Archive for the ‘ La Boca ’ Category

1885, March 8 – BIRTH OF JUAN DE DIOS FILIBERTO

Composer, Leader, Violinist, Guitarist, Harmonica (Pisces) – as a youth he was tormented, difficult, rebellious even a bully and finally he was practically thrown out of school and began working in a series of  menial jobs along the way becoming a fiery anarchist and strike organizer…one fateful evening while working at the famed Colon Theater as a mechanic’s assistant, he happened to see a performance of Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony and he was stunned; it changed his life…although unrefined, course and practically illiterate,  with tremendous determination, he enrolled at the Pettizini – Sttianessi Conservatory to study music for the first time and gradually the musical genius that was prowling inside his soul began to emerge…later he earned a scholarship to the to study with Maestro Alberto Williams at the prestigious National Conservatory…his tango “Caminito”, composed in 1926, along with “La Cumparsita”, “Il Choclo” and “A Media Luz” would become one of the most universally beloved and recorded musical themes in history…

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He was born in the mythical neighborhood of La Boca, Buenos Aires to a mother who was a descendent of  native americans and a father who was Genoese…many years later he would nostalgically recall his first taste of tango as a six years old toddler at his uncles cafe “La Estrellita”…battling symptoms of tuberculosis, his friend and physician Jose Ingenieros, himself an impassioned political activist and philosopher, advised him to move to the city of Guaymallen; his stay here inspired his first tango, the first of his tangos with distinctly indigenous chords…in 1932 he formed his first orchestra which debuted at the mythical Cafe Tortoni…he dared to include unusual instruments like clarinets and flutes and nativist themes but the critizism that naturally followed was difficult for him to bear…however, it was the beginning of a long and productive  career…among his numerous compositions are great hits like “Quejas De Bandoneon”, “Malevaje”, “El Panuelito”; Carlos Gardel would record sixteen of his tangos…toward the end of his life, reflecting on his career he would say, “my music is many things but above all it is feeling…of course feeling is not enough for you have to know how to express it”

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1937, November 12 – BIRTH OF HECTOR MAYORAL

Dancer, Choreographer (Scorpio) – In 2009  fictionalized film of this man’s life and career it describes him as “the greatest dancer of all time”…he plays himself in the film, The Man Who Dances,  which is a collage of the different stages in his life…he grew up in a tough Villa Pueyrredon neighborhood and had to leave school early but his salvation was his love of dance….during the day he worked odd jobs but at night he would hang around the milongas where the old milongueros took him under their wing and showed him how to dance…in one of life’s turning moments, one evening at a milonga he struck by a shy girl standing alone and he asked her to dance..

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Elsa Maria Borquez was from the mythical neighborhood of La Boca who at the age of 8 had started studying ballet, music and art; she would become his life’s and career partner…their destiny would take them, as dancers in the award-winning “Tango Argentino” and “Forever Tango” all over the world….they have danced and taught people like Lady Di, Hillary and Bill Clinton, Robert Duvall, Frank Sinatra, Placido Domingo, Robert Deniro, Mijail Baryshnikov, Rudolf Nureyev, Liza Minelli, Julio Iglesias, Whoopi Goldberg…As innovators, they have developed a new health alternative therapy, “Cardiorespiratory benefits during the tango dance”, together with professional scientists from the “Fundación Cardiológica Argentina”….Hector says“when you hear the beat of the tango and it travels through your ear annd into your heart, and it becomes your legs, you feel that you are telling the story of your barrio”

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1962, October 25 – JUAN CARLOS GODY RECORDS “HASTA CALLAO NO MAS”

Besides being one of the first women tango singers, Azucena Maizani was an accomplished composer…among her most popular compositions was the milonga “Hasto Callao No Mas” which was recorded by a number of artists including Juan Carlos Godoy who recorded it on October 25, 1962…the inspiration for Azucena Maizani’s compositions came from the tragic tales in her own life…at the age of 26 she had finally found the love that her romantic heart pined for when she married Juan Scarpino and her joy multiplied when they had a baby…however, just three years later the baby died; the profound pain and recriminations destroyed their marriage and they divorced…ten years later she again found her ideal man and he became her manager…when a scandal erupted because of his financial misdealingings, he committed suicide and she became the subject of speculations and accusations in the media…the pain and shame drove her into seclusion for a number of years…Francisco Canaro would write in his memoirs of the evening at the Boite Pigalle Night Club when he was approached by a young girl would asked if she could sing a song with the orchestra..

