Archive for January, 2012

1898, January 31 – BIRTH OF MARIA LUISA CARNELLI

Poet (Aquarius) – one day while she was attending an important celebration, the tango “Se Va La Vida” was being played; it had been a great hit for composer Edgardo Donato…a colleague sitting next to Maria Luisa Carnelli mentioned that he liked the music but engaged on a long tirade about why the lyrics were inappropriate and amateurish…Maria Luisa could contain herself no longer and revealed to him that she, under the pseudonym Mario Castro, was in fact the author…the colleague was highly embarrassed and stammered an explanation but in fact the friendship never recovered…she often used pseudonyms to prevent her father from finding out what she was doing…growing up in an upper middle class family, her father was adamantly against tango; he had once discovered a daughter dancing tango and had severely disciplined her; …nevertheless Maria Luisa and her brothers would secretly listened to tango removing the horn from the Gramophone so as to keep the volume to its lowest possible level…

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She was born in the city of La Plata Argentina and already as a young girl she learned to love tango and to write poems…she became a tango lyricist in 1927 when, under the pseudonym “Mario Castro”, she wrote the lyrics for “El Malevo” composed  by Julio De Caro…just three years later  she won first prize in the celebrated Max Glucksman tango contest with “Linyera”…her “Se Va La Vida” became a hit when Carlos Gardel’s dear friend Azucena Maizani recorded it…in her career, like the legendary Homero Manzi, she would become a renown journalist and author although she once commented that she earned more from the royalties from her biggest hit “Cuando Llora La Milonga” than from the eight books she had published…she traveled to 24 countries in journalistic pursuits which was an unheard of feat for a woman in those times…she was admired for her personal valor as correspondent in the Spanish Civil where she was befriended by the mythical Martha Gellhorn (Hemingway’s 3rd wife)…she had passionate opinions about tango believing after the 1940s, it was not tango, “it is too sophisticated, contrived, too technical…it has lost its porteno soul” she would say with absolute certainty…some of her other hits were Moulin Rouge”, “Dos Lunares” and “Primer Agua”

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1929, January 30 – PREMIERE OF “PANDORA’S BOX”

“She was the most seductive, sexual image of woman ever permitted in celluloid…she is the only pure pleasure seeker I think I ever met” these were the comments of director Richard Leacock regarding actress Louis Brooks…she created a scandal dancing a tango with lesbian “Countess Augusta Geschweitz” in G. W.Pabst’s classic “Pandora’s Box”...Louise portrays “Lulu” a seductive, erotic, thoughtless young woman whose raw sexuality and uninhibited nature bring ruin to herself and those who love her…in this film she is the mistress of a well-respected newspaper publisher whom she marrys..she accidently kills him and is sentenced to five years in prison…she escapes with Alwa, her husband’s son but she is eventually sold to a brothel in Egypt…they eventually escape to London where they are living in squalor and where she prostitutes herself to make ends meet…she selects a client who is non other than Jack the Ripper… in the last scene, Alwa decides to leave her and is seen following a Salvation Army parade unawares of Lulu’s horrible fate up stairs…Jack the Ripper glances at him as he goes by

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In real life Louis Brooks was “Lulu”, living a libertine life of excessive drinking, opulent rich life style, reckless spending, sexual liberation and experimentation including a lesbian affair with Greta Garbo…at the age of nine she had been sexually abused by a neighbor which began her intense relationship to sexuality…in an interview she states “I was a terrible actress, in the film I was simply playing myself which is the hardest thing in the world to do”…her lovers included Charley Chaplain, CBS president William Paley and many others…by the age of 32 she was forgotten; she had had several opportunities to revive her career but she hated hollywood and told them to go to hell…alone and alcoholic, she took a job as a sales clerk in a New York department store where no one suspected she was the former beauty queen and screen myth…later she worked for a call girl agency catering to rich clientele…she never had any children describing herself, in typical  self deprecating humor as “Baren Brooks”

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1926, January 29 – BIRTH OF ROBERTO GOYENECHE

Singer (Aquarius) – crushed by the death of his devoted mother in 1949, he vows to never sing again and to devote himself exclusively to his bus driving activity and the care of his two young sons; neverthless he loves to sing as he drives….one fateful day an agent for Horacio Salgan happens to board the bus and is amazed by the driver’s voice; he tells Horacio about him who promptly summons him for an audition and hires him on the spot…this would lead later to his association with Anibal Troilo, who would become a dear friend, and with whom his prodigious talent would begin to blossom…much later, after a life time of often heartbreaking disappointments,  basking in the fruits of stardom, he will be called “a living legend” …in his career his name would be associated with 2,500 songs and 101 LPs… among his greatest hits were “La Ultima Curda”, “Malena”, “Garua”, “Naranjo en Flor” and in the eyes of some, his greatest hit of all, “Balada Para Un Loco”…Roberto Goyeneche was born in the neighborhood of Saavedra, in Buenos Aires, a place whose streets were brimming with tango music…as a child he was called “canary” because of his blond hair and blue eyes.

