1900, December 14 – BIRTH OF JUAN D’ARIENZO

Leader, Violinist (Sagitarrius) – it is said that the Emperor Hirohito of Japan was such a big fan of Juan D’arienzo that he sent him a blank check; when Juan still said no, he offered to send him a submarine to bring him to Japan….Juan D’arienzo was enormously popular and received invitations  from all over the world but he never left his area; he was afraid of flying…in an interview, late in life, he said that at the Chantecler Cabaret, Carlos Gardel said to him, “Juanito, I will die in an airplane”; he was sure, D’arienzo once said, that Gardel’s fate awaited him…Juan D’arienzo is widely credited with creating the boom in tango in the 1940s when he sped up the beat of the orchestra; a beat which was perfect for dancing…the old guard had another opinion, they saw it as bad taste…but young young people loved his orchestra and it became chic…his milonga “La Punalada” (composed by Pintin Castellanos), released in 1950, was the first ever million seller…his version of “La Cumparsita” which he recorded 8 times sold 14 million copies…Anibal Troilo said of him “laugh if you will but without him, we’d all be out of work”….

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Juan D’arienzo, the eldest of three children, was born to Italian immigrant parents in the neighborhood of Balvanera, Buenos Aires…his father was the owner of an agricultural plant and he was determined that his eldest son study law and succeed him; young Juan however, had other ideas… from a very early age he loved music and by the age of 12 he was a good violinist; his mother secretly encouraged him…neverthless the angry fights with his father were endless and toward the end of his life Juan still painfully regretted that his father never quite forgave him…Juan was a good student and for a while worked with his father who helped him become a good salesman and a good businessman…as a teenager he struck a friendship with a young pianist Angel D’agostino and together they formed their first group “Ases del Tango”; their first contract was a gig at the zoo where Juan would later recall the catcalls of exotic birds and the roar of the lions which would sometimes accompany them…a distinquished composer Carlos Posadas took Juan under his wing and mentored him; Juan began playing with the orchestra of the Teatro Avenida…he formed his first orchestra in 1928…there are over 1007 recording by Juan D’arienzo…he was to say immodestly about himself, “with me 100,000 orchestras  and neighborhood clubs flourished”

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