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During intermission he took the unusual step of letting her sing one song; not knowing her name she introduced her as “azabache”…it was the beginning of Maizani’s career which would include over 270 recordings with a number of orchestras and a number of films including Moglia Barth’s “Tango” in which she sang one of her masterpieces “La Cancion de Buenos Aires”…by the mid 40s her popularity had waned and when she died of a stroke in 1970 she was practically alone, poor and forgotten…Juan Carlos Godoy was born in the city of Campana in the outskirts of Buenos Aires…at the age of 14 the family moves to the neighborhood La Boca…he got hooked on tango when he heard Agustin Magaldi sing live…as a young boy he worked as a farm hand at harvest time and  in the evening they would get together and sing; thus he got hooked on singing….working in the Ministry of Public Works he would forfeit his weekly salary to gambling debts…he was about to give up singing to devote himself to a “serious” job to provide  for his family…one evening he was invited to dinner at a friend’s house and he sang for the guests…among the guests was a violinist who told him that RicardoTanturi’s orchestra was looking for a singer… at the audition he sang “Griseta” and he was hired. His career has taken him all over the world.

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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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1984, September 14 – ROSITA QUIROGA RECORDS LAST TANGO

As an awe-inspiring physician and renaissance man, Dr. Luis Alposta is reminiscent of polymath, Englishman  Johnathon Miller…besides being a OBGYN specialist, Luis is also a poet, an author, a historian, a tango lyricist and radio presenter…his poems have been translated into several languages and he has authored over 30 books…it was in 1974 that he met Rosita Quiroga and an instant friendship developed…he became her personal physician and wrote the lyrics for the milonga “Campaneando Mi Pasado” which Rosita had composed…Rosita was 88 years old when she recorded it; 32 days later she would pass away…Rosita Quiroga was the first female tango singer in the payador tradition…

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She grew up in a destitute family but in her life she would achieve fame and financial success even though she ended her career at the age of 35; she was not fond of public performances…she learned to play guitar from the legendary Juan De Dios Filiberto who was her neighbor in the La Boca neighborhood of Buenos Aires…in her singing, she unashamedly used the slang and the vulgar language she heard in her neighborhood from the dock workers and cart drivers…her first tango was “La Tipa” recorded around 1923…one journalist called her “the Piaf from the outskirts of Buenos Aires”…she continued to make occasional radio appearances; she was the first tango singer to be heard in Japan in 1938; she would return there 32 years later…in 1976 she was cajoled to appear in her only film “El Canto Quenta Su Historia” in which also starred Anibal TroiloTita Merello and Angel D’agostino

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1926, July 19 – ROSITA QUIROGA RECORDS “PATO”

In lunfard0, the Buenos Aires dialect,  the word “Pato” means “poor”…the lyrics say, “I saw you pass by with a haughty air, your face all made up, in an elegant car with your rich woman…I said “Hi” and you pretended not to know me but I know you and you were poor and you will always be poor…one day that woman will leave you and you will be back to scrounge in our neighborhood !…the music and lyrics were composed by Ramon Collazo who was born in Montevideo in 1901 to a struggling Italian immigrant family…as a composer, he had a number of successes but non more than “Pato” which was also recorded by Carlos Gardel in Spain…Rosita Quiroga was the first female tango singer in the payador tradition…she grew up in a destitute family but in her life she would achieve fame and financial success even though she ended her career at the age of 35; she was not fond of public performances…

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She learned to play guitar from the legendary Juan De Dios Filiberto who was her neighbor in the La Boca neighborhood of Buenos Aires…in her singing, she unashamedly used the slang and the vulgar language she heard in her neighborhood from the dock workers and cart drivers…her first tango was “La Tipa” recorded around 1923…one journalist called her “the Piaf from the outskirts of Buenos Aires”…she continued to make occasional radio appearances; she was the first tango singer to be heard in Japan in 1938; she would return there 32 years later…in 1976 she was cajoled to appear in her only film “El Canto Quenta Su Historia” in which also starred Anibal Troilo, Tita Merello and Angel D’agostino…in 1984 she made her last recording “Campaneando Mi Pasado” for which she wrote the music; the lyrics were written by Luis Alposta who besides being a noted lyricist was also her personal physician…32 days later she would pass away at the age of 88

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