Archive for the ‘ Neighborhood ’ Category

1955, March 19 – SATCHMO RECORD, “KISS OF FIRE” (EL CHOCLO)

Lester Allen and Robert Hill were basking in the fame and glory of their new hit “Kiss of Fire”, when someone finally noticed that it was oddly similar to the immortal tango “El Choclo”…in fact after intense proceedings they finally conceded that it was in fact “El Choclo” and thereafter, on all sheet music, the name of “Angel Villoldo” the orignal composer, preceded theirs…Kiss of fire was a major hit for Georgia Gibbs in 1952 reaching all the way to number 2 on the Billboard Charts…another popular version was the one by Louis Armstrong “Satchmo” which was recorded on March 19, 1955…other celebrated versions were by Nat King Cole, Connie Francis and in Finland, by the “King of Finnish Tango”, Olavi Virta…seeking to capitalize on the immense popularity of  ”Kiss of Fire” a film, directed by Joseph M. Newman and starring Jack Palance, was released in 1955…part of the background music is a flamenco like version of “Kiss of Fire”…

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Angel Villoldo, the original composer of “Kiss of Fire” (El Choclo) was a fascinating man, a sort of Ernest Hemingway and Bob Dylan all in one…he was born on February 16, 1861 into a destitute family in the neighborhood of Barracas, Buenos Aires…he quit school early to work and did many jobs including teamster, herdsman and circus clown before devoting himself to music…..he would become a prolific composer and lyricist of some of the most beloved tangos in history…”El Choclo” became instantly popular all over the world and the story is told that German officers wishing to honor a visiting Argentinean dignitary mistakenly played “El Choclo” believing it to be the national anthem…when it first premiered in the exclusive “El Americano” restaurant in Buenos Aires, the leader of the orchestra had to disguise it by calling it “Danza Criolla” as tango was considered music of the pimps and prostitutes

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CLICK HERE– http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XCXxJFmfGVc&playnext=1&list=
PL2E1CB4660C675B65 Louis Armstrong “Sarchmo” sing “Kiss of Fire (El Ch0clo)

1889 March 18 – BIRTH OF HECTOR BLOMBERG

Poet, Writer, Journalist (Pisces) – he flung open the door, rushed in and started grabbing  a few clothes,“where are you going son” his mother asked worriedly,“to Norway” he responded…that afternoon while walking the waterfront, deep in thought, he had suddenly stopped in front of a massive ship and had been seized by an inexplicable urge, “the ship leaves at 12 noon” the sailor on guard had told him…Hector Blomberg was gone for two years during which he visited far away lands and exotic ports of call; he returned with a suitcase full of poems…at the age of seventeen he had received his first recognition, a gold medal for his poem “Ode To Spain”…in time he would become one of Argentina’s great men of letters leaving behind an extensive collection of poetry books, historical novels, plays, newspaper articles, children’s books and several immortal tangos…being fluent in German and English he even found time to translate noted writers in those languages

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He was born in the neighborhood of Montserrat in Buenos Aires; his mother, originally from Paraguay, was herself a writer and a translator…his father was an engineer and a descendant of a long line of Norwegian sailors from whom he fell heir to his passion for the sea and for travel…sometime in the late 1920s he was introduced to singer Ignacio Corsini with whom a lifelong friendship would flourish…in collaboration with guitarist Enrique Maciel they would author a waltz “La Pulpera de Santa Lucia” which was a great hit and would launch a renowned career for Corsini; the three would collaborate on a number of other successful tango like “El Adios de Gabino Ezeiza” and “La Que Morio en Paris”…”La Pulpera de Santa Lucia” was originally on of Hector’s historical novels which continues in circulation to our very day as a collector’s item at prices many times its original cost…the kind of person Hector was, revealed itself in 1920 in a poetry contest; when it came to his attention that he would be awarded first prize, he argued with the jury that the second place designee’s entry was better than his  and really deserving of first place and in fact the order of the awards was changed

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1907, March 16 – BIRTH OF ISABEL DEL VALLE

She was in a trance, her eyes swelled with tears, the pain of her humiliation as she returned home was almost undearable…she had gone personally to see the brothel owner La Ritana whom persistent rumors said she was Carlos Gardel’s lover…to her dismay, not only did La Ritana admit that, yes, she was his lover but that she had given as a gift to Carlitos a precious pekinese puppy; that was the very puppy that Carlos had in turn given to her…Isabella for her whole life never tired of repeating  that she was Carlos Gardel’s only real love…she claimed she was not jealous,“Jealousy, me,  never, a woman who loves a man like Carlos Gardel can never harbor undignified sentiments like jealousy” and yet not only did she go to see La Ritana but also another woman rumored to have been Gardel’s lover Mona Maris about whom she said “I got fed up with her declarations, she was only an adventure for him, the slut threw herself shameslessly on him”…Isabel del Valle was born in the neighborhood of Costitucion, Buenos Aires to a her father was a railroad manager….

