1920, August 6 – GENARO ESPOSITO ARRIVES IN MARSEILLES

When Genaro Esposito arrived there in 1920, the bustling city of Marseille, built originally by Greeks in 600 BC, was proudly celebrating its status as “port of the empire” with colonial exhibitions glorifying French colonial conquests…what surprized him was the odd familiarity he felt; 40% of its residence, like himself were of Italian descent…but lurking in his soul were grave doubts; on the way there tragedy struck, the violinist of his musica group, Victor Jachia, suddenly had a massive heart attack and died…with typical Neapolitan resolve he began playing his bandoneon on the streets for spare change….he eventually made his way to Paris where in time his “Orchestre Argentine Genaro Esposito” would become the toast of Paris performing in its most prestigious clubs, ”El Garron”, “Casino de Paris”, the “Couple Dance Club” and later critically acclaimed European tours…Genaro would be a big factor in making tango a boom in Paris and therefore the world for indeed, tango became a world phenomenon because Paris, then the cultural capital of the world, adopted it…

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In 1934, at the height of success, Genaro fell in love with a beautiful young French girl, Jeanne Vent…she rewarded him with the birth of a boy “Claude” of whom Genaro was immensely proud but then tragedy struck for the second time, Jeanne died leaving him to the care of their 11 month old child…he was never quite the same again…on June 14, 1940 the unimaginable happened, the German army entered Paris…interestingly, they entered playing the San Lorenzo march composed by Argentinean Cayetano Silva…pall descended upon the city….little by little Genaro had to sell everything he owned just to eat; what little money he could earn came from playing his bandoneon for drunken German soldiers on leave from the Russian front……he had an opportunity to return to Buenos Aires but he steadfastly refused, he was a loyal French citizen now and he would stand by her and by his beloved Paris…sadly, the end came on January 24, 1944 when he succumbed to complications from pneumonia; as per his deathbed request, he was buried next to his beloved Jeanne…just seven months later allied forces would liberate Paris

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