Archive for the ‘ Balvanera ’ Category

1887, February 25 – BIRTH OF JOSE RAZZANO

Singer, Composer, Guitarist (Pisces) – at the end of negotiations with the renown Club ArmenonvilleCarlos Gardel boyishly leaned forward to hear the results from his partner Jose Razzano, “Well, what do we have he asked” rubbing his hands together,“Seventy pesos” answered Jose, “Per month?”asked Gardel happily, “No, per night” added Jose,“Well” said Gardel incredulously “for that sum, I’ll even wash the dishes”…besides being an extraordinary musician Jose Razzano was a keen business man and crack negotiator…the singing duo of Gardel – Razzano would be immensely successful locally and abroad; they toured  Uruguay, Brasil, Chile and Spain in whose capital Madrid, sang to packed audiences…they met at a singing contest at which an aspiring Gardel generously complimented Jose on his singing voice; it was that night that the idea of combining their talents first emerged…they debuted together at the celebrated Teatro Nacional in 1914 to great acclaim; their performance schedule became immensely busy


Jose Razzano was born in Montevideo to a poor immigrant italian family…when he was two years old, his father’s died suddenly and his desperate mother moved the family to the neighborhood of Balvanera in Buenos Aires… from a very early age Jose demonstrated keen musical ability and with much sacrifice his mother enrolled him in guitar lessons…at age eight he was already performing for neighborhood audiences…in 1925 tragedy struck when he developed a problem with his throat and he had to give up singing…he then began to devote himself exclusively to managing Carlos Gardel’s career which often meant paying off Gardel’s considerable race horse gambling obligations…later would come a bitter separation from Gardel which gave rise to many malicious rumors nevertheless the legendary singer Charlo hired Jose as his manager…Joe would accompany Charlo on a toursof latin america and the United States


1913, February 4 – BIRTH OF SABINA OLMOS

Singer (Aquarius) – another day was dawning, another sleepless night…she looked round the sparse, unkempt  room…on the night stand was the picture of her beloved Charlo…her thin, wrinkled hand was trembling as she slipped her wedding ring into her finger; the same  ring that her dear friend Eva Peron had given her so long ago…she opened the balcony door, walked to the edge, carefully climbed over the railing and jumped to her death…..many years had passed for Sabina Olmos since that young, happy girl full of dreams was working in the department store Casa San Juan and where in between attending customers she loved to sing…a customer had spoken about her to renown singer Amanda Ledesma who recommended her to radio station Radio Buenos Aires…the response from the public was enthusiastic; it was the beginning of a dazzling career…


She was born in the Jewish neighborhood of Once (Balvanera), in Buenos Aires the birth place of  the great Juan D’arienzo…begining with a small part in“Canillita” at the age of 23, she would do 30 films in her career …perhaps her best film would be “Asi Es La Vida” which made her famous in all of Latin America and for which she won “Best Supporting Dramatic Actress” from the city of Buenos Aires…In the film “Carnaval de Antano” she sang with the legendary Charlo who would become the love of her life; they married in 1952…she never stopped loving him even after they divorced 17 years later and even after she accused him of having ruined her; she never had any children…she was a friend of Eva Peron and after the overthrow of Juan Peron she was blackballed….she and Charlo earned rave reviews singing in long tours abroad…she lived two years in Spain taking time to tour the US and Latin America always in grandest of opulence…but for the last 20 years of her life she endured one vicissitude after another; she was practically alone and forgotten living on the edge of poverty from a small pension…that fateful morning, the note she left on the table read, “please forgive me for my decision and please pardon me for the occasional bother  that I have been”.


CLICK HERE – to see Sabina Olmos sing “Muchachita Del Campo” composed by Francisco Lomuto with  lyrics by film director Manuel Romero

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”….


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”


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


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


1904, November 5 – BIRTH OF SOFIA BOZAN

With disarming frankness she would say – “Yes, I know that I sing off key…sometimes the music goes one way and I another but, what can I tell you that I sing it the way I feel it, from my heart”...inspite of it, or perhaps because of it, Sofia Bozan would come to typify the soul of Buenos Aires in a way which only Carlos Gardel could equal (she apparently had a different opinion for in an interview in August of 1929, she stated that while Carlos Gardel was admirable, it was really Azucena Maizani who was the true soul of tango)…she was its conscience and in the years in which tango had disappeared, old timers would pine nostalgically for the golden years of tango and invariably invoke the name of Sofia Bozan in their poems and literature…Carlos Hechin in his tango “Negra Bozan” would write, “beloved Sofia, soul of tango Argentino without equal, your noble soul is the expression of my city”..Sofia Bozan in “Cachada” (mockery) and “Lunfardo” (the peoples’ argot), would speak and dance as she sang to her legions of adoring fans and they would answer back perhaps shouting back some  affirmation or a challenge…they might interrupt her to request an encore to which, playfully reprimanding them, would comply with great delight…she became an early icon for women’s independance courageously saying things that were taboo for a woman of those times


