1905, May 18 – LA NACION: “‘EL PURRETE’ RELEASED”

Did orchestra leader Jose Luis Roncallo realy disguise “El Choclo” as “danza criolla” because tango was not socially acceptable at the elegant El Americano Restaurant in 1903 ?…there are varying opinions on the matter…on May 18, 1905, the Breyer Publishing Label placed a notice in the La Nacion newspaper that a new tango “El Purrete” by composer Jose Luis Roncallo had been released…in the eyes of some critics this is proof that tango was not such a pariah among the respectable class in early 20th century Argentina as is generally believed…in fact, just a few days later the newspaper announced another tango by Roncallo, “El Porteno”…however, it is indisputable that tango had the reputation of being the music of the seedy part of society especially the bordellos…it is also true that Osvaldo Fresedo’s orchestra’s clientele was the upper class but he was one of the few tango musicians who came from an upper class family

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In any case, “El Choclo”, composed by Angel Villoldo, was one of the first tangos in history and one which was so ubiquitous that it was surely known even in the upper classes of Buenos Aires…in fact it was so popular that during world war I, the German army played it for a visiting Argentinean dignitary erroneously believing it be the Argentine national anthem…another early and immortal tango was “El Enterriano”; historians generally consider it to be the first tango in history….it was composed by Rosendo Mendizabal who was of mixed african descent…Rosendo, unlike Villoldo came from a well to do family and perhaps that was part of the reason that he was also able to quite successfully perform in upper class cabarets where among his numerous compositions he also played “El Enterriano”…at an early age Rosendo Mendizabal inherited a large sum of money from a deceased grandmother…however, embarking on a profligate, bohemian life he very quickly squandered his fortune and died destitute, in a single squalid room at the age of forty-five

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