Archive for the ‘ Barracas ’ 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)

1861, February 16 – BIRTH OF ANGEL VILLOLDO

Singer, Lyricist, Guitarist, Pianist, Violinist, Harmonica (Aquarius) – he was a fascinating man, a sort of Ernest Hemingway and Bob Dylan all in one…he was a prolific composer and lyricist having written some of the most beloved tangos in history….his immortal tango “El Choclo” was so ubiquitous that during World War I, German officers wishing to honor a visiting Argentinean dignitary mistakenly played El Choclo believing it to be the national anthem…year later Carlos Disarli would record one of its most successful versions in history…it continues to our very day to be one of the most instantly recognized pieces of music in history and yet when it premiered at the exclusive “El Americano” restaurant in Buenos Aires, the leader of the orchestra had to disguise it by calling it “Danza Criolla” as the owner did not like tango music…Angel Villoldo was born into a destitute family in the neighborhood of Barracas…he quit school early to work and did many types of jobs including teamster, herdsman, topographer, writer and circus clown….

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But he heard music always in his mind and when he was guiding his team of horses through the mud or hostile elements he was composing in his head….he began acquiring fame performing his composition while accompanying himself with guitar and harmonica in the local cafes and bars; in 1889  he published “Cantos Criollos” a book of lyrics meant to be sung with guitar accompaniment….interestingly, he invented the apparatus which allows the playing of the harmonica while strumming the guitar which many years later would become the symbol of a young, tormented Bob Dylan…he wrote a sort of popular comics which were full of wit and sarcasm using the argot from the lowest rung of society…he devised a method of learning to play guitar using symbols called “Metodo America” which he published in 1917…his first tango hit “El Portenito”, was sung by Dorita Miramar in 1903 on the stage of the Parisien Varitè Show featured at the legenday Moulin Rouge…his “Cantar Eterno” was an early hit for the RazzanoGardel duo in 1917…for Gath and Chaves, he traveled to France to use state of the art recording equipment to record tangos and helped popularize tango in France; he wrote the lyrics for “La Morocha” which was the first beloved tango in Europe…and finally, he left as he came, poor, when he was run over by a tram at the age of 58

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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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1907, July 22 – BIRTH OF TEOFILO IBANEZ

Singer, Composer (Cancer) – by the age of nine he was already a trained butcher and as a teenager he had his own stand at the market; he considered himself fortunate…for although in theory, these were still boom years in Argentina, the income disparity between the haves and the have-nots was indeed large and upward mobility difficult…contented Teofilo loved to sing as he worked and he developed quite a clientele with the ladys to whom he sang as he made their favorite cuts and wrapped their purchases in the traditional butchers’ white wrap; “here you go madam” he might say and the lady might well answer, “Teofilo, sing me again a piece of that tango”….one day a friend who worked in the Max Glucksmann record house heard that Roberto Firpo was looking for a singer and he suggested to Teofilo that he might try; Teofilo was unsure but Miguel prevailed and Teofilo auditioned…to his amazement, out of innumerable applicants Firpo selected him…a few days later, he made his debut at the Teatro Casino singing “Alma De Bohemio” and “Ya No Cantas Chingolo”…just a few weeks later he made his first recording session he recorded “Lechuza” and “Despedida” which were modest hits

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Teofilo Ibanez was born in the city of Pamplona, Spain to a poor family…this was a period when Spain was still largely agricultural, poor and illiterate; the memory of the disastrous war with the United States in which she lost the few remaining colonies was still fresh in the Spanish psyche…Teofilo’s family arrived in Buenos Aires and settled in the Barracas neighborhood; he was only four months old…Teofilo stayed with Firpo approximately 2 years during which he recorded 140 tangos…among the highlights of an extensive career are his recording in 1934 of Eduardo Arolas’  “Derecho Viejo” with the Adolfo Cabarbelli orchestra…during his eight month tenure with the Rodolfo Biagi Orchestra, he recorded eight well-remembered pieces including “Golgota” and “Alma De Bohemio”…in the mid 30s with the Julio De Caro orchestra he recorded the hit “Sueno De Juventud”….he would also record with the Edgardo Donato and the Osvaldo Fresedo Orchestras…he was the composer of one of the most endurable hits in tango history “La Vieja Serenata”

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1929, June 12 – JUAN MAGLIO RECORDS “ARMENONVILLE”

Oddly he personally never played there and yet his tango “Armenonville” immortalized the restaurant which inspired it…when the sheet music was published it was an instant boom; six consecutive editions of 1000 copies were immediately printed….Armenonville the restaurant became  a popular and chic place to eat and dance tango…some of its illustrious entertainers included Francisco Canaro, Roberto Firpo and the up and coming duo of Carlos Gardel and Jose Razzano…”Armenonville” the tango has remained popular, Juan D’arienzo recorded it as late as 1970…Carlos Lanzavechia and Manuel Loureiro were two young, struggling waiters with a dream; an elegant restaurant with live music and dancing….Juan Maglio Pacho was their friend and encouraged them…twenty years later they finally opened the doors to “Armenonville”

