Archive for the ‘ Violinist ’ Category

1885, March 8 – BIRTH OF JUAN DE DIOS FILIBERTO

Composer, Leader, Violinist, Guitarist, Harmonica (Pisces) – as a youth he was tormented, difficult, rebellious even a bully and finally he was practically thrown out of school and began working in a series of  menial jobs along the way becoming a fiery anarchist and strike organizer…one fateful evening while working at the famed Colon Theater as a mechanic’s assistant, he happened to see a performance of Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony and he was stunned; it changed his life…although unrefined, course and practically illiterate,  with tremendous determination, he enrolled at the Pettizini – Sttianessi Conservatory to study music for the first time and gradually the musical genius that was prowling inside his soul began to emerge…later he earned a scholarship to the to study with Maestro Alberto Williams at the prestigious National Conservatory…his tango “Caminito”, composed in 1926, along with “La Cumparsita”, “Il Choclo” and “A Media Luz” would become one of the most universally beloved and recorded musical themes in history…

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He was born in the mythical neighborhood of La Boca, Buenos Aires to a mother who was a descendent of  native americans and a father who was Genoese…many years later he would nostalgically recall his first taste of tango as a six years old toddler at his uncles cafe “La Estrellita”…battling symptoms of tuberculosis, his friend and physician Jose Ingenieros, himself an impassioned political activist and philosopher, advised him to move to the city of Guaymallen; his stay here inspired his first tango, the first of his tangos with distinctly indigenous chords…in 1932 he formed his first orchestra which debuted at the mythical Cafe Tortoni…he dared to include unusual instruments like clarinets and flutes and nativist themes but the critizism that naturally followed was difficult for him to bear…however, it was the beginning of a long and productive  career…among his numerous compositions are great hits like “Quejas De Bandoneon”, “Malevaje”, “El Panuelito”; Carlos Gardel would record sixteen of his tangos…toward the end of his life, reflecting on his career he would say, “my music is many things but above all it is feeling…of course feeling is not enough for you have to know how to express it”

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1916 January 14 – BIRTH OF ENRIQUE FRANCINI

Composer, Leader, Violinist (Capricorn) – it was the evening of August 27, 1978 and Enrique Francini, on the stage of the legendary Cano 14, was basking in glory; the reward of a life time of hard work and his unflinching devotion to his violin…he was playing “Nostalgias, one of his favorite tango when suddenly he dropped his violin, grabbed his chest and fell over, he was dead at the age of 62…the little boy from the town of  Zarate had come a long way from the humble surroundings where very early on he knew he wanted to become a violinist…his father, with considerable sacrifice, enrolled in the mythical Juan Ehlert School of Music where he was to meet another young student, Armando Pontier; their careers and their lives would be intertwined for the next 40 years…Enrique was immensely dedicated to the violin and his hard work earned him an invitation from the maestro, along with Pontier, to travel to Buenos Aires to play on Radio Prieto ….

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The audience response was ecstatic and the two wide-eyed boys then found themselves playing at the famous Juan Manuel’s Matinee.…in 1939 both Francini and Pontier joined a recently formed Miguel Calò orchestra where for six years they matured as musicians and as friends….six years later they would both break away from Calò to form their own orchestra…they debuted on September 1, 1945 at the opening of “Tango Bar”…two young and aspiring singers, who would themselves one day be greats, would join the group, Alberto Podestà and Raul Beron…Radio El Mundo soon hired them…Through whose broadcasts, they developed a legion of young fans who packed places like “El Piccadily” and the “Ebro Bar” and later the renown “Tibidabo Cabaeret”….Enrique and Armando would later make two tours of Japan together…Perhaps Enrique’s best known compositions are the milonga Azabache and two beloved waltzes “Bajo un Cielo de Estrellas“ and “Pedacito de Cielo”

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1912 January 12 – BIRTH OF FLORINDO SASSONE

Composer, Leader, Violinist (Capricorn) – temperamental and immensely proud, he was not a particularly nice person…in fact he refused to acknowledge that singer Jorge Casal finally gave him the success he had dreamed of and Jorge left his orchestra with many bad memories…a lot of his success has to be credited to his wife Maria, herself a singer and musician, who attenuated his bad disposition and at crucial moments would take over the negotiations with band members…however his large, melodic, grand sweep sound makes his orchestra one of the most instantly recognizable; his orchestras arguably recorded the best purely instrumental tangos…indeed this was exactly what so fascinated his delirious Japanese fans; starting in 1966, he had two successful tours there and was in demand for more…his was one of the first orchestras to appear on television and in the 1960s he even had his own television show