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His father owned an upholstery shop and in the evening he would relax by playing the piano and listening to his prized collection of Carlos Gardel recordings…when Roberto was five years old, his father unexpectedly died and the family was devasted; his mother  began working long and tiresome hours as a washer woman to support him and his brother Jorge…Roberto quit school early to work to help support the family; among the jobs he held were being a typist and runner for a law firm, taxi driver and bus driver…at the age of 18 he won a singing contest held at the Club Federal Argentino; a comedian and friend of orchestra, leader Raul Kaplan told him about the thin, blond singer….Roberto soon found himself singing with Kaplun on Radio Belgrano…during the day he would drive his bus and in the evenings he would sing with Kaplun as well as care for his family to whom he was deeply devoted…in 1990 he mentored a wavering Adriana Varela who would go on to become one of the best selling woman tango singer in history…he stared in the films “El Canto Cuenta Su Estoria” in 1976, “El Derecho A La Felicita” in 1968, and ” Sur” in 1988.

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1970 January 28 – BIRTH OF CARLA ALGERI

Composer, Leader, Bandoneonist (Aquarius) – in one of life’s rare mystical moments, one day while she was strolling along Piazza San Martin her curiosity was piqued by a photo exhibit; she was astonished to see that an award-winning photo prominently on display, was in fact a photo of her with her quartet on stage….that was the same quartet with which she had half-heartedly entered in a contest and which, to her amazement, had won first place…there had been a period in her life when she had decided that her beloved tango had an ever diminishing future and she immersed herself  in engineering studies…but from the moment when as a little girl, she had happened upon an ageless bandoneonist with one foot on a water fountain, head bowed, she had developed a love for the sound of the bandoneon…from then on her childhood dream had been playing bandoneon in a Paris subway; many years would pass before she began to fulfill that dream…it was non other than Lidia Pugliese, the wife of Osvaldo Pugliese who had recommended renown bandoneonist Rodolfo Maderos as her first teacher.

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Carla Algeri, descendant of Italian immigrants, was born in the town of Burzaco, just outside of Buenos Aires to a tango tainted family whose members’ asado cookouts were grand occasions of guitar playing, singing and dancing….her grandfather Sebastian was a church organ repairman and a respected operatic barritone and great fan of Tito Schipa…on New Years Day, it was the family custom to play Osvaldo Pugliese’s classic “La Yumba” in ritual-like manner to invoke good luck…with loving support from her father, she started studying first guitar and then piano; for a time Pugliese himself was her teacher…in an act of bravado, it would be she, years late, to suggest to Maestro Maderos  to form his own orchestra…along with Carla, they debuted at the San Miguel Palace…Maderos had become a paternal figure to her and one day he encouraged her to launch a solo career…with tremendous will and sacrifice, all the while caring for her two beloved sons, she began knocking on doors; out of her devotion and talent emerged several key mentors…She would become the musical director for the show  ”Buenos Aires de Tango” with which she toured Europe and Latin America ….in Medellin, Colombia, the place of Gardel’s  fatal airplane crash, she formed a tango orchestra and a bandoneon school… in 2010 she formed her own tango orchestra which has been widely haled…she says, “from the moment I open my eyes each morning, I am certain of two things, the love for my two sons Sebastian and Nicola and my love for tango”

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1988, January 27 – PREMIERE OF “TANGO BAR”

“Tonight Antonio will walk into Tango Bar, will walk through that door, back into your life, our lives says” says Ricardo, “There is nothing left between Antonio and I, nor fire nor ashes, you are only hurting yourself needlessly”, Elena responds to Ricardo trying to reassure him, …”Tango Bar” is a movie about a classic love triangle…Antonio, a bandoneon player and singer, had fled  Argentina during the period of state sponsored terrorism to save his life leaving behind his wife, tango singer Elena with his show business partner, pianist and songwriter Ricardo…in the mean time Ricardo and Elena have fallen in love…Ricardo is played by Raul Julia, Antonio by Ruben Juarez and Elena by Valeria Lynch; the film was directed by Marcos Zurinaga with music by Attilo Stampone .

