Archive for the ‘ Bandoneon ’ Category

1921, March 11 – BIRTH OF ASTOR PIAZZOLLA

Composer, Leader, Bandoneonist, Pianist (Pisces) –“You idiot, that’s Piazzolla”Nadia Boulanger screamed at a young Astor Piazzolla; looking back on a story book career many years later he would say“in a mere matter of ten seconds, she had sent to hell ten years of work”…perhaps more than any one else, it was Nadia Boulanger, renown music teacher of the twentieth century, who was responsible for the eventual emergence of the genius Astor Piazzolla…he had been ashamed of his tango roots and his bandoneon; his true soul, he thought, belonged to Mozart and Bach but the astute Boulanger set him on the right destiny…the destiny of combining classical, jazz and tango all cemented by the musical milieu of New York where he grew up…it was a fateful day in 1953 when it was suggested to him to enter one of his compositions into the “Fabien Seveitsky Competition” which he did very reluctantly, he just did not think his work was good enough…to his great surprize, he won first place and a scholarship to study with the legendary Nadia Boulanger in Paris

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Although Astor Piazzolla was born in Argentina he was raised in New York and his music, his character and his life reflected that ambience; he even spoke english with a New York accent…his granparents had been immigrants from the ancient town of Trani, a settlement of ancient jewish scholarship in the region of Puglia in Southern Italy…as a boy he went through a series of operations due to a polio deformed right leg; his father advised him to be tough and to never let anything defeat him a lesson he learned all too well; he was once thrown out of school for aggressive behavior…the composition which won him his first popular acclaim was “Ballada Para Un Loco” which was premiered in 1969 by his second wife Amelita Baltar at the First Iberoamerican Music Festival where it won second place…his immortal “Libertango” was composed during the period that he lived in Rome in the 1970s…in his prolific career he would compose over 1000 works including orchestral works that continue to be played by orchestras the world over…Astor once said, “music is more than a woman because you can divorce a woman but not music…once you marry her, she is your everlasting love and you go to the grave with her”…he also once said of the most famous tango in the world, “La Cumparsita”“the worst of all tangos”

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1959, March 3 – L. LEOCATA DEBUTS ON RADIO BELGRANO

With tears running down her face, clasping her favorite embroidered apron she looked out the window to the orchard she had planted and whispered, “it is a miracle, thank you heavenly father”…Luciano would recall that day vividly many years later…his father had just received a letter from the landlord’s representative; he had passed away and, in an act of deathbed generosity, had cancelled the debt on the house…to the children who played on those 70 meters on which his father had personally constructed the house, it seemed like such a large place; with tremendous personal sacrifice, he had bought that property for twenty-three pesos a month…Luciano Leocata was the third of four children to poor immigrants from Sicily which had settle in the neighborhood of Almagro in Buenos Aires…one evening, when he was thirteen years old, from a distant neighbor’s house, he heard an odd, new sound that captivated him; he found out later it was the bandoneon…

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He began taking lessons and he quickly exhausted his teachers’ ability to teach him…he began playing in the neighborhood cafes and bars for spare change…the news of the “kid” reached Juan Pedro Castillo who have him his first professional job; it was the beginning of a glorious career culminating in a 50 year collaboration with the Florindo Sassone Orchestra…it was in 1940, that the most important event of his life happened; he met a shy, unassuming Aida Emma Gagliardino, “I heard music like I had never heard before”, he would say…they married on January 16, 1943..in time this event would produce two daughters, five grandchildren and three great grandchildren…Luciano composed some of the most beloved tangos in history…His “Volvemos A Querernos”which he presented on Radio El Mundo had the distinction of being a hit simultaneously on two different radio stations, played by two different orchestras and sung by two different singers…his “Y Todavia Te Quiero” to our very day is one of the most revered tangos played in milongas all over the world; there were many others…

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1886, February 28 – BIRTH OF ANTONIO SCATASSO

Leader, Composer, Bandoneonist (Pisces) – he was rough and uncouth in his manner and in his dealings with people which sometimes caused heads to shake a little…with little education of any kind, he was a survivor of the streets but inside his restless soul resided a gifted musician…at the age of four, his destitute family had emigrated from Naples, Italy to Buenos Aires in the hope of a better life…Antonio learned to play the mandolin, the guitar, and the bandoneon with almost no training of any kind; later he would become a composer of simple and melodic tangos much beloved by the public especially theater audiences…his professional debut, around 1907 with the mandolin alongside violinist and future legend, Francisco Canaro…later he performed at the Cafe Parque but this time on bandoneon which he had mastered in a short period of time…