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He was born in the neighborhood of Liniers in Buenos Aires to a demanding father who had emigrated from Piemonte, Italy…as a young child Florindo demonstrated keen interest in music and his father procured violin lessons for him; he was to graduate as a certified violin teacher…he began playing in the neighborhood cafes and was finally hired by Antonio Polito for his Radio Belgrano orchestra…his big break came when he was invited by Roberto Firpo to join his renown orchestra but it was his stint with Osvaldo Fresedo that gave him his musical signature….in 1935 he put together his first orchestra which debuted January 1, 1936 on Radio Belgrano which opened doors to performances at the famous Cafe Nacional and the Marabu Cabaret… however the competition was immense and for all the buzz he remained a second tier orchestra; in 1940 he quit altogether to devote himself to business ventures…six years later he returned and it is when he hired Jorge Casal as a singer that his fortunes began to turn…He was not a prolific composer but some of his best work includes the milonga “Baldosa Floja“ and the tangos “El Ultimo Escalon” and “Rivera Sud”.

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1951, January 10 – PREMIERE, “CON LA MUSICA EN EL ALMA”

Francisco Canaro had the midas touch, he made money in everything he touched with one exception, film making…he was to say, “sound movies left me completely silent” “Con La Musica en El Alma” was his last film and it was in theory successful but not for Canaro, he had to sue his production partners to recoup his 400, 000 peso investment…not that he needed the money; he was undoubtably the richest man in tango history…a common saying to refer to some one of means was, “he is rich like Canaro”….after this attempt, he sold what was left of his Rio Plata Production Company…the film was based on the musical by the same name, written by Homero Manzi, which had been produced two years earlier…it was staged at the Teatro Casino and was headlined by legendary child actor Andres Poggio  ”Toscanito”,  and singer Alberto Arenas;

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It was also the early start of actor Alberto Dalbes who would have a long and fruitful career in Argentinean films…Francisco Canaro, as well as providing the music, also had a small role…the play had a highly successful six month run and was then moved to the Teatro Artigas in Montevideo, Canaro’s home town…the success of the play inspired Canaro to convert it into a film which premiered at the Normandie Theater…Toscanito and Alberto Arenas reappear in the film with the addition of beloved comedic dancer Tito Luisardo who appeared in over 40 films to the delight of his legion of fans…the film was directed by Spanish film director Luis Bayon Herrera who found success in Argentina and remained there for the rest of his life…several notable tangos were featured like “Mataderos”; “Boliche de barrio”; “Sentimiento Gaucho” and Canaro’s intriguing Tango Fantasia in F…when Canaro died of a strange and rare bone growth disorder his immense fortune was apportioned between his French wife and his daughters born of his affair with a young, seductive chorus  girl he had met through one of his musicals

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1916, December 24 – BIRTH OF HECTOR STAMPONI

Composer, Pianist (Capricorn) – he was the composer of one of the most unique, beloved and most often recorded tangos in history, “El Ultimo Cafe”…it won first prize in a tango contest in 1964 when it was sung by Raul Lavie…his three waltzes (the first two in collaboration with Enrique Francini ”Bajo Un Cielo de Estrellas”, “Pedacito De Cielo” and “Flor De Lino”, perhaps the most beloved in the genre, are continuously played in milongas  from the smallest towns to great metropolises all over the world… the same holds true for his milonga “Azabache” which was a great hit for Raul Beron in 1942…one critic called him “an unparalleled figured in the history of tango, a brilliant arranger, an exquisite pianist, an inspired composer”...indeed there are few of the greats of tango that did not come in contact with his 60 plus years long career, beginning with his first composition“Inquietud” which he composed when he was in his late teens and was recorded by the Osvaldo Fresedo Orchestra on July 12, 1939…more than 50 other memorable compositions were to follow

