Archive for the ‘ San Telmo ’ Category

1906, March 14 – BIRTH OF RODOLFO BIAGI

Leader, Composer, Pianist (Pisces) – sitting still in class for little Rudy was not easy; his soul was restless…his forays into the realm of day dreaming more often than not, brought him reprimand “Rudy, pay attention”…but lurking inside was a genius who would one day change the world of tango…in his brief three years with the Juan D’arienzo orchestra, his innovative beat on piano would help usher in “danceable tango”  and reinvigorate tango in the forties by appealing to young people…Rodolfo Biagi was born in the neighborhood of San Telmo, Buenos Aires to struggling Italian immigrants…he caused a family crisis when at the end of grammar school, young Rodolfo insisted on leaving school; his parent reluctantly agreed but they enrolled him in the conservatory of the newspaper “La Prensa” to study piano…being strong willed and independent, at the age of thirteen, without his parents’ consent he began playing in a silent film cinema

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One evening the legendary Juan Maglio (Pacho) happened to be in the cinema and was stunned by the precocious teenager at piano; he eventually accepted him into his orchestra, he was only fifteen…a major break occurred when in 1930 Jose Razzano interceded him backstage to ask him to accompany Carlos Gardel on a series of recordings…on April 1, 1930 he found himself next to the legendary Carlos Gardel in the recording studio…soon after he worked with a number of orchestras and along the way composed his first tango “Indeferencia” with lyrics by Juan Carlos Thorry…Rodolfo was a frequent customer of the Cabaret Chantecler where the Juan D’arienzo played nightly…his pianist Lidio Fasoli was notoriously late and one evening D’arienzo could endure no more and on the spot asked Rodolfo to take over at piano: with D’arienzo he would record 71 tangos…in 1938 Biagi left to start his own orchestra which debuted on September 16, 1938 at the Cabaret Marabu…in its long run his orchestra would record some immortal hits like the waltz “Lagrimas Y Sonrisas” and the tango “Quiero Verte Una Vez Mas” with singer Jorge Ortiz

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CLICK HERE – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_lo8iQ2QHWc to hear one of Rodolfo Biagi’s greatest hits “Lagrimas Y Sonrisas”

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1886, February 17 – BIRTH OF GENARO ESPOSITO

Leader, Composer, Pianist, Bandoneonist (Aquarius) – Genaro was perched precariously on a step-ladder with nail and hammer in hand, concentrating on the hanging of a picture when his guest bellow uttered a phrase that almost made him fall, “would you like to help me organize a group to play in Paris”...little did he suspect what an epic saga his life was about to become…Paris was a dream that a boy born to struggling Neapolitan immigrant parents in the neighborhood of San TelmoBuenos Aires did not dare to have; and yet, here he was on a cruise ship heading toward Paris, the cultural capital of the world…but on the way tragedy struck, the violinist of the group, Victor Jachia, suddenly had a massive heart attack and died…Genaro Esposito was devastated but with typical “porteno” resolve he persevered and survived initially playing in Marseille for spare change…In time his “Orchestre Argentine Genaro Esposito” would become the toast of Paris performing in its most prestigious clubs, ”El Garron”, “Casino de Paris”, the “Coupole Dance Club” and later critically acclaimed European tours

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Genaro would be a big factor in making tango a boom in Paris and therefore the world…in 1934 at the height of success he fell in love with a beautiful young French girl, Jeanne Vent…she rewarded him with the birth of a boy “Claude” of whom Genaro was immensely proud but then tragedy struck for the second time, Jeanne died leaving him to the care of their 11 month old child…he was never quite the same again…on June 14, 1940 the unimaginable happened, the German army entered Paris…interestngly, as they entered they played the San Lorenzo march composed by Cayetano Silva in 1901…a pall descended upon the city….little by little Genaro had to sell everything he owned just to eat; what little money he could earn came from playing his bandoneon for drunken German soldiers on leave from the Russian front……he had an opportunity to return to Buenos Aires but he steadfastly refused, he was a loyal French citizen now and he would stand by her and by his beloved Paris…sadly, the end came on January 24, 1944 when he succumbed to complications from pneumonia; as per his deathbed request, he was buried next to his beloved Jeanne…just seven months later allied forces would liberate Paris…with “Le Marseillaise“ still reverberating in his soul, General Charles de Gaul, in his liberation speech proclaimed, “Paris, Paris!, Paris outraged!, Paris broken!, Paris Martyred! but Paris liberated!.

