Archive for the ‘ Flores ’ Category

1904, December 18 – BIRTH OF MANUEL BUZON

Singer, Composer, Leader, Pianist (Sagittarius) – in 1924 at the age of 20 a young and struggling Manuel Buzon, a singer and piano player with big dreams, happened to notice from his house, the towers of a radio station which was being constructed…mustering up his courage he went to the station without an appointment and insisted on speaking to the manager; his bravado got him hired…that was the beginning of a storybook ascension culminating just five years later in a performance at the biggest royal palace in Europe, The Royal Palace of Madrid before the King of Spain, His Majesty Alfonso XIII…Manuel Buzon was born in the neighborhood of Flores in Buenos Aires to poor Spanish immigrants…early on he demonstrated an unusual talent in music and started winning fans in the choir of his local church…At the age of eleven, along with a girl classmate, he debuted in a singing duet at the Excelsior Theater to his first standing ovation…

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At the LOY Radio Station he became a regular  and quickly gained a following with his singing and piano playing; he also began composing… his first major break came in October of 1925 when the legendary Rosita Quiroga decided to record one of his compositions “Calle Corazon”; he also organized and led the orchestra for the event…the year after, the respected magazine “Reflejos” featured an article on the young Manuel praising him as a composer calling him “up and coming”….in 1927 Manuel had his first big hit with his tango “Cancionero” which was premiered by Azucena Maizani; the next year another success with his tango “Melodia” which was premiered by singer Alberto Vila…he had a highly acclaimed debut in May of 1928, at the Villa Crespo Cinema where he not only conducted his own orchestra from the piano but sang as well…it is later that year that he embarks on the mythical tour of  Spain beginning in Barcelona and ending in Madrid before the king of Spain where he triumphed with a notable interpretation of the classic  ”El Enterriano”…in 1942 he premiered his hit milonga “Mano Brava” on Radio El Mundo…some of his most beloved tangos include “Ojos Negros”, “Tarde Gris” and “Bigotito”

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1910, October 30 – BIRTH OF JUAN CARLOS LA MADRID

Juan Carlos De La Madrid was Terry Malloy…in one of film history’s most famous scenes from the 1954 Academy Award winner “On The Waterfront”, Terry (Marlon Brando) says, “I could have had class, I could have been a contender, I could have been somebody”….in similar disarmingly frank, self-deprecating  language La Madrid would say about himself, “In my life, I have done all of the bad things you can imagine and in the end I am no one”…like Malloy, Juan Carlos was a boxer, a sparing partner for 3 pesos a round and a meal when he was lucky; when he wasn’t boxing he dabbled at dancing and singing tango…ten years later the celebrated Hector Maure would have a similar fate…Maure’s dreams of boxing glory were cruelly ended one evening when a left from no where sent him to the canvass for the 10 count and an injury that ended his career; he became a tango singer… La Madrid was part of Buenos Aires’ underbelly…he was a constant presence in the city’s cheap barrooms, its smoke-filled gambling dens where desperate, unshaved men crouched over roulette tables only to disappear just a few minutes later into oblivion…”Juanito” was liked by its assorted actors, the hoods, its loan sharks, the pimps, its fools and its street poets with whom he generously shared his spare change…he was proud of his ability to hold his whiskey…

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It was very much of a macho world and Juanito, a keen observer, wrote about it, “mine are men’s poems, from a man’s world”…he wrote in lunfardo, “the language of the people of the streets” he would say…his tango lyrics were real…the legendary Astor Piazzolla called him to write the lyrics for his “Fugitiva” which he recorded to great acclaim with the voice of Maria De La Fuente in 1952…Juan Carlos De La Madrid (Scorpio), was born in the neighborhood of Flores in Buenos Aires to a poor family…he had little formal education but he was curious and he loved to read….already as a child, he demonstrated the intensity and passion which would later characterize him as an adult…the roar of the sea was his palliative….to survive he tried many things including having been a journalist, a literature teacher, a book salesman, a radio and television program organizer and even a Shakespearean actor…at the certain point he began to lose his eyes sight and became immensely depressed…contemplating suicide, he recalled one of his favorite lines from Hamlet: “o, that this too solid  flesh would melt, thaw and resolve itslef into dew…how weary stale flat and unprofitable seem to me all the uses of this world”…but his indomitable spirit jolted him to continue on, “I realized that I loved living like an actor who must go on with his assigned role until the curtain comes down”….his two books of poems, “Hombre Sumado” (The Sum of Man) and “Pequena Rosa Lunfarda” are still traded among collectors