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Hector Stamponi was born in the town of Campana just outside of Buenos Aires to Italian immigrant parents…from very early on he demonstrated unique musical ability and his parents, with much sacrifice, procured lessons for him with renown maestro Juan Ehlert who quickly recognized his talent and asked him to join his personal musical ensemble…the group earned an appearance at the famous Juan Manuel’s Matinee…he then formed a trio with two would be legends of tango, Enrique Francini and Armando Pontier, to accompany artists on Radio Argentina; he later  joined the Scorticati Orchestra to play on Radio Stentor…Hector then briefly joined the Miguel Calo orchestra…in the early 40s he accompanied the singer Amanda Ledesma in Mexico where she was immensely popular…it is there that  he composed music for films and composed two tango with Ernesto Cortazar, “Somos Dos” and “Cruz”…he began a period as a piano soloist,accompanist and arranger; his services were in great demand by all the greats of the time most notably the legendary Charlo in his celebrated appearances on Radio Splendido…in 1963 he composed the music for the film “Carlos Gardel Historia di un Idolo”..in Spain  he teamed up with poet and lyricist Horacio Ferrer in appearances which won rave reviews from critics and the public.

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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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1914, December 7 – BIRTH OF ALBERTO CASTILLO

Singer (Sagittarius) – in the morning when he would arrive at his medical studio, he would find swarms of young ladies waiting to see him, gynecologist Dr. Alberto De Luca, who by night was the idolized singer Alberto Castillo…in fact the never-ending line of women so interfered with his ability to practise medicine that he reluctantly, finally, decided to devote himself exclusively to singing…Alberto Castillo was born in the neighborhood of Floresta, Buenos Aires, the fifth child of immigrants from Teggiano, Italy…very early on he demonstrated great musical ability; he took violin lesson and had the habit of singing no matter where he was or what he was doing…when he was 15 years old he was singing with a group of friends on a street corner when the guitarist Armando Neira happened by and was immediately struck by the voice of the young boy; he invited him to sing with his group….

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And thus began his career at the age of 15 using the alias Alberto Dual to protect him from his severe father who wanted him to seek a career in medicine…his big break came in 1934 he was recruited by the legendary orchestra of  Julio De Caro; he began singing on Radio Paris…the story is told that one day when his father was listening to the radio he heard Alberto singing and not realizing it was his son said “this boy sings well, he sounds like my Albertito”...at the age of 24 he decided to quit singing and devote himself exclusively to his medical studies but tango was under his skin and so he accepted an invitation to sing with the Ricardo Tanturi orchestra “Los Indios”; with Tanturi, on January 8, 1941, he recorded “Recuerdo” which was his first big hit…one year later he graduated as a gynecologist from medical school and created a consulting room in his parents’ house……in one famous performance at the Teatro Alvear in 1944, the crowds waiting to get in were such that the police had to reroute traffic…he became famous also for singing  candombe…he was very successful in films as well; he debuted in “Adios Pampa Mia” in 1946…in 1993 at the age of 79 he had his last hit success “Siga El Baile”, a candombe

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  • CLICK HERE – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MOJ_PFJ6XtY to hear Alberto sing his hit“Que Nadie Sepa Mi Sufrir” (that no one knows how I am suffering) composed by Angel Cabral whom Edith Piaf re-recorded as “La Foule” in 1957…it became a hit for her as well

1869, November 29 – BIRTH OF JACOB “THUNE” GADE

Composer, Violinist (Sagittarius) – his “Tango Jalousie” is the most recorded and best know tango in history and was immensely popular even in Argentina where people would have been quite surprised to find out that it had been composed by some one from Denmark…Gade recalled the day, as he was having his morning coffee, he opened the newspaper and was greeted with the sensational story of a man who had killed his wife out of jealousy…on his morning walk he was haunted by the story and when he returned home he sat down to compose and finished in  just two hours…it has been used in over 100 films and countless television productions…it is estimated that every minute of the day someone somewhere in the world is playing “Tango Jalousie”; only the Beatles’“Yesterday” could for a time match its popularity

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Joseph “Thune” Gade was born into a family of musicians; his family including his grandfather and father would play at festivals in the surrounding villages…early on he started studying the trumpet was so talented that at the age of nine he did a solo performance  in Copenhagen; at the age of 12 Joseph began studying violin….At the age of 16, Joseph decided to move to the capital Copenhagen to seek his fortune; those were difficult years when he would sometimes sleep in entrance halls of buildings relying on the kindness of elderly ladies to give him some coffee and bread in the morning…by day he would compose country music and polkas; by night he would play in the local cafes…at the age of 18 he got his first break when he was invited to play at an operetta in Fredricksburg…in 1900, for the first time a “toast” song of his was published titled “Der Er Sollys i Modne Druer” (The sunshine on the ripe grapes)…it was popularized when it was recorded by Elna From, a theater actress ten years older than he, who was his first love; they never married but they had three children together…he left his vast fortune to help struggling young musicians preferably those homeless and destitute.

