Archive for the ‘ Poet ’ Category


Singer, Composer, Pianist, Author (Aries) –“I like it darling, polish that up a bit”, she said…little did she suspect that, that simple phrase cast at her daughter who was improvising at the piano while she sat on her favorite rocking chair knitting, would launch her daughter Maruja to immortality…it was 2 AM in the morning and Maruja had, had a long day but it was in still of the night that she did her best work but this night would be different, she would make history…she would piece together the tango “El Adios” which would be an instant hit and be recorded by a variety of musicians not only in Latin America but as far away as Japan…it continues, to our very day, to be a favorite in milongas world-wide…interestingly, she did not think she was very good at composing tango and very soon abandoned the field to devote herself to a wide array of music; she recorded over 600 songs in different genres…for example, she composed and recorded  ”Jugetes Musicales”  (Musical Games) designed to entertain and educate for children…


She composed “Little Musical Bible”, which consisted of twelve songs based on the old testament…she wrote the music for films and appeared in at least two, “Ronda De Estrellas” directed by Jack Davison and “Gran Camarado” directed by Yago Blas…although her tango compositions were not extensive, they included a number of hits working with renown orchestras including Juan D’arienzo, Florindo Sassone, and Edgardo Donato to name just a few…for some compositions, “Cuando Silba El Viento” for example, she wrote both the music and the lyrics; a rare talent among musicians of the epoch…she was a very popular singer and actress on radio dramas; in fact in 1938 in a campaign to identify “Miss Radio” she got over 30,000 votes, which was a rather significant number for those days…she performed on a number of radio stations but her home was Radio Belgrano…”El Adios” was first recorded by Ignacio Corsini, a family friend but it was the version by Edgardo Donato which would render it internationally famous



Poet, Writer, Journalist (Pisces) – he flung open the door, rushed in and started grabbing  a few clothes,“where are you going son” his mother asked worriedly,“to Norway” he responded…that afternoon while walking the waterfront, deep in thought, he had suddenly stopped in front of a massive ship and had been seized by an inexplicable urge, “the ship leaves at 12 noon” the sailor on guard had told him…Hector Blomberg was gone for two years during which he visited far away lands and exotic ports of call; he returned with a suitcase full of poems…at the age of seventeen he had received his first recognition, a gold medal for his poem “Ode To Spain”…in time he would become one of Argentina’s great men of letters leaving behind an extensive collection of poetry books, historical novels, plays, newspaper articles, children’s books and several immortal tangos…being fluent in German and English he even found time to translate noted writers in those languages


He was born in the neighborhood of Montserrat in Buenos Aires; his mother, originally from Paraguay, was herself a writer and a translator…his father was an engineer and a descendant of a long line of Norwegian sailors from whom he fell heir to his passion for the sea and for travel…sometime in the late 1920s he was introduced to singer Ignacio Corsini with whom a lifelong friendship would flourish…in collaboration with guitarist Enrique Maciel they would author a waltz “La Pulpera de Santa Lucia” which was a great hit and would launch a renowned career for Corsini; the three would collaborate on a number of other successful tango like “El Adios de Gabino Ezeiza” and “La Que Morio en Paris”…”La Pulpera de Santa Lucia” was originally on of Hector’s historical novels which continues in circulation to our very day as a collector’s item at prices many times its original cost…the kind of person Hector was, revealed itself in 1920 in a poetry contest; when it came to his attention that he would be awarded first prize, he argued with the jury that the second place designee’s entry was better than his  and really deserving of first place and in fact the order of the awards was changed



“On dark nights when the wind’s curious howl wraps itself among the willows…a strange light shines on a wooden cross and then returns to the pasture…on the day of the dead, a girl, head covered in a black scarf, with tearful, lifeless eyes, kneels at the tombstone and says, ‘see you soon’ but in fact she never returns”…this is the message of “Cruz de Palo” (Wooden Cross) written by legendary poet Enrique Cadicamo with music by Guillermo Barbieri…for Cadicamo, it was one of over 1300 in his prodigious career…he was born in the town of General Rodriguez just outside of Buenos Aires and as a little boy he was already curious about the world and he would write about what he saw and felt….he published several books of poetry “Canciones Tristes”, “The History of Tango In Paris” and “Under the Sign of the Tango”…he wrote several plays including “The Way Life Repays Us” and “The Romance of Vagabonds”…with Guillermo Barbieri he collaborated on number of works including “Anclao a Paris”, “Olvidao”, “La Novia Ausente”; Carlos Gardel was to record 20 of his poems…