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1927, October 6 – CARLOS GARDEL RECORDS “EL COMPADRON”

“God help you” say the lyrics of  “Compadron” to a local tough guy whose conceit and swagger are only foolish and amount to nothing...”you are uncouth and uneducated and all your conceit will not deter you from a lonely and destitute old age”…written by the legendary Enrique Cadicamo, this would be one of his masterpieces that to our very day is played in milongas the world over…Cadicamo, arguably the greatest tango lyicist of all time, based the lyrics on a real life character who frequented the Cafe Paulista in the neighborhood of “Flores”…his first tango “Pompas De Jabon” with music by Roberto Goyeneche was recorded by Carlos Gardel…interestingly, Cadicamo’s great hit “Madam Yvonne” was Gardel’s last tango recorded in Argentina before his tragic death in an airplane crash…Compadron was composed by pianist Luis Visca; this was to be the greatest hit of his career…it was originally premiered by Sofia Bozan at the Teatro Comedia in Rosario, Argentina…

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Carlos Gardel happened to be in the audience and was amazed at the audience response whereupon he decided to record it himself…Cadicamo was such a good friend to Luis Visca that, once on a day preceding a trip to Spain, he asked Cadicamo if he should marry…Cadicamo quoted St. Paul who says of marriage, “the man who marrys must behave well”…on the day of the departure, to Cadicamo’s surprise, Luis showed up, proudly brandishing his passport and saying, “I am coming with you”….Luis Visca, sensitive, fragile afflicted with bouts of depression, locked himself in his cabin for the trip and hardly ate…his career would include playing with a number of orchestras including that of Juan D’arienzo and his appearance in a number of film include being the back up pianist for Alberto Gomez as he sings “Alma” in the classic Moglia Barth film “Tango” which premiered in 1933

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1941, September 5 – MARTIN PODESTA RECORDS “LA VIDA ES UNA MILONGA”

In the colorful paper envelope, the boys could feel their heart racing as the appointed moment neared…suddenly, the enveloped burst open to reveal the trio singing surrounded by adoring, beautiful girls…many years later, a frail 70-year-old Martin Podestà would look back on this part of his life as one of sheer happiness; “perhaps I should have had the courage to continue” he would say…at the age of 33 in the midst of a successful career he gave it all up to become a state employee…life as a tango singer, even for the successful ones, was always fraught with uncertainly…the competition was immense and for every tango singer who reached acclaim there were 100 vying for his post….a successful singer could be living a life of plenty one month and starving the next…Martin Podestà  grew up in the neighborhood of Flores with Hugo Del Carril who would one day become a legend in the tango and musical culture of Argentina….with Del Carril and another neighborhood boy, Martin formed a trio…

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With unbridled enthusiasm the boys spent long hours practising in a small room to the delight of passersby would stop and enjoy the music….the day finally arrived when they tested their work by serenading a young girl in the neighborhood with the waltz “Trovas”; the response was ecstatic and trio became the pride of Flores…”Trio Paris” was born and debuted to great acclaim on Radio Del Pueblo…at age 22 Martin received his first break when he was recruited by the Pedro Maffia Orchestra with which he toured including a performance at then famous “Casino” at Villa Del Mar in Chile; it was, Martin would recall in his waning years, “an experience beyond his dreams”…with Maffia he made one recording, the waltz by Sebastian Piana and Homero Manzi “Sombras Portenas” …it was used as the theme song for a film by the same name which premiered in 1936…the highlight of his career, however, occurred when he was recruited by the Pedro Laurenz Orchestra with which he recorded four tangos in four months including “La Vida Es Una Milonga” which premiered on September 5, 1941

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1935, July 28 – BIRTH OF SILVIA DEL RIO

This was the moment of her greatest dream and she looked up at the immense and impressive studios of Radio Belgrano which for more than 30 years had been the soul of Buenos Aires….and all of a sudden she heard her name called, “and now the senorita, Silvia Del Rios will sing for us”…her hands were trembling as she approached the microphone, there was a breathless moment but when she began singing it all disappeared and she felt herself soaring…Silvia Del Rio did not win that evening but she came in second…it was the beginning of a long and glorious career spanning 40 years…she was awarded with a series of appearances on Radio Belgrano and she recorded her first disc, “Solo Un Minuto” with the Belgrano Orchestra lead by the team of Leopoldo Federico Orchestra and Hector Stamponi