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  • CLICK HERE – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CS4mERnUgA8 to hear the Peter Kreude version…Kreude was a child prodigy born in Aachen Germany in 1901…in Switzerland he met Eva Peron and fell in love with her…he followed her to Buenos Aires and remained there until her death whereup he returned to Germany and continued his great career as a film soundtrack composer

1888, November 26 – BIRTH OF FRANCISCO CANARO

Composer, Leader, Violinist (Sagittarius) – born into extreme poverty in the city of San Jose de Mayo, Uruguay he would grow to become the richest man in tango history so much so that a popular saying arose “he has more money than Canaro”…he left school very early, he had no choice, he had to work; his parents, immigrants from Rovigo, Italy had eight children…he was mesmerized by the violin; his first violin he constructed himself from an old oil can with which he would play on the streets to earn money…years later he would recall with tenderness, the patch quilt cloth case his mother had made for his “violin”; at the age of 18 he finally bought himself a real violin…his first gig was in a seedy bar in the outskirts of Buenos Aires where gun fire to resolve arguments was not uncommon…in 1908 he composed his first tango “Pinta Brava”,  many more were to follow including great hits however many other tangos attributed to him, he actually bought from destitute composers…

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No one is sure how many recordings he made but the estimates range from 3500 to 7000…in 1924 he pioneered the idea of having a singer in the orchestra but only to sing the “estribillo” the bridge or the main section of each tango…by 1915 his orchestra was immensely popular; so popular that he created three orchestras with his name which performed simultaneously around Buenos Aires…his one area of failure was the film industry; his film company Rio de la Plata had only one film that made money, “Idolos De La Radio”…….some time in late 1920s he began his affair with the legendary Ada Falcon who was very much in love with him…when he realizes how much money he would lose in a divorce, he reneged on his promise to marry Ada…at one point his wife actually threatened Ada by pointing a gun to her head…it has been speculated that Ada’s sudden  retirement from show business at the height of her career to enter a convent was related to her broken heart and this incident

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  • CLICK HERE – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LYJJQqoE3Dw to hear the Francisco Canaro Orchestra play “Yo No Se Que Me Han Hechos Tus Ojos” (I don’t understand what your eyes have done to me) with  music and lyrics by Francisco Canaro

1910, November 11 – BIRTH OF RAUL KAPLAN

Composer, Leader, Violinist (Scorpio) – his older two siblings died of scarlet fever; he was the only one to survive…he was born Israel Kaplun in the neighborhood of Balvanera, Buenos Aires to an itinerant jewish hat salesman who had immigrated from Besarabia, (Moldavia) with his wife…some black neighbors who would help look after Israel, began calling him “Raul” which is what his name sounded like to them when “Israel” was prononced in yiddish…Raul immersed himself in violin lessons at at the jewish grammar school that he attended…when he was about to finish grammer school he noticed a job ad for a violinist…when he arrived at the audition there were 20 people vying for the position, all of them older; he was hired….he was inserted into an ensemble which played at silent movie theaters

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Later while playing with a jazz group at the Astral Movie Theater, he crossed paths with Miguel Calo who upon hearing the boy play promptly asked him to join his group; thus was Raul born into the tango world… his broadcasting debut was with Radio Prieto in 1928 although later he would get blackballed in radio for his refusal to join the Peronist Party…one historian has suggested that it was for Kaplun’s virtuosity, that solo violin passages were first written into tango and that it is precisely this element that led to the boom of the 40s……his first composition was the waltz “Recordando a Musè” published in 1935…later with the orchestra of Lucio Demare he composed his first hits  ”Una Emocion”and “Que Solo Estoy” which was a major hit for Raul Beron……in June of 1946 he put together his own orchestra  which at the Cabaret Montecarlo auditioned and hired a young 16-year-old named Roberto Goyeneche whom he would allow to sleep on the sofa and whom he accompanied to the tram stop as he had promised his mother he would do

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