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The fateful day occurred on the corner of  Sarmientos and Pellegrini Street where through her brother’s friend she met Carlos for the first time; she was fourteen years old, he was thirty four…the next day, Carlos showed up at the house with the ingredients to have Isabella’s mother prepare Valencian style rice….a long and at times tumultuous relationship ensued which to one Gardel scholar was merely a love of formal appearance with no real passion behind it….nevertheless over the years not only Isabella but the whole family became dependent on Carlos’s generosity…there was even some evidence that her brothers had blackmailed Gardel into giving them a large some of money by threatening to accuse him of child molestation as Isabella had been only fourteen years old when he began his relationship with her…Isabell had once said proudly, “yes I was fourteen but my body was already that of a real woman”…it is known that Gardel had relationships with many women but without ever apparently developing a deep love with any of them; there were even rumors that he was gay…he once said, “I never fall in love…all women are worthwhile of loving, but to have a blind adherence to one is to offend the others”

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CLICK HERE – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wLunpp_HDzM to hear Carlos Gardel sing “Amore de Estudiante”

1906, March 14 – BIRTH OF RODOLFO BIAGI

Leader, Composer, Pianist (Pisces) – sitting still in class for little Rudy was not easy; his soul was restless…his forays into the realm of day dreaming more often than not, brought him reprimand “Rudy, pay attention”…but lurking inside was a genius who would one day change the world of tango…in his brief three years with the Juan D’arienzo orchestra, his innovative beat on piano would help usher in “danceable tango”  and reinvigorate tango in the forties by appealing to young people…Rodolfo Biagi was born in the neighborhood of San Telmo, Buenos Aires to struggling Italian immigrants…he caused a family crisis when at the end of grammar school, young Rodolfo insisted on leaving school; his parent reluctantly agreed but they enrolled him in the conservatory of the newspaper “La Prensa” to study piano…being strong willed and independent, at the age of thirteen, without his parents’ consent he began playing in a silent film cinema

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One evening the legendary Juan Maglio (Pacho) happened to be in the cinema and was stunned by the precocious teenager at piano; he eventually accepted him into his orchestra, he was only fifteen…a major break occurred when in 1930 Jose Razzano interceded him backstage to ask him to accompany Carlos Gardel on a series of recordings…on April 1, 1930 he found himself next to the legendary Carlos Gardel in the recording studio…soon after he worked with a number of orchestras and along the way composed his first tango “Indeferencia” with lyrics by Juan Carlos Thorry…Rodolfo was a frequent customer of the Cabaret Chantecler where the Juan D’arienzo played nightly…his pianist Lidio Fasoli was notoriously late and one evening D’arienzo could endure no more and on the spot asked Rodolfo to take over at piano: with D’arienzo he would record 71 tangos…in 1938 Biagi left to start his own orchestra which debuted on September 16, 1938 at the Cabaret Marabu…in its long run his orchestra would record some immortal hits like the waltz “Lagrimas Y Sonrisas” and the tango “Quiero Verte Una Vez Mas” with singer Jorge Ortiz

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CLICK HERE – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_lo8iQ2QHWc to hear one of Rodolfo Biagi’s greatest hits “Lagrimas Y Sonrisas”

1920, March 13 – BIRTH OF HECTOR MAURE

Singer, Composer (Pisces) – he was only thirty-five years old and his career in full bloom when two tragedies occurred; the first, the fall of the government of Juan Peron on September 19, 1954…tango was populist and the Peron regime was a populist one and consequently Hector Maure, like most tango artists, found himself blacklisted from radio stations; interestingly it had been Juan Peron himself who had nationalized most of the radio stations…the second event was that tango was beginning to pass out of fashion…to hasten this, the new regime, comprised of members of the upper middle class whose innate classicist instincts saw tango as undesirable, enforced curfew laws only in tango clubs thus helping to usher in the new rock and roll culture…still the Forastieri brothers fought hard to keep the tango candle flame from being snuffed out and they valiantly kept their tango club “El Rincon de Los Artistas” going…here Hector would perform for ten years until May 9, 1976; three days later he would die unexpectedly from a massive heart attack

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Hector Maure was born in the neighborhood of Palermo, Buenos Aires to a struggling Italian immigrant father and a mother from Lugo, Galicia Spain…he had to quit school early to help support the family…as a boy he loved to sing but his big dream was to become a boxing champion…in a key fight which could launch his career and which he was expected to win, he was severely injured and he was told that he could no longer fight; it is at this point that he decided to devote himself to singing…at the age of eighteen he reluctantly entered the renown Puloil Soap singing contest on Radio Belgrano and to his surprize, out of hundreds of candidates, he was selected the winner by the public at large…his career took off from there; he eventually would become the vocalist for the Juan D’arienzo Orchestra; one of the most successful of the day…he would later embark on a busy solo career…his most successful  composition was “Oro Y Diamantes” which was recorded by the Juan D’arienzo Orchestra

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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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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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