Archive for the ‘ Abasto ’ Category

1940, February 15 – ROBERTO RUFFINO RECORDS “ALMA MIA”

The lovelorn boy in “Alma Mia” says, “dear heart who are you dreaming of…I have come to disrupt your peace…but oh, don’t blame me, for you see I am a bard…whose only wish is to weave into your sweet dream, a porteno lyric inebriated with love” …this was a major hit for singer Roberto Ruffino; he was 18 years old and earning sums of money he had never dreamt of…in the late 50s, with the tango fashion now waining, he would begin a second simultaneous career as a pop singer under the alias “Bobby Terré” on Radio El Mundo and when he sang before its live audiences he would wear a mask and be billed as the “Masked Bobby Terre”…he was born January 6, 1922 in the mythical neighborhood of El Abasto, Buenos Aires…he began singing in the Cafe O’Rondeman, the same one that launched Carlos Gardel.

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His major break came in 1938 when Carlos Garay, the agent for Carlos Di Sarli, happened to hear Ruffino singing and liked what he heard; he recommended him to Di Sarli..his first recording with Di Sarli, “Corazon” with lyrics by Hector Marcò which he recorded on December 11, 1939 was a hit…he would record 46 tangos with Di Sarli…In 1944 he launched a solo career debuting on Radio Belgrano where he was backed by his own orchestra directed by the respected Atilo Bruni…he had brief stints with the  Francini-Pontier, Miguel Calo and Anibal Troilo orchestras…he was also an accomplished composer and lyricist of popular tangos like Sonemos which was recorded by Hugo Duval with the Rodolfo Biagi orchestra and “El Bazar de Los Jugetes” which was recorded by Alberto Podestà with the Miguel Calò orchestra.

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1885, February 14 – BIRTH OF “EL CACHFAZ”

Dancer (Aquarius) – his last words were“Carmencita, I will be waiting for you to drink half a glass of whiskey after the match”, he walked out and a few seconds later he dropped dead from a massive heart attack….starting as a dirt poor boy, El Cachafaz, was to become, in the eyes of many, the greatest tango dancer of his time…he attained fame and glory and earned and spent huge sums on a bohemian life…and yet he died penniless, his friends had to take up a collection to pay the 800 pesos for a simple funeral….reflecting on that day at the city of Mar de Plata at the club “El Rancho Grande”, his partner Carmencita Calderon, who would live to 100, would say, “he was actually pocked-marked and ugly but he was the greatest tango dancer and many women fell in love with him”…El Cachfaz had even  survived the mythical duel with El Pardo Santillan, another great dancer, which El Cachfaz had won and which just barely missed turning into a bloody knife fight as was the custom in those times for men to protect their honor

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Ovidio Jose Banquet “El Cachafaz” was born in Barracas al Sur but grew up in the legendary Abasto neighborhood in Buenos Aires…apparently he was quite mischievous as a boy and one day he took undue liberties with a girl and when the girl’s father complained, his father is said to have shouted, “mi hijo es un cachafaz” (“my son is a rascal”); the name would remain with him for the rest of his life…he began dancing as a young boy on the sidewalks to the organists who played for spare change…at the age of 19 he won an important dance contest at the El Parisien Club which had been organized by the prominent Baron de Marchis…it is de Marchi who would introduce him to the high society ladies who would help his career and pay him huge sums for private lessons…in 1919 he went to Paris to perform at the famous “Club Garron” with the Manuel Pizzaro orchestra but he missed his life in Buenos Aires especially the Cafe Corrientes to where he assiduously went everyday at six in the afternoon to drink with a tight group of friends including Carlos Gardel…he danced with the legendary Sofia Bozan in “Carnavales De Antano” in 1940…his life inspired composer Miguel Bucino to write “Bailarin Compadrito” in 1929…he danced with Carmencita Calderon in the renown film “Tango” in 1933

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1970, October 14 – RUFFINO RECORDS, “AMOR DE PAYASO”

The clown as a tragic hero  goes back to Aristophanes in ancient Greece…in modern times the clown has been used by many writers most notably Shakespeare but perhaps the best know clown is “Canio”  from Ruggero Leoncavallo’s “Pagliacci” who laughs on the outside but crys on the inside when he sings the immortal “Vesti La Giubba”….this was precisely the theme of “Amore De Payaso” whose lyrics and music were composed by Antonio Sureda…The lyrics speak of a clown who laughs as he performs but when he returns to his dressing room he crys desperately for the woman who left him…the next day he is found dead near a letter and the picture of his beloved…Antonio Sureda who died young (age 47) under mysterious circumstances, was a prolific composer of beloved tangos like “Valsecita De Antes” with lyrics by Homero Manzi which was a major hit for Juan D’arienzo and “Botellero” recorded by Libertad Lamarque in 1926…Enrique Santos Discepolo resorted to the clown metaphor in his classic “Soy Un Arlequin” which was a hit for Alberto Gomez in 1929

