Archive for the ‘ Barrio Sur ’ Category

1881, June 16 – BIRTH OF MODESTO OCAMPO

Composer, Guitarist, Violinist (Gemini) – his paternal gandparents Agustin Ocampo and Angela Vilaza came to Argentina in leg irons; they were slaves from the Congo…although Modesto Ocampo was brought up in extreme poverty in Montevideo’s tough “Barrio Sur”, where two other tango pioneers of African descent Lagrima Rios and Carlos Olmedo also grew up, he was also given the gift of a loving family which would manifest itself in kindness and generosity as an adult…this, along with his musical ability, would earn him the respect of his community and in his mature years the honorary, “Don Vito”….out on the streets the young Modesto learned to defend himself and he was renown for his courage…in a famous incident, Modesto was the bandoneon player with a trio auditioning at the Cafe Boedo in Montevideo whose owner reportedly said “I like you guys very much except for black guy; he is too black for this place“, where upon the leader of the trio responded, “he is a good musician and has a big heart and so if he leaves we all leave”

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As a child his teachers began to notice two talents, music and drawing…in fact he would pursue studies in violin, guitar and painting…in 1903 he moved to Buenos Aires to work as an apprentice in the laboratory of Bixio Photo Shop; in time he would become the manager…at the age of twenty-four he married his childhood sweetheart Paula Perez and it was in between the birth of his two daughters that he composed his two tangos  “Queca” and “Te Amo Con Delirio”…”Queca” was recorded first by Vicente Greco and later by Francisco Canaro…he played for many years with the Famiglietti Orchestra with whom he became celebrated for his impassioned virtuosity with the Bandoneon; later he opened his own photo shop…in his later years he would lock himself away in his attic to paint; in 1946, in Buenos Aires, he organized the only exhibition of his work…true to his nature, he gave away his paintings to admirers and friends….at the age of seventy-nine, with his beloved wife and daughters at his side, he passed away in the same house that his grandfather Agustin Ocampo, African slave, had lived in

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1924, September 26 – BIRTH OF LAGRIMA RIOS

Singer (Libra) – of mixed african descent, she was born to very humble surroundings  in Durazno, Uruguay…as a child she and her mother moved to “Barrio Sur”, Montevideo the legendary black neighborhood home also to two other pioneers of tango Modesto Ocampo and Carlos Olmedo…Lagrima would recall, as a child, having met Carlos Gardel in his celebrated visit there…for her entire life, through worldwide travels, she remained faithfully tethered to her candombe neighborhood…

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She started singing at the age of 18 performing folk songs and tangos…in 1945 her first break came when she was invited to join the famous Alberto Mastra Trio…a series of kudos and awards  followed, culminating in important contracts for radio and night clubs…in 1960 she formed an a capella negro spiritual group “Brindis de Sala” which had great success for 10 years…critically acclaimed television appearances and european tours followed where she was especially active in anti racism campaigns…among her various personal tragedies, was an estrangement for many years from a beloved son, born out-of-wedlock, who had emigrated to Sweden

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