Archive for the ‘ Almagro ’ Category

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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1891, February 13 – BIRTH OF IGNACIO CORSINI

Singer, Composer, Poet (Aquarius) – Soccorro Salamone was desperate, for not only was she poor but the blemish of being an unwed mother meant that her young son Ignacio did not have much of a future; his father, a certain “Corsini” had disappeared as soon as he found out that she was pregnant…….these were tough time in the ancient greek town of Troina, Sicily whose historical relics date back to the 7th Millenium BC…40 years later, Troina would be the seat of a famous World War II battle between Nazi and Allied forces commanded by General George S. Patton…..one day, mustering tremendous courage, young Soccorro with little Ignacio in tow, mounted a horse carriage and descended Troina to begin the long journey to Naples where she boarded a ship to Buenos Aires…she settled in the neighborhood of Almagro and began working long hours as a washer woman…when Ignacio was ten years old they moved to the country where the boy began working as a herdsman and ox driver…many years later, reflecting on those long solitary hours in the countryside, Ignacio Corsini, now a famous and successful singer would say, “birds taught me the spontaneity of their singing, in the great scenery of nature…to sing like them, naturally with no effort”…

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Around the age of 17 he met a circus clown Jose Pacheco who introduced him to the theater and by the age of 21 he had already achieved a certain amount of fame and prestige…from Pacheco he obtained one other thing, his daughter Victoria whom he would marry in 1911…in his autobiography he would write that it was, above all, her encouragement during difficult times that was responsible for his success; he would remain loyal to her for his whole life…On May 12, 1922, in the one-act play “El Bailarin del Cabaret”, he premiered “Patotero Sentimental” which was his first major hit…his only composition to become successful was “Tristeza Criolla” which in the 40s was a major hit for singer Angel Vargas…Above all, it was his renditions of the creations of the team of Enrique Maciel as composer and Hector Blomberg as  lyricist which would make his name legendary…the loss of his wife from a debilitating disease left him sad and embittered; she was his whole life…dedicating his performance to her, he sang for the last time on May 28, 1949 on the show “Argentinidad” on Radio Belgrano

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1926, November 6 – Debut Of Tango “VIEJO CIEGO”

Composed by Sebastian Piana with lyrics by Catulo Castillo, “Viejo Ciego”  was debuted by singer Roberto Fugazot at the Nuevo Teatro, in Buenos Aires while performing in a play called ”Patadas y Serenatas En El Barrio de Las Latas”…Fugazot, born in the Reus Del Norte neighborhood of Montevideo, Uruguay, was already an excellent guitarist, singer and actor as a teenager….in his long career he would be successful as a scriptwriter and composer as well…barely in his 20s, he formed a very successful duo with singer Agustin Irusta whom he met by chance in a restaurant…later the two would form a trio with Lucio Demare, known as “Trio Argentino” which, in traditional gaucho garb, would have great success at the legendary Maipu Cabaret, in Madrid Spain…later in his life he gave up singing to devote himself to acting to the delight of his numerous fans.

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Sebastian Piana, born in the Almagro neighborhood of Buenos Aires, was in the eyes of discriminating cognoscenti, the composer of the most beautiful tangos in history…he was the son of an immigrant from Piemonte Italy who was a barber by day and musician by night….along with Adolfo Pugliese, father of future legend Osvaldo Pugliese, he would play in impromptu tango groups in the cafes around Buenos Aires to which he would take the young and impressionable Sebastian …at the age of 14 Sebastian was playing piano at silent movie houses…he composed his first tango “Sabor Popular” at the age of 17…his first major break occurred in 1922 when Carlos Gardel recorded his tango “Sobre El Pucho”…many more were to follow…he was a childhood friend of the legendary lyricist  Homero Manzi with who he would later create some of the most beautiful tangos in history

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1902, October 15 – BIRTH OF CARLOS BAHR

The disappearance of the crew Mary Celeste “Ghost Ship”, in 1872 is often cited as the greatest maritime mystery of all time…it’s captain and crew, mysteriously disappeared from a ship that was shipshape, loaded with food and supplies and with the personal belongings of its passengers still on board…it has been the foder of mariner folklore and literature over time….a similar fate awaited the father of Carlos Bahr, an experienced sailor and the owner of a whaling ship…Herr Bahr was a stern, highly principled and proud German of jewish origin from Hamburg…at the start of World War I, he reassured his French wife Colette and their three children in their La Boca neighborhood home and dutifully set sail on his ship to offer his services to the fatherland…on the way however, like Captain Benjamin Briggs of the Mary Celeste, he and his ship mysteriously disappeared and were never heard from again….the Bahr family was devastated…young Carlos Bahr had to quit school and he began to roam the streets doing odd jobs to survive and often sleeping in what ever cover he might find…in time he discovered a voracious appetite for reading…

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Carlos Bahr (Libra) became self-taught in a wide variety of subjects becoming fluent in French, German, Italian…he would become the most prolific tango lyricist in history registering over 600 works in his name…his reading on the Spanish Civil War inflamed his imagination and he tried to volunteer but was rejected because of a lung problems…his first tango was “Cartas Viejas” written sometime in 1934….his first successful tango was “Fracaso” which Mercedes Simone recorded two years later…soon after that he won first prize with the milonga “Milonga Compadre” composed by Jose Mastro and recorded by Pedro Laurenz…it was while working at Radio Portena that his inspiration was first inflamed by a young, lovely singer Fina Ferro, a student of Luis Rubenstein…in 1942, inspite of a large difference in age, they married and moved to the neighborhood of Almagro…Carlos Bahr would pen the words to some of the most beloved tangos in history including “Manana Irè Temprano”, perhaps his best work, which would be hits for Raul Iriarte, Julio Sosa and Osvaldo Fresedo…others include “Cada Dia Te Estrano Mas” and “Corazon No Le Hagas Caso”