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Throughout the movie, there are flashbacks to the duo’s sellout show 11 years earlier, called ‘Este es Tango’ (This is Tango) including a series of dance sequences that illustrate the history including a tango danced in a sumptuous Buenos Aires brothel, a 1920s European style tango, a street tango, a stage show, Abott and Costello dancing Tango and even the cartoon Flintstones dancing the tango…the pinnacle is an authentic ‘tango argentino’ where Antonio, in a bit of provincialism says, “this is tango danced the right way by the people who dance it best”…Valeria Lynch was born on January 7, 1952 (Capricorn) in the Villa Urquiza neighborhood of Buenos Aires…for a time she was a singer for the rock group “The Expression” but in the 1990s she became a tango singer and made successful tours all over the world…Tango Bar was also the name of a movie made by Carlos Gardel in 1935 in which he sings his immortal “Por Una Cabeza” which has been featured in so many films including “Scent Of A Woman” and “Shindler’s List”…Tango Bar was Gardel’s last film before dying tragically in an airplane crash in Medellin, Colombia in June of 1935

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1938, January 26 – Nestor Feria Records “CHUMBALE LOS PERROS”

Singer, Composer (born March 5, 1894, Pisces) – Nestor had struggle for many years and he felt he had paid his dues; he wanted to be treated with a certain amount of respect and he wasn’t getting it…in a moment of rage he told the producer at Radio Stentor to go to hell and he stomped out…walking alone now on this chilly night he was the loneliest person in the world…Now what was he to do; his career had been one of stops and starts and he was no longer a kid…out of the misty night he heard his name called,  “Nestor how are you”, it was his friend the actor Fernando Ochoa…when he told him what had happened he promptly dragged him to Radio Belgrano where they hired him on the spot…it was the begining of the resurgence of his career…he became the singing voice for the very popular variety programs sponsored by Federal Soap; important offers for stage and theaters were to follow….he was hired for his first movie “Juan Moreira” directed by Nelo Cosimi…he debuted with his own composition “En Blanco y Negro” which became a big hit…other successful compositions were to follow, “Las Carretas”, “Paginas Intimas”, “La Bata de Percal”

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Nestor Feria was born in the village of  Canelones Bolivar, Uruguay into a family with closely guarded secrets….after a quarrel his mother, with rare courage for those time, left her husband and moved to Montevideo to the neighborhood of “La Union” where Nestor was to spend formative years…as he grew Nestor, like Carlos Gardel, became spellbound by the nearby racetrack where he eventually got a job as a stable boy…young Nestor loved to sing, he sang all the time…it was the other stable hands themselves that suggested to Nestor that he pursue singing as a career…at the age of 16, he found himself singing at the Pancho Orezoli Cafe and the launching of his career…In 1945the first symptoms of lung cancer began to appear but he kept working inspite of the pain and discomfort…now he regretted never having married…he lived alone in a rented room in BuenosAires….Fernando Ochoa, his old friend, again came to his rescue…through his connections he obtained for Nestor a role in the remake of “Juan Moreira” directed by Jose Moglia Barth…immediately after the film he had a strongh desire to return to his native Uruguay and just a few weeks later he collapsed and on September the 27th at 11 am he passed away

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1933, January 23 – Gardel Records “LA CANCION DE BUENOS AIRES”

Who knows that if Carlos Gardel had not recorded “La Cancion de Buenos Aires” it might have been just another of the thousands of tangos with momentary flashes to then be relegated to the dust bin of oblivion…instead this piece, which was written by Orestes Cufaro and Azucena Maizani, is one of the most successful tangos in history…it would be hard to find a tango performer of renown who has not recorded it…twice it was made into a film; in 1945 directed by Julio Irigoyen and in 1980 directed by Fernando Siro…it was a minor hit for singer Alberto Castillo when he sang it in Manuel Romero’s 1948 film El Tango Vuelve a Paris…Orestes Cufaro was born in the city of Rosario, Argentina where his father was a pianist and an orchestra director…his father was his first teacher and it soon became evident that young Orestes was a child prodigy…he made his performance debut at the age of eleven at the Belgrano Cinema as the pianist for the Abel Bedruna Orchestra; he was so impressive that he soon found himself playing in the best cafes, cinemas and theaters in Rosario…

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At age 18 he made the big move to Buenos Aires where he debuted at Radio Prieto; along the way he met singer Azucena Maizani  who would record his first tango “Usted Sabe Senor Juez” ….within these circles he came to know playwrite and future icon of the Argentinean film industry Manuel Romero who asked him to write a theme song for his play “La Cancion de Buenos Aires”; for this he sought the collaboration of Azucena Maizani …Carlos Gardel was very fond of Azucena; he seemed to take an almost fatherly concern for her, frequently inquiring of Orestes about her well being…it was out of friendship for Azucena that Gardel agreed to record “La Cancion de Buenos Aires”….Orestes would compose a number of other hits including “Vencido” and “Una y Mil Noches”…Manuel Romero was one of the most successful lyricists in history; Carlos Gardel himself recorded 19 of his tangos…Romero would write 180 plays and direct 53 films in his career all them with similar characteristics; simple and heart-moving scripts where the typical characters were the poor young lover, the young rich girl in love with him and the cavalier son of a tycoon who vies for her hand

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