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Silvia del Rio was born in the neighborhood of Flores in Buenos Airs to a French immigrant father who dreamt of being a painter…early on he noticed young Silvia’s penchant for singing and encouraged his beloved daughter…soon after he appearance on Radio Belgrano, Silvia was commissioned for a tour of Spain where she was received enthusiastically…In 1972 she released her first LP in an orchestra conducted by Oscar Toscano and began appearing at the most important venues including Cano 14 and La Casa De Carlos Gardel where she often shared billing with legends like Anibal Troilo and Roberto Goyeneche…she would go on extended tours of Peru and Colombia and the United States…she appeared in two films “Asalto En La Ciudad” and “Villa Carina Que Esta Que Arde”…along the way she fell in love for the first time with celebrated journalist and actor Carlos Alberto Dusso; they would marry and raise a family together of which she was to say, “the applause become muffled, the theater light dim, but they are my eternal accomplishment”

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1878, July 25 – BIRTH OF JOSE BETINOTTI

In the 1950 film “The Last Payador” as Jose Betinoti is dying he says to his friend Pascual Contursi, “us payadores are done, you were right, now the tango singers will take over”…Jose Betinotti passed away at the age of 37 from complications of alcoholism but in his short life he would compose over 100 folk songs many of which he recorded in the early Gramophone Disc first invented by Emile Berliner in 1889…he would disseminate his compositions through simple pamphlets starting with “Mis Primeras Hojas” which came out in 1909 …indeed it was Contursi with his “Mi Noche Triste”, publsihed in 1916, on the music by Samuel Castriota which is generally regarded as the first “tango cancion”, or Tango Song…it ushered in the new tango fashion although some payadores like the Ambrosio Rio would continue for another 15 years…Ambrosio was Betinotti’s best friend and it is said that Betinotti died in his arms…in the film Ambrosio would be played by singer Lito Bayardo who after a long career would kill himself with a gun shot to the head

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Jose Betinotti, the son of poor Italian immigrants who settled in the neighborhood of Flores, had little education; he had to quit school to work….a payador of african descent Luis Garcia introduced him to the legendary payador Gabino Ezeiza, also of African descent, who invited him to sing in the circus where Jose began his career…his bohemian, romantic nature would endear him to the public…at the age of 18 Jose married a cigarette vendor who was devoted to him until the end; a child born to them passed away soon after its birth…after his death, with no estate to claim and with the memory of so much pain in her life, she returned to her simple job of  selling cigaretts……had  Jose Betinotti lived a little bit longer, like Carlos Gardel, he might have well transitioned to a tango singer…in 1948 a collection of his works was published, “Pobre Mi Madre Querida” after the name of his most famous composition…he was widely regarded as a humble and honest man; a poet once said of him, “he was the singer for mothers and pain” …paying homage to the payadores whom she always loved, the legendary Nelly Omar was to say, “it is because of them that I sing”

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1909, July 16 – BIRTH OF CARLOS VARELA

Singer (Cancer) – one day Carlos Varela delivered the dire news to his parents, he had decided to quit school to devote himself to a singing career; it was a hard blow to his father who made tremendous sacrifices to give the best life possible to his five boys and five girls…many years later, looking back on a long and successful career, Carlos Varela would remember with great nostalgia that day and his father’s words of support and encouragement inspite of his deep doubts…Carlos Varela was born in the neighborhood of Flores…he began to sing almost from the time he could walk and began to develop his talent by entering singing contests at school…while undergoing the discouraging process of knocking on doors, he did many odd jobs including having been an errand boy in a shop and a clerk for the local telephone company…his first exposure to notoriety arrived when, at the age of 20, he began singing on Radio Prieto in the evenings often arriving there with great fatigue from his arduous day time jobs…

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His big break came when his friend the lyricist Vicente Planells del Campo recommended him to Roberto Firpo; out of many candidates he was finally selected…on February 27 of 1930 he released his first recording “A Montmartre”…its success led to a total of over 70 recordings with Roberto Firpo…the next year he made a long tour of Argentina and upon his return he was a big hit at the celebrated  “Germinal Cafe” in Buenos Aires…he appeared with the Roberto Firpo in the film “Dancing” where he sang, “Desde Pebeta”…while the film was a critical and financial failure, Carlos Varela’s performance was one of the few bright spots…this led to a series of celebrated appearances on Radio Belgrano…interestingly he made an audition with Juan D’arienzo but was turned down…during the latter part of his life he became a successful entrepreneur

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