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This was another successful record for singer Roberto Ruffino…with his major hit “Alma Mia” at the age of 18 he had begun earning sums of money he had never dreamed of…born in the mythical neighborhood of El Abasto, Buenos Aires, he began singing in the Cafe O’Rondeman, the same one that launched Carlos Gardel…his major break came in 1938 when Carlos Garay, the agent for Carlos Di Sarli, happened to hear Ruffino singing and recommended him to Di Sarli..his first recording with Di Sarli, “Corazon” with lyrics by Hector Marcò was a major success…In 1944 he launched a solo career debuting on Radio Belgrano where he was backed by his own orchestra directed by the respected Atilo Bruni…he had brief stints with the  FranciniPontier, Miguel Calo and Anibal Troilo orchestras…he was also an accomplished composer and lyricist of popular tangos like Sonemos which was recorded by Hugo Duval with the Rodolfo Biagi orchestra and “El Bazar de Los Jugetes” which was recorded by Alberto Podestà with the Miguel Calò orchestra.

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1943, September 7 – RUFFINO RECORDS “TRISTEZA MARINA”

“Brother sea, I am a lonely prisoner in your immensity” recounts a sailor in the lyrics to “Tristeza Marina”…he remembers Margot’s last words, her ultimatum, “you have to choose between the sea or my love”…he says no, she turns and leaves him…he continues, “my sorrow is a tempest, a ferocious wind of pain; I shall never forget her”…these words were penned by the prolific and inimitable lyricist Horacio Sanguinetti who, in his work, often referred to the sea….Horacio was a very private and complex person and, although his name appears on some of the most beloved tangos in history, very little is know about his life other than having died mysteriously at the age of 43 in Montevideo, Uruguay…not even a photograph of his has survived

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This was another major hit for singer Roberto Ruffino who the previous year had sealed his fame with “Decime Que Paso”…with his major hit “Alma Mia” at the age of 18 he had begun earning sums of money he had never dreamed of…born in the mythical neighborhood of El Abasto, Buenos Aires, he began singing in the Cafe O’Rondeman, the same one that launched Carlos Gardel…his major break came in 1938 when Carlos Garay, the agent for Carlos Di Sarli, happened to hear Ruffino singing and recommended him to Di Sarli..his first recording with Di Sarli, “Corazon” with lyrics by Hector Marcò was a major success…In 1944 he launched a solo career debuting on Radio Belgrano where he was backed by his own orchestra directed by the respected Atilo Bruni…he had brief stints with the  FranciniPontier, Miguel Calo and Anibal Troilo orchestras…he was also an accomplished composer and lyricist of popular tangos like Sonemos which was recorded by Hugo Duval with the Rodolfo Biagi orchestra and “El Bazar de Los Jugetes” which was recorded by Alberto Podestà with the Miguel Calò orchestra.

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1954, July 23 – TITA RECORDS “SE DICE DE MI”

“I am ugly, I have a big nose, a body like a box, I move like a dinosaur and yet I have broken many men’s hearts”…this tongue in cheek message of “Se Dice De Mi” interestingly described the real life of Tita Merello with whom it would forever be associated due to her acclaimed rendition in the film “El Mercado Del Abasto”…the film, directed by Lucas Demare, the younger brother of the legendary Lucio Demare premiered in 1955….Tita’s rendition of “Se Dice De Mi” would make it one of the best known and perennial milongas in history…..her performance was in turn  inserted in Carlos Saura’s academy award nominated “Tango”which premiered in 1998…Tita was to say about her childhood, “…it was short, sad and ugly…I knew hunger and shame”…she would admit, without shame, to having had to resort to prostitution to survive….she was self-taught as a singer but her passion and her overwhelming drive would one day make her a legend; she would star in over forty films in her career

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“Se Dice De Mi”, composed by Francisco Canaro with the lyrics of Ivo Pelay, was first recorded by Canaro on May 19, 1943 with the voice of Carlos Roldan…Carlos Roldan, who was from Montevideo, was to have his own successes especially during his tenure with Francisco Canaro; two of his best known recording were “El Sentimiento Gaucho” and “Yo Solo Se”…he was catapulted to fame singing duet with Mercedes Simone on Radio Belgrano where he was backed up by the Pedro Maffia orchestra…he was nineteen years old when he entered a singing contest on the Westinghouse Radio Station and although he did not win he got noticed and went on to a grand career…but the trappings of success afforded him a late night, bohemian life which finally deteriorated his health; he died prematurely at age sixty…”Se Dice De Mi” would emerge to prominence again fifty years later when it was selected as the theme song for the Colombian soap opera “Betty La Fea” which was immensely popular all over the world…this version, sung by Yolanda Rayo, would be arranged in a salsa beat