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“Armenonville” was the third tango composed by “Pacho”; it is estimated that in his career he composed over 900…he sold so many records that his name was synonymous with buying a record; it was customary for people to enter a record shop and simply say, “give me a pacho”…Pacho was one of eight children born to Pantaleon, a struggling immigrant from Italy who settled in the neighborhood of Palermo in Buenos Aires…Pantaleon was an accomplished bandoneon player who was Pacho’s first demanding teacher…at the age of eighteen he debuted with a trio at the Cafe Vasco in the neighborhood of Barracas…later he would play at the famous Cafe Paloma where he would recall how the sound of the bandoneon would make the rats scurry…on July 11, 1934, weakened and in dire pain, he was helped into the studios of Radio Belgrano for his last performance…thee days later, at the age of fifty-four he succumbed to lung cancer, the victim of six black tobacco cigarettes which he smoked per day

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1943, May 17 – MIGUEL CALO HIRES RAUL IRIARTE

Singer – Rafael Fiorentino was a struggling singer but he was beginning to create a name for himself; he had sung briefly with the Edgardo Donato Orchestra and circulated among the radio stations including the two most popular, Radio Belgrano and Radio El Mundo…one evening at the historic Cafe Tortoni, he made friends with the lyricist and composer Oscar Rubens who would play a fateful role in his career…Oscar had been working with Miguel Calo when one evening the maestro confided to him that his singer Alberto Podestà would be leaving him to join the Pedro Laurenz orchestra whereupon Oscar lit up and said “Maestro I think I have the solution for you”…he took him to see the promising Rafael Fiorentino; Calo was impressed and on the spot offered Rafael a job with his orchestra…in a town with hundreds of aspiring singers, this was a major break for Rafael…it is with Miguel Calo that he acquired the stage name “Raul Iriarte”….

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With Miguel Calo Raul’s destiny would be realized…Calo’s orchestra had within its ranks three young musicians who would themselves become legends of tango; Osmar Maderna “the Chopin of Tango” who would die young in a plane crash, , violinist Enrique Francini and bandoneonist Armando Pontier who after a long career would commit suicide…Iriarte’s  first recording with Calò was “Es En Vano Llorar” which was very popular…in the mean time Raul Beron returned from his brief tenure with the Lucio Demare and the two “Rauls” would sing side by side…Raul Iriarte was born in the neighborhood of Barracas, Buenos Aires…as a young boy he began to demonstrate precocious musical ability and his father, a son of Italian immigrants, encouraged his talent…after five years Raul Iriarte left Calo but on his way out he recorded “Oyeme” which turned out to be another hit…he recorded many beloved tangos but among his most popular were “Nada”, “Tabaco”, and “Trenzas”…at the peak of his popularity he became, after Carlos Gardel, the most requested tango singer in Latin America and was particularly popular in Mexico

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1941, May 6 – TANTURI RECORDS “UNA NOCHE DE GARUFA”

The lyrics to Esta Noche de Garufa speak about a man who says, “tonight on a night of revelry, I want to have fun, to party with my friends for life is short and you never know”; this was Eduardo Arola’s first tango at the age of seventeen years old and an eery predictor of things to come for Arolas would die at the age of 32 in a Paris hospital from complications of alcoholism…Eduardo Arolas was in the eyes of many, the greatest composer of all time; among his 100 compositions are a number of great hits like “El Marne”, “La Cachila”, “Derecho Viejo”…Osvaldo Fresedo, in one of the last recording of his long and illustrious career, recorded Arolas’ masterpiece “El Marne” in 1980…from an early age Eduardo Arolas demonstrated precocious musical ability and he was self-taught in a number of musical instruments…in fact when he wrote “Una Noche de Garufa” he did not know how to write music and Francisco Canaro had to transcribe it for him…

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The success of this tango inspired Arolas to open a bar by the name of “Una Noche de Garufa”…Ricardo Tanturi had a relatively mediocre orchestra but it was with the addition of singer Alberto Castillo in 1939 that he began to have success…interestingly this was the pairing of two board certified physicians; Castillo was a gynecologist and Tanturi, a dentist…Tanturi, the son of poor Italian immigrants, was born in the neighborhood of Barracas, Buenos Aires…at the age of nineteen he began playing piano on Radio Belgrano…Una Noche de Garufa was recorded by many orchestras including that of Carlos Di Sarli…the piece inspired a film by the same name, directed by Jose Ferreyra in 1915; it was his first film and portrayed s single day….Jose Ferreyra, of mixed African descent, was one of the pioneers of Argentine films directing over forty film including the celebrated “Ayudame a Vivir” (Help Me To Live) with Libertad Lamarque

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