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1922, July 5 – BIRTH OF OSCAR LARROCA

Singer, Composer (Cancer) – One day his father, himself a musician, tried to warn young Oscar of the sacrifices that had to be made in pursuing a career in music but Oscar looked intently at his father and with youthful self assuredness said, “I know father but I want to become a singer“….in 1976 at the age of 54, basking in the rewards of a life of sacrifices; a beloved singer throughout Latin America he suddenly passed away…one of his last words was remembering the love and encouragement of his father…his father, an Italian immigrant was a guitarist and a gaucho style singer was Oscar’s first guitar teacher; he later enrolled Oscar in the conservatory from which he graduated as a certified guitar teacher at the age of sixteen…Oscar Larocca was born in the neighborhood of Almagro, Buenos Aires and years later his recording of a tango in honor of his neighborhood would be one of his major hits; in fact it would become part of his repertoire for the rest of his life…

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Still barely a teenager, Oscar began singing  in the neighborhood bars and cafe accompanying himself on the guitar to the delight…an early break came when he was invited to sing on the highly popular “La Famosa Matinee de Juan Manuel” on Radio Mitre…in 1945 the journalist Carmelo Santiago heard him sing and recommended him to the orchestra leader Domingo Federico; it is for Federico that he made his first recording, “Pasaje de Mi Vida”…along with the great pianist Osvaldo Manzi he formed an orchestra in which he and the legendary Roberto Ray were the vocalists; they were immensely successful on Radio Blegrano…In the 40s the renown Carlos Dante left the Alfredo De Angelis Orchestra and violinist Victor Brana recommended Oscar to De Angelis who summoned him for an audition; out of hundreds of candidates he was hired…on April 1, 1951 they debuted on the celebrated Glostora Tango Club; his first recording for De Angelis was “Flores De Fango”….as a composer, he best piece was the waltz “Enganandonos” which was recorded by several Latin American singers

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1943, June 8 – FIRST RECORDED “PAISAJE”

“Paisaje”, one of the most beautiful and beloved tango waltzes in history, speaks of a golden framed picture of a lost love which has been removed from the wall and has been replaced by one of an autumn country setting…it uses autumn mist imagery to describe the pain of loss and hypothesize that his lost love is going through same regret…these masterful lyrics were written by the legendary Homero Manzi who, in the eyes of some respected critics,was the best tango lyricist of all time …his early dream was to become a lawyer but he left law school to devote himself to writing and journalism…at the age of fourteen he wrote his first tango, the waltz “Por Que No Me Besas”;  by the age of twenty he was already famous and respected…he would write the lyrics to many tangos including Lucio Demare’s great hit “Malena” , “Fuimos” which was a hit for Adriana Varela, “Milonga De 900” recorded by Carlos Gardel and perhaps his greatest hit of all “Sur” with music by Anibal Troilo, made into a hit by Roberto Goyeneche…tragically Manzi would die at the age of forty-four from cancer

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“Paisaje” was composed by Sebastian Piana with whom Manzi would collaborate to create several hits including “Milonga Sentimental” and “Viejo Ciego”…Piana’s father a second generation barber, left Piemonte, Italy and arrived in Buenos Aires when he was eight years old…besides cutting hair he was accomplished at playing a number of musical instruments and he put together a quartet which played in the neighborhood cafes…Sebastian’s father was a friend of Alfredo Pugliese, Osvaldo’s father and Pedro Maffia who would become Sabastian’s brother-in-law….Sebastian in collaboration with Pedro Mafia would take the country milonga with which Gardel’ started his career and revitalize it into what became the modern milonga…he composed his first tango “Sabor Popular” at age seventeen; three years late he composed “Sobre El Pucho” which won second place in a contest after Juan De Dios Filiberto’s “El Ramito”…in his career he would composed over 500 pieces and would compose film scores including the 1950 classic “Arrabalera” starring Tita Merello

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1930, May 27 – GARDEL RECORDS “KNOCK OUT DE AMOR”

In witty, tongue in cheek lyrics, the courtship between a man and a woman becomes a boxing match…man and woman are in the ring and punches, withdrawals and defenses are  described and finally she let’s down her defense, her mouth is unguarded, whereupon he says “and like a quick punch I hit your mouth with a kiss and baby, by a knock out I won”…the lyrics were written by poet and playwrite Ivan Diez who like the legendary Astor Piazzolla was born in Mar de Plata…he was a writer of popular short novels like “La Honra De Aquella Mujer” (1921) and books of poems like “Granos De Arena” in 1924 and later another book of verses in lunfardo “Sangre De Suburbio”…some of his other tangos include the hit “Almagro” to the music of Vicente San Lorenzo, “Vesubiio” by Enrique Delfino and “Tu Panuelo” by Antonio Polito

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The music to “Knock Out De Amor” was by Vicente San Lorenzo who was born in Naples Italy and emigrated to Argentina as a young boy…from early on he demonstrated precocious musical ability; his father was his first piano teacher…he began playing as a young boy for spare change in the bars and cafes of his neighborhood Almagro; later he was popular at the celebrated Club San Lorenzo…his first tango was “Te Di Chaqui”; later his “Almagro”  was a big hit which, one day, Carlos Gardel heard on the radio and immediately decided to record it…Carlos Gardel’s repertoire was inspired by the everyday life of his fellow portenos and fellow musicians…his “Mi Noche Triste” by Pascual Contursi, was his first tango and turned him from a regional folk singer into an international tango star…he personally composed “Por Una Cabeza” which is one of the most popular tangos in the world; it was featured in the film “Scent of a Woman” and “Shindler’s List”

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