…the performance was being transmitted throughout Argentina by Radio Splendido transmitters and throughout South America through its affiliated radio stations with the assistance of Radio Belgran0…he had sung for the first time on NBC just a few months earlier, on new year’s eve, December 31 at 10.30 PM…his break had come during  the previous summer when he had met fellow Uruguayan, Hugo Mariani on vacation; Hugo was one of the key NBC orchestra conductor’s and had evaluated Gardel over a series of performances until one day he said, “Carlos, I think you are ready for New York”…this was a dream come true for Gardel; NBC was the most popular radio station in the world and the US market the most prestigious…

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The initial performance had gone so well that Gardel was given a contract to sing a series of weekly half hour performances; NBC was paying him $315.00 per week…this was a huge sum of money for a nation which was in the throes of a deep depression…newspaper mentions of his performances appeared all over the country along side the names of Jack Benny, Charlie Chaplain, Will Rogers, Eddie Cantor…NBC made an effort to sell Gardel to the broader American market by recording him in English but in the end, they gave up on the project; his English was not very good…his translater in New York was a thirteen year old bandoneonist by the name of Astor Piazzolla whose father had moved the family to New York some years earlier….Gardel was so impressed with young Astor’s talent that he had him accompany him on the NBC Symphony Orchestra for recording sessions…he also invited Astor to accompany him to on his forthcoming tour of South America but because of Astor’s young age his father finally did not give his consent…just a few months later Gardel would die in the fiery airplane crash in the Medellin, Colombia where all, save one guitarist, would perish

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