Archive for the ‘ Bandoneon ’ Category


Bandeonist, Leader, Composer (Libra) – a self-taught musician, by the age of 15 he was already making the rounds of the clubs looking for gigs to play…in the day time he was a butcher’s assistant proud of his ability to carry the heavy beef carcasses on his back…at the age of 19 he had his first professional offer when he was recruited into the Jose Figeroa Trio…radio appearances followed and with recognition came the invitations to play in important orchestras


Greatly influenced by the legendary Troilo, in 1938 he organized his first orchestra, “Tipica Armenonville”, to fullfill a contract at the classy Palermo Palace…the name of another of his orchestras “Los Dados Blancos” (the white dice) came to him when a tailor inadvertently placed the symbol of a dice on custom-made shirts he had ordered…he missed one opportunity to go to Europe and for the rest of his career he maintained a busy schedule in Argentina, Chile and Uruguay……the tango “Ventarron” became associated with his orchestra



1905, September 22 – BIRTH OF JOAQUIM MORA

Composer, Pianist, Bandoneonist (Virgo) – of  mixed African descent, he was born in Buenos Aires…he began to study music at the age of 11…by the age of 16 he had graduated from the conservatory as a professor of piano and he began to play at the “La Argentina” saloon, his first gig…his first break came at the age of 18, when he was accepted as pianist for the Graciano de Leon Quartet…


He wrote his first tango, Viejo Barrio” in 1928…Divina, perhaps his most beautiful tango was written in 1934; many others were to follow…in 1930 he was invited to join the band that accompanied Azucena Maizani on her tour of Europe…he settled finally in Panama but in 1978, after 35 years, seriously ill, he returned to Buenos Aires saying “I was tired of feeling  myself an alien and so I have come back home”…but everything was different; his friends were no more and memories were all changed and so quietly, he returned to Panama where he passed away on August 2, 1979


1919, September 12 – birth of Roberto Perez Prechi

Composer, Bandoneonist, Leader (Virgo) – at the age of 18, along with two other friends, he formed his first trio… they knew only six tangos… they couldn’t even get an audition and finally found their first audience among the workers of a sugar refinery getting paid in spare change…in 1950 he was recruited by Osvaldo Fresedo with whom would ensue a glorious 30 year association including arranging and composing.


In 1958 with his own orchestra, he introduced innovative forms including the use of a french horn…thru a brother-in-law, his music was presented to Astor Piazzola who recorded his “De Mi Bandoneon“. ..his “Capricho de Amor” reached international acclaim when Dizzie Gilesppie chose to record it…he went through a period of deep depression when his first wife died, “I poured my pain into my music”…out of that period emerged his tango “Seras” (you will be)


1917, August 29 – birth of ARMANDO PONTIER

Composer, Leader, Bandoneonist (Virgo) – he was born in the province of Zarate in the outskirts of Buenos Aires to a very poor family…his dream was to play piano, but that was too expensive…one day his father shows up with a bargain bandoneon  which he had bought from a street vendor . His first orchestra was one he formed with his childhood friend Enrique Francini…their break came when they were invited to play at the grand opening of Tango Bar , September  1, 1945.


As a composer he was at his greatest; he wrote some of the most beloved tangos in history; e.g.,  “Trenzas”, “Cada Dia Te Estrano Mas”. “Corazon No Le Hagas Caso”…about tango he said, “tango is no accident..a person who loves tango had  tango when he was still in his mother’s womb”. On Christmas Day of 1983, after of a sustained period of depression, he took his own life.


  • CLICK HERE to hear the Pontier/Francini orchestra play one of Pontier’s most beloved compositions “Margo” written in 1945 (lyrics by Homero Exposito)

1899, August 28 -birth of PEDRO MAFFIA

Composer, Leader, Bandoneonist (Virgo) – he grew up in a destitute family with a brutal father who would beat him and force him to beg for money…he ran away to the house of the legendary “Negra Maria” likely brothel owner and mother of several musicians by different fathers and … his marginal living came from playing in cheap bars in the outskirts of town…one day while playing in the village of Punta Arena he was discovered by Carlos Gardel and Jose Razzano…Roberto Firpo, later asked him to join his orchestra…like Juan Maglio “Pacho”, he was one of the first to play the bandoneon “a capella”…he formed his first orchestra in 1926.


As a bandoneon player he was different from the others; like Juan Maglio “Pacho”, he was one of the first to play bandoneon “a capella”…his was a gentle, nuanced, unhurried style all the while  playing in an unright  posture. Several of his compositions like  “Amurado” (1927) for example, continue being highly popular with dancers and performers…Anibal Troilo would write a tango in his honor, “A Pedro Maffia…he starred in the mythical film “Tango” directed by Luis Moglia Barth and released in 1933


1919, 27 August – birth of ISMAEL SPITALNIK

Composer, Leader, Bandoneonist (Virgo) – he was born in Buenos Aires of Jewish immigrant parents…as  a child he already showed great ability in music … as a teenager he created a duo with a young Armando Cupo and they toured the surrounding communities playing in modest bars. His lucky break came in 1939 when he was invited by Angel D’Agostino to join his orchestra.


He was an extremely simple, self-effacing man. A curious, intellectual mind inspired him to continue serious studies and he eventually became an expert in arrangement and instrumentation… in midst of all this he managed to finish  his studys in industrial chemistry.  In 1956 he joined the Osvaldo Pugliese orchestra with whom he shared an impassioned  allegiance to communism and in fact he toured the Soviet Union with that orchestra. His compositions are considered part of the early modern tango movement.


  • CLICK HERE to hear his orchetra play “De Vuelta al Bulin”, written by Jose Martinez and lyrics by Pascual Contursi with the voice of Angel Calderon

1905, August 24 – birth of RICARDO MALERBA

Leader, Composer, Bandoneonist (Virgo) – while still a young boy he forms an orchestra with his brothers; Alfredo on piano, Carlos on violin….they played in the local cinemas earning one peso a day…in 1927 a break came when they were invited by Catulo Castillo to join his orchestra on a tour of Europe where the brothers ended up staying for quite a few years….             


In Portugal his brother Carlos suddenly gets ill and dies…his brother Alfredo returns to Buenos Aires where he eventually marries the singer Libertad Lamarque. As a star on Radio Belgrano, he stayed for over 20 years. Among 43 recordings he had two great hits “Gitana Rusa” and “Remembranza”. As a composer two of his creations “Embrujamento” (bewitching) and “La Piba de los Jasmines” (the girl from the jasmin grove) remain popular in milongas and performances today.


  • CLICK HERE – to hear his orchestra play one of his own compositions “Embrujamento” (bewitching) with lyrics by Manuel Ferradás Campos