1939, August 11 – PUGLIESE DEBUTS AT CAFE NACIONAL

The mythical “Cafe Nacional”, the cathedral of tango, until 1916 was known as “Cafe LLoveras” where famed Argentine chess master Maximo Abramhson held court…it is here that Osvaldo Pugliese debuted with singer Amadeo Mandarino, his first orchestra on August 11, 1939…because of his communist sympathies, he was persecuted by the Juan Peron regime…during his periodic incarcerations his orchestra would continue performing but would place a red rose on top of his unmanned piano…He was born in the neighborhood of Villa Crespo, Buenos Aires, a traditionally jewish neighborhood, to an Italian immigrant father who was a shoe repairman but who loved music…it was he who gave young Osvaldo his  first violin lesson; Osvaldo would later switch to piano..at the age of 16 he was hired by Paquita Bernardo, the first professional female bandoneonist in Argentina, to play in her sextet…

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Osvaldso Pugliese was a highly principled man with a strong sense of social justice…among his activities, he was an organizer of workers’ strikes and even looked after the welfare of the terribly exploited prostitutes…he set up his orchestra as a cooperative in which everyone including himself was paid the same amount of money…there were numerous great hits among his hundreds of recording but perhaps non greater than “Recuerdo” which he composed  at the age of 19…during one of his numerous world tours at a stopover in Japan, he had a conversation with Dr. Daisaku Ikeda, a renown Buddhist who said of Osvaldo “I have met with emperors, kings, philosophers, great personalities from around the world, but I never found as much spiritual affinity with such a person as with Osvaldo.”

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