Archive for May 10th, 2011

1902, May 10 – BIRTH OF JEVEL KATZ, “THE JEWISH GARDEL”

Singer, Poet, Comedian (Taurus) – lying in his hospital bed, weak and emaciated he was nevertheless jovial and continued  singing even parodying his own situation…Jevel Katz was in fact “the happiest of all jews”…unexpectedly, he finally passed away at the age of thirty-seven from post op infection…when news of his untimely demise spread, people were incredulous, how could someone who had brought so much joy be dead…at his funeral, the out pouring of love from 40,000 people was unexpected; it was surpassed only by the funeral of Carlos Gardel five years earlier; in fact posthumously Jevel became known as “the Jewish Gardel”…Jevel Katz was born in Vilna Lithuania to a struggling family…as a young boy he began working in a print shop where he was soon entertaining his fellow workers…at the age of twenty-seven he decided to follow his brother to Buenos Aires; just a few years later most of Vilna’s sizable and influential Jewish community would perish in Nazi death camps

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From the moment of Jevel’s arrival in Buenos Aires he fell in love with the city and the country and he decided he would pursue a career in show business….he developed a character, “a street singer”,  who, with spontaneity and grace, parodied everyday life…he was sometimes dressed in a tuxedo or as a gaucho or even as a woman…like Walter Yonsky, he was part of the Jewish theater tradition in Buenos Aires…he would take popular songs and sing them in a dialect of his own invention “castidish” which was a mixture of Yiddish and Spanish and lunfardo…he performed mainly in jewish neighborhoods but also on special programs on Radio Belgrano…he composed over 5oo songs in diverse genres including rancheras, tangos, and fox trots…he was self-taught in a number of musical instruments and used others which he had personally invented…he had signed a contract to perform in the United States, a dream come true…he entered the hospital to have a tonsils related type operation but in recovery he apparently suffered a post op infection resulting in a coma from which he never awoke

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1952, May 9 – BIRTH OF ADRIANA VARELA

Singer (Taurus) – her first performance as a headliner at the Cafe Homero was a disaster; as she sang she was extremely nervous and she dare not look at anyone…the legendary Roberto Goyeneche “El Polaco”, sitting alone at the bar had not even bothered to turn to look at her….all of a sudden he turned and signaled her to approach him; she was mortified and had already started to apologize to him for her performance when he said, “kid, I am going to tell you something, I don’t like women tango singers but you grabbed my soul”…he would become her mentor and she would become the best-selling and the best known tango singer of a generation and undoubtedly one of the best of all time….her extensive fan base would include young people between the ages of 30 – 45 who are not particularly lovers of tango; in this respect, her career resembled that of Julio Sosa…ironically she came to tango late in life; she was originally a rock singer and then the intermission singer at the Cafe Homero on weekdays…one day, one of the main acts on weekends was absent and she was told that she had to substitute; she was terrified

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In 1991 she recorded her first disk, a compilation called “Tango” which made people take notice; she was almost forty years old…two years later she recorded “Maquillaje” with guest singer Roberto Goyeneche for which she was awarded the coveted “Premio Ace”…in 2001 she released “Mas Tango” for which she won the prestigious “Premio Carlos Gardel”..several other albums followed one always more successful than the other…she would eventually conquer audiences all over the world; in Barcelona her delirious fans demanded several encores and applauded for a long time…..she feels that she has realized her parents unspoken dreams; the kind she now has her own two children…“dreams”, she says “are the only thing that saves you from insanity”…in 1991 she appeared in two films “Al Corazon” directed by Mario Sabato and “Plata Quemada” directed by Marcelo Pineyro…Carlos Saura opened his academy award nominated film “Tango” with her singing…she was born in the neighborhood of Avellandea in Buenos Aires and attended an all girls catholic school…as an eighteen year old she became active in politics participating in the communist youth movement and later the Peronist movement…in an interview she was asked what she would say to her beloved mentor “El Polaco” if he were to come back, “Polaco, don’t leave me”, she answered

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