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1914, July 11 – BIRTH OF ANIBAL TROILO

Leader, Bandoneonist, Composer (Cancer)…He sacrificed his life to his art and there were many regrets…one of those was never having had any children…his beloved wife Ida was eternally devoted to him although he belonged more to the nights and the glasses of whiskey…Horacio Ferrer called him, ” a man of true class and elegance”…but above all he was a gifted musician even though no one in his family was musical…his father was a butcher who died when Anibal was only eight years old; he was brought up with much sacrifice by his mother Felisa whom he never forgot…toward the end of his career, his body wracked by abuse, in an interview he said, “you know I never left my neighborhood, not really…I never really left my mother and I am always returning to her”...it was she who, with much sacrifice, bought him his first bandoneon; 140 pesos in 14 installments, he was ten years old…the poet Julian Centeya would one day call him “the best bandoneon player in Buenos Aires”…his first public performance was at the age of eleven in the Abasto Market at the Petit Colon Cinema…

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At the age of 14 he formed a quintet; at 16 he was part of the renown sextet of violinist Elvino Vardaro with Osvaldo Pugliese at the piano…later he would play with some of the greats, Juan Maglio “Pacho”, Juan D’arenzo and Angel D’agostino…toward the end of his life, he would recall 1937 with nostalgia; that was the year that he put together his own orchestra and the year that, in a night club, he met a shy hat girl, Ida Calachi whom he would marry and who would become his beloved partner for the rest of his life...the following year he made his first recording “Come Il Faut” by Eduardo Arolas …but Troilo, a master of pauses, was also an accomplished composer of some immortal hits like  ”Toda Mi Vida”, “Barrio de Tango”, “Garua”, “Sur”, “Romance del Barrio”,“La Ultima Curda”, “Mari…at the age of 18 he appeared in his first film “Los Tres Berretines”…others included the celebrated “Radio Bar” which premiered  in 1936 when he was part of the Elvino Vardaro orchestra…in the movie “El Tango Vuelve A Paris” which premiered in 1948  he has an acting roll…he died of cerebral hemorrhage and cardiac arrest at the Hospital Italiano with Ida at his side

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1905, June 18 – BIRTH OF ELVINO VARDARO

Violinist, Leader (Gemini) – he was twenty fours years old when he formed “The Vardaro Pugliese Orchestra”; it was a dream come true…with great fanfare and promise and including a wide-eyed Anibal Troilo the group debuted at the Cafe Nacional to an ecstatic reception…but the dream was to turn into a nightmare when embarking a long tour of Argentina, the lack of proper organization and management not only resulted in the curtailing of the tour and the dismemberment of the group, but Elvino had to pawn his “Sartoris Bow” to be able to buy train fare back home….like Elvino, the protagonist in Bellini’s “La Sonnambula” after whom his father named him who sings “all is lost, nothing can be done, my heart is dead to joy and love”, he went through a period of great despair…but Elvino would not only survive but go on to have a diverse and exciting career as few tango musicians would ever have…tango historians often refer to “the Vardaro school” to describe musicians and events

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Elvino Vardaro grew up in the Abasto neighborhood of  Buenos Aires…his first brush with tragedy came at the age of three years old he lost part of his right thumb in a playing accident…at the age of four he began studying violin into which he abandoned his soul…his teacher, the celebrated Doro Gorgatti greatly admired Elvino but he felt that his talent was being wasted on tango…at age fourteen he made his concert debut at theater “La Argentina”…the publicity poster advertised, “child prodigy…admittance price only two pesos”…one evening, while playing at a silent cinema theater, Juan Paglio “Macho” himself came to the cinema to ask the boy Elvino to join his orchestra…Elvino late joined the legendary Paquita Bernardo, the first female bandoneonist; it is there that he met Osvaldo Pugliese…in his career he would play with Lucio Demare, Astor Piazzolla and Carlos Disarli…later with the Pedro Maffia orchestra he wrote his first tango “Grito del Anima”…among his most remember compositions are “Tineblas” recorded by Pedro Maffia with the voice of the fascinating Tito Schippa and “Imaginacion” recorded by Libertad Lamarque and “Te Llama Mi Violin” recorded by Osvaldo Fresedo.

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