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1906, December 26 -BIRTH OF IMPERIO ARGENTINA

Singer (Capricorn) – Adolf Hitler was so enthralled with her that he had Joseph Goebbels request an audience with her; she came and he asked her to film the life of the exotic dancer Lola Montez…at German studios UFA she met Marlena Dietrich with whom, credible rumors said, she had a lesbian affair..but the night of “Kristalnacht” opened her eyes on Nazism and she left…nevertheless it was true that her political sympathies were with fascism; during the period of dictatorship she was one of “Franco’s Untouchables”; for a time she was boycotted in New York, Mexico City, and Buenos Aires…she was born in the neighborhood of San Telmo, Buenos Aires to a guitarist English father and an actress mother from Spain…when she was six years old she debuted as “Petit Imperio” at the Comedia Theater in Buenos Aires…Now back in Spain, she debuted at Madrid’s Romea Theater in 1924…when she was only 21 years she auditioned for Spanish Director Florian Rey who was so taken by her that he not only offered her the lead role in the film “La Hermana San Suplicio”, he also insisted that she sing in it even though it was a silent film; it was an immediate hit….

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Seven years later Rey would divorce his wife and marry Imperio; together they would produce Spain’s most successful films in the pre-civil war era…the marriage however, lasted only briefly and she then married the Count of Cabezuelas Ramon Baillio in a storybook church ceremony but when she divorced him, she incurred the wrath of the catholic church…she starred alongside Carlos Gardel in two films “La Casa Es Seria” and“Melodia de Arrabal”; the later made her enormously popular in the United States; following an appearance at Carnegie Hall in New York, a star-struck, young Fidel Castro timidly approached her and presented her with a sketched portrait…in 1992 at the age of 82 years old and practically forgotten she made an appearance  at the World Exhibition in Sevilla Spain where she thrilled the audience and earned a standing ovation…at the age of 93, ill and bedridden, reflecting on her life she became solemn for a moment remembering the painful passing her two children while they were still young and then, suddenly, she her face lite up, she asked her granddaughter Teresa for her castanets and died singing

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1955, December 16 – BIRTH OF MARIA VOLONTE

Singer, Comoser, Author (Sagittarius) –  Maria recalls the day her father came home gleaming with excitement, he had just bought one of the first home recorders…enthusiastically he called young Maria over for its first test into which Maria sang the Neopolitan classic “Cuore Ingrato”…she was so moved that she cried midway through its rendition…recalling that moment she was to say, “There was so much hidden pain in that melody, so much love generously spread! That day I discovered, that singing is to allow oneself to be pierced with passion”… her home as a child was a surrealistic, make-believe world created by her father, of improvised theater and art and painted bed sheets which doubled as scenery and probs with whatever household items they could get their hands on, rice cans, sauce pans, wooden spoons and all kinds of music…her father, a project draftsman, had sacrificed his youthful dream of show business for a “serious profession”

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When she was 10 years old her father bought her her first guitar…she recalled that from its first strum she remained in awe and she would recall later “I knew it had changed my life”…as a teenager in school she was the hub of musical events; her life’s vocation was gradualy dawning in her soul…in the early 80s, now newly wed and living in the San Telmo area, she began by singing latin rock  in small cafes and barrooms before one day realizing that her true calling was tango…her 1996 album “Tango Y Otras Passiones” was awarded a coveted place in “La Nacion” newspaper’s  100 best tango albums of all time…she has won the Premio Gardel twice for best female tango singer…in 2004 she was nominated for the Latin Grammy for her album “Fuimos” (based on “Fuimos” written by Homero Manzi)…she has performed in Latin America, Europe and the United States always to create acclaim…in 2008 she moved to San Francisco where she has appeared at the legendary Yoshi’s Jazz Club…one critic said of hershe has one of the most assured, warmest, beautiful voices I’ve ever heard  and just enough dissonance and drama to keep things rooted in reality”

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1942, September 29 – RAUL BERON RECORDS “AZABACHE”

The world “Azabache” means black and the lyrics speak of the abandonment in African candombe rythms of a young mulatto girl  in San Telmo, Buenos Aires whose hips movements are captivating….there is a reference to blood and “tumba” which in the lunfardo dialect means the boiled meat typically served in prisons…in the mind of legendary lyricist Homero Exposito he was harkening back to the period when blacks and mulatos outnumbered “whites” five to one…their disappearance is one of the most intriqueing riddles in Argentine history..many emigrated to Uruguay which had less racist policys and many died in in various wars as they disproportionately comprised the soldiers in the army….still others intermarried and many of mixed african descent were great contributers to the development of tango…for example Oscar Aleman, Cayetano Silva, Rosendo Mendizabal, Celedonio Flores to name just a few