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In 1933 he met Ignacio Corsini at the Teatro Smart; a long and productive friendship and collaboration would follow including some notable performances on Radio Nacion…in the early part of the century, stage plays were the preferred method of entertainment and it was also the preferred setting to debut a new tango…a successful debut of a new tango in a stage play could mean fame and fortune for a composer…this was exactly the dream of Antonio when he premiered his tango “El Ciego” in the play “Chi Lo Sa” written by Cesar Bourel which premiered at the Apollo Theater in Buenos Aires…he would remain close to the theater for his whole life, in his later year strictly in management…among his numerous compositions were some great hits for some of which he not only composed he music but write the lyrics as well…in his career he would back up legends like Tita Merello, Ernesto Fama, Azucena Maizani

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1898, February 1 – BIRTH OF JUAN BAUTISTA GUIDO

Leader, Composer, Bandoneonist (Aquarius) – he hated the interminable screeching of wood cutting and the smell of the wood dust which seemed to penetrate everything but his father had found him this job to help their destitute family survive…when he wasn’t a carpenter’s assistant he would help the neighborhood milkman deliver the clanging jars of milk; he became known as “lecherito”, the little milkman; it would stay with him for the rest of his life…he was born in the neighborhood of Parque Patricios in Buenos Aires to a struggling immigrant family….as a little boy he had once picked up an old bandoneon that an uncle had left behind and had played some notes; he was mesmerized by the sound…to the great ire of his father, he quit the carpenter’s shop and started  to devote himself to music…he started to take lessons from Arturo Severino, a renown teacher and composer; by the age of 13 he was so advanced that the maestro invited him to join his personal group…

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In 1913 at the age of 15 he put together his first group, a trio with a violin and guitar which debuted at the Cafe 43 “La Fonda” in Parque Patricios…on its small stage appeared many fledging composers and musicians some of which would reach stardom like Jose Real and Guillermo Barbieri authors of the great hit “Rosa de Otono” (Barbieri would die with Gardel in Medellin in the fiery airplane crash)…word of this “child prodigy” reached the legendary  Samuel Castriota, composer of “Mi Noche Triste” who promptly asked him to join his orchestra at the legendary Cafe Olimpico; he then moved to the famous Casa De Laura with another maestro, Vicente Greco…at the age of 18 he put together a quintet which played at the Cafe La Morocha earning rave reviews…by the age of 28 he had reached  the highest level of his profession and was making more money than he had ever dreamed of …he contracted a Rheumatoid like disease which gradually diminished his ability to work but he nevertheless accepted an offer to tour with the radio program “De Villoldo a Gardel”…in one of  the stops he collapsed right after the performance; the strain on his heart had been too much…among his greatest compositions are “Coquetita”, “Muneca de Carne” (Baby Doll) and “Tarde Gris”..

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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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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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1913, January 15 – BIRTH OF FELIX LIPESKER

Composer, Bandoneonist (Capricorn) – Ana Dobin was in the final throes of death, her emaciated, twitching body in liver failure, the result of an abortion attempt using laundry bluing which had been recommended by a neighbor…her husband Jose was trying to encourage her but she was more interested in last-minute exhortations for the care of her six children, especially the three year old, that she would soon be leaving behind…she fell silent for a moment before adding one final request, that he should never bring another woman into her house…to this he consented and in fact Jose would never remarry…that evening Ana slipped into a coma and soon after passed away; she was thirty-five years old…Ana had arrived in Rosario, Argentina at the age of 17 with her husband Jose embarking on the arduous journey from Odessa, Russia where pogroms were a constant danger…Jose was a cap maker and in Rosario his small shop eventually grew to have 20 employees

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Felix was the second oldest child and from the moment he touched his older brother German’s bandoneon he was transfixed by it and through his relentless tinkering, he learned to play it…German procurred lessons for him and one year later he was playing in the local cafes with his teacher’s orchestra… the first tango Felix composed  was “A Rosario Central”; inspired by the local football team of which the whole family were ardent fans…they sold the sheet music with a photo of the team on it for 10 cents in front of the stadium….news of this remarkable young man came to the ear of Julio de Caro in far away Buenos Aires and eventually he hired him…years later his wife would prevail upon him to renounce the tiring, sleepless musician’s life; Felix became an entrepreneur…he started a conservatory, developed a famous method for learning to play bandoneon which he sold by mail and even bought a music publishing company…among his numerous compositions are three waltzes which were hits “Romantica”, “Gotta de Lluvia” and “Tu Nombre” and the milonga “Arrabal”…his brother Leo, a violinist would join the Pedro Maffia and Miguel Calo orchestras…his brother Santos, a clarinetist and composer would conduct the staff orchestra of Radio El Mundo

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  • CLICK HERE – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RIoK772zve0 to hear one of Felix’s greatest hits, the waltz “Gotta De LLuvia” (raindrops) sung in duet by Argentino Ledesma and Raul Lavie from the television program Grandes Valores Del Tango