Sofia Bozan (Scorpio) was born in Balvanera neighborhood of Buenos Aires and by the age of 12 she was a professional dress maker…through the help of her famous cousiin Olinda Bozan she became a chorus girl in the Vittone Pomar Theater Company…she soon progressed to the renown Muini Alippi Theater Company where she discovered her talent and developed her act; she was only 14 years old at the time…she debuted as a singer with the tango “Canillita” through which she is credited with having created the sarcastic, funny tango genre which would be the hallmark of Tita Merello…she premiered the tango “Un Tropezon” with the Francisco Pracanico Orchestra; it would later be recorded by many musicians…she was, as well, an accomplished tango and milonga dancer; in fact in the film “Carnavales De Antano” she danced with the legendary El Cachafaz to the delight of both critics and fans…she would star in over 30 films including the celebrated “Luces De Buenos Aires” with Carlos Gardel and “El Patio De La Morocha”…at the age of 46 after a long and intensive career, she married Federico Hess and retired to finally devote herself to a family…however soon after, she was diagnosed with cancer which she battled valiantly but to which tragically she finally succumbed at the age of 53…she was once asked the indelicate question of her opinion of men and she responded, “if I was the kind of woman who would answer such a question, I would say ‘I am crazy about them’”


1907, October 28 – BIRTH OF MIGUEL CALO

Growing up in a poor family of 16 children, intense and sensitive Miguel, the eldest, was nevertheless a determined child; he learned soon enough to fight and to overcome…this along with rare musical gifts would one day make him a legend but his hard early years would also help make him a compassionate and generous person and when he finally passed away at the age of 65 from a massive heart attack, he was eulogized by his grateful musicians and his adoring wife and children…his parent were immigrants from Puglia, in South Italy…Puglia was originally part of the ancient Greek Empire and in fact the name “Calò” comes from the Greek word “kalos” which means “beautiful”…Miguel attended only elementary school dropping out to work as a delivery boy to help the family finances…however, what Miguel and his six brothers (10 of the children were girls) had inherited from their father and grandfather back in Puglia was musical talent…Miguel (Scorpio) bought his first musical instrument, an old violin, with his meager savings; later an uncle gave him a bandoneon to which he devoted himself with passion…in his neighborhood of Balvanera, in Buenos Aires, a local musician encouraged the shy Miguel to play in public…


Miguel invited a pianist friend to join him in an audition at the Independence Cinema in their neighborhood…the owner of the cinema was delighted at the enthusiastic applause of the public and gave Miguel an 18 month contract at 250 pesos a month which for the times was a huge sum of money…Miguel promptly gave the money to his father to help the famly…at the age of 20 Miguel Calò was hired by the Francisco Pracanico Orchestra whose singer was a young Azucena Maizani…the year after that he joined the Osvaldo Fresedo Orchestra with which he toured the United States…still in his early 20s he formed his first orchestra; it was the beginning of a glorious career of uninterrupted accomplishments…his first recording “Milonga Portena” was a tango of his own composition…other personal compositions were “Jamas Retorneras” and “Que Te Importa Que Te Llore” which were both great hits for his most representative singer Raul Beron...many great musicians and singers would pass through his ranks including Osmar Maderna, Osvaldo Pugliese, Enrique Francini, Roberto Ruffino, Carlos Roldan, Jorge Ortiz and Raul Iriarte…his was fond of saying to his musicians as he selflessly encouraged them to strike out on their own, “everything in life is a cycle….when one ends, another begins”



The lyrics to “Sera Una Noche” are different from so many others that are fatalistic…”Sera Una Noche” speaks instead of hope, “I know that one day happiness will return to my life…I know that there will come the day that you return to me”..the lyrics were written by  Manuel Ferradas Campos…for the composer of the music Jose Tinelli, son of Italian immigrants from the region of Puglia, it was love at first sight when he first saw the lovely singer Chola Bosch…they would get married and have a marvelous career together until his untimely death at the age of 49 from a heart attack…Tinelli’s composition “Por Una Vuelta” was made into a great hit by the Jose Basso Orchestra 17 years after it was composed when it was sung by Floreal Ruiz…it was during his tenure with the Jose Basso orchestra that Oscar Ferrari recorded “Sera Una Noche” on July 26, 1951…Oscar Ferrari was born in the neighborhood of Balvanera in Buenos Aires on August 9, 1924…he was the only child of a renown dancers couple who performed  in variety shows…


Oscar  practically grew up in theaters as he accompanied his parents with their traveling company…he began singing in some of those theater productions at the age of four…Oscar was six years old the family moved to Montevideo to work for a theater company when tragedy struck; his father died unexpectedly at the age of 28…at the age of 14 Oscar had his first professional job when he was hired by the Antonio Felice Orchestra…it was the beginning of a long and glorious career which included performances with the orchestras of Alfredo Gobbi, Astor Piazzolla and Armando Pontier for whom he formed a duo with the ill-fated Julio Sosa…with the Edgardo Donato Orchestra he sang on Radio El Mundo and recorded his first disc “Galleguita”…the greatest hit of his career however, was “Venganza”; of its first printing alone, it sold over 4 million copies…during the latter part of his life, he devoted himself to teaching voice and wrote the book “Cabaret Stories” and a book of poetry…he was included in the film “Cafe De Los Maestros”, directed by Miguel Kohan which premiered in 2008 two months before Oscar passed away at the age of 84