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Raul Beron is considered by many as the best tango voice in history and yet in the eyes of cognoscenti, Jose his older brother, had the talent surpass his legendary brother but preferred the bohemian night life …but it wasn’t only these two brothers but the whole family that seemed particularly gifted…their sister Elba for example, would record several hits with the Anibal Troilo Orchestra….they  were the children of Adolfo Manuel Beron, a guitarist and composer who encouraged his children to play and sing; theirs was a household visited by Adolfo’s musician and artist friends….their first taste of stardom occurred when Adolfo organized his five children into “Los Portenitos” which began singing in the cafes of their home town of Zarate…Azabache was composed by Enrique Francini

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1905, September 23 – BIRTH OF FRANCISCO FIORENTINO

Emily Dickinson had said it, “Fame is a fickle food upon a shifting plate”  and indeed Francisco Fiorentino,“Fiore” (Virgo), had been struggling for a number of years now…his career, from the glorious days of fame and fortune with the Anibal Troilo orchestra, had been in steady decline…but finally a breakthrough had come, Anibal Troilo, his old mentor, had invited him to record with his renown quartet, “it is the break I have been praying for” he confided to a friend..and so it was with renewed hope that he departed to the city of Mendoza where he would sing at a charity event..on the evening of the 10th of September 1955, Francisco Fiorentino sang before an enthusiastic crowd…it was the morning of 11 September when he and his musicians finally left the dance hall and someone suggested that some time could be saved by taking a short cut on the gravel road instead of following the main highway…30 minutes into the drive, after having crossed a bridge, the car suddenly skidded on the gravel and slid into the river which at this time of the year contained little water…in a tragic case of bad luck, the side on which Fiore was a passenger happened to land in a puddle of muddy water..Fiore was knocked unconscious and his torso remained under water and he drowned…he was 49 years old

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Francisco Fiorentino was born in the neighborhood of San Telmo in Buenos Aires to a musical family which had emigrated from the ancient fishing village of Giovinazzo, in the state of Puglia in Southen Italy…as a child “Fiore” began studying the bandoneon and envisioned a career playing in an orchestra…he was barely more than a child when he began playing the bandoneon  alongside his brother Vicente, a violinist, in silent movie theaters…it was with the Francisco Canaro orchestra, that he discovered his talent for singing as well as playing the bandoneon and in fact he would be one of only a handful of musicians who would also sing as well as play…he would have this dual role, bandoneon player and singer in a number of orchestras including Juan Carlos Cobian, Pedro Maffia and Juan D’arienzo…it was however, during his six years with Anibal Troilo, that his fame as a singer would emerge…later he would create his own orchestra and hire a young Astor Piazzolla to arrange and lead the group

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1938, September 16 – RODOLFO BIAGI ORCHESTRA DEBUTS !

It was with much trepidation that he finally made his move at he age of 32 to launch his own orchestra…it was a gutsy move; Argentina was in the midst of the “Infamous Decade”; a period marked by fraud and political persecution against a backdrop of world-wide depression…the population of Buenos Aires had doubled with the influx of destitute farmers who had lost everything; it is they who would provide the basis of Peronism in the next decade…the competition among orchestras was fierce; there was an abundance of excellent musicians especially among the Italian immigrants who were naturally gifted musicians…but Rodolfo Biagi had paid his dues and he had learned much especially during his tenure with his friend and mentor the legendary Juan D’arienzo…in his brief three years with the Juan D’arienzo orchestra, his innovative beat on piano would help usher in “danceable tango”  and reinvigorate tango in the forties by appealing to young people…Rodolfo Biagi was born in the neighborhood of San Telmo, Buenos Aires to struggling Italian immigrants

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He caused a family crisis when at the end of grammar school, young Rodolfo insisted on leaving school; his parent reluctantly agreed but they enrolled him in the conservatory of the newspaper “La Prensa” to study piano…being strong willed and independent, at the age of thirteen, without his parents’ consent he began playing in a silent film cinema…one evening the legendary Juan Maglio (Pacho) happened to be in the cinema and was stunned by the precocious teenager at piano; he eventually accepted him into his orchestra, he was only fifteen…a major break occurred when in 1930 Jose Razzano interceded him backstage to ask him to accompany Carlos Gardel on a series of recordings…soon after he worked with a number of orchestras and along the way composed his first tango “Indeferencia” with lyrics by Juan Carlos Thorry…Rodolfo was a frequent customer of the Cabaret Chantecler where the Juan D’arienzo played nightly…his pianist Lidio Fasoli was notoriously late and one evening D’arienzo could endure no more and on the spot asked Rodolfo to take over at piano……in the long Rodolfo would create one of the greatest tango orchestras in history recording some immortal hits like the waltz “Lagrimas Y Sonrisas” and the tango “Quiero Verte Una Vez Mas” with singer Jorge