Among his great hits are “Madam Yvonne” (which was the last one Gardel would record in Argentina before his tragic death in 1934), “Los Mareados”, and “Muneca Brava”…he would direct three films and would travel alot in europe and to New York…the music of “Cruz de Palo” is by Guillermo Barbieri who was one of Gardel’s guitarists and also a singer…..Although Barbieri had his first lessons from his father who was also a guitarist, he was basically self taught…he began his professional career at the age of sixteen with the Felix Rodriguez Trio…Barbieri first met Carlos Gardel and Jose Razzano in 1919, at a party to celebrate the victory of one of their race horses; he would remain with Gardel for fifteen years…Barbieri’s first tango to be recorded was “Los Ruisenores” in 1921 by the Roberto Firpo orchestra…among his most beloved compositions are “ViejoSmoking” and “Rosas de Otono”….he would perish with Gardel in Medellin,Colombia; interestingly, the only one to survive was another guitarist, Jose Maria Aguilar.



Poet (Pisces) – from the second floor of the tenement house, young Raimundo was mersmerized by the magical scene of a serious young girl practising her tango steps in the dusty yard….the girl, Maria Nieves would grow up to be a world-famous dancer, he would grow up to be a renown poet and writer of the some of the most evocotive tangos in history…Raimundo Rosales grew up in that poor neighborhood of Saavedra in a house where four families shared one bathroom…already as a young boy he had a curious and inquisitive mind and he would write of the things he saw and the things that moved him…one day, by accident he happened to see the album “A Homero” by Susana Rinaldi, a compilation of the great Homero Manzi’s lyrics; it was a life changing experience…in 1985 he entered a lyrics contest organized by the Universidad de Belgrano and won; the celebrated Lalo de los Santos was commissioned to set his twelve poems to music…


But the life of an aspiring writer is not easy and he has had to wear many hats…he was a maker of handicrafts selling his creations in neighborhood festivals; in the day time he wrote for the local weekly that circulated his neighborhood…his proud creation was a monthly music  magazine  “La Luna de Saavedra”; in his first issue he interviewed the legendary Roberto Goyeneche but with deep disappointment, after a ten-year run, he had to fold it…he then embarked on his metaphorical search for the holy grail in Spain but after six years he headed his soul’s voice and returned to his boyhood home in his beloved neighborhood of Saavedra…in 1997 his “Fantasma de Luna” earned him another victory in a contest sponsored by La Maga Magazine ….other awards and recognitions were to follow for his poems, many of which have been set to music….he has published three books of poems “Ciudad Malvon”, 1977, “A Pesar del Mar”, 1985, and “Todo Es Aqua”, 2004…he has taught a specialized course on the writing of lyrics at the Programa Cultural En Barrios.


1881, February 19 – BIRTH OF GABINO C. PENALOZA

Descending on his mule from Chilecito, Gabino Penaloza was very alone but at home among the stark, natural beauty of its cliffs and valleys…it had been a particularly wet year and the aromas of nature were strong…nearing the town of Olta the trail became more boggy and in the distant he could hear the bellowing of the river…in fact its banks had overflowed and he was forced to wait for the water level to recede…that evening at the joyous town gathering, was when he first saw the lovely, demure girl playing the piano; in the coming days they would spend much time together and fall in love…finally the water had receded and he could continue on his journey  but he promised he would return as soon as possible…but on the day of his return his beloved was no where to be found….the discovery that she was pregnant had brought great shame to the family and they had spirited her off in a hastily arranged marriage; the year was 1903…it was this crucially painful experience which was to be the inspiration of his poem “Caminito” which in time, along with “El Choclo” and “La Cumparsita” would become one of the three most beloved tangos of all time


Gabino Corea Penaloza  (Pisces) born in La Paz and from early on he showed an inclination to poetry but at the age of 15 he moved to Buenos Aires where by day he did a number of jobs and by night he wrote poems; in time they would begin to appear in the renown “Caras and Carretas” magazine…he would frequent the cheap cafes and bars where he was friends with aspiring musicians and singers like a young Carlos Gardel and especially Juan de Dios Filiberto who would compose the music for “Caminito” and with whom Gabino would collaborate on several other tangos including two hits, “El Besito” and “El Panuelito”…he would publish three celebrated books of poems some of which would be used by a number of composers…but he had a difficult and trouble ridden life in the big city and at the age of forty-five he followed his heart  to his beloved Chilencito where with his books and poems he lived to the age of 95 haunted to the end by the memories of that beautiful girl playing piano and the son he never met.



“Who would have thought back then, sixteen years ago that one day I would be singing here” wrote Carlos Gardel to his friend and manager Jose Razzano referring to their boyhood when the thought of performing at the mythical Paris Opera House was only a wildly unattainable dream for boys from poor immigrant families…indeed to have been invited to sing at the Paris Opera House for the “Bal de Petit Lits Blanc”, the most important social event of the year, was to have conquered Paris and therefore the world…he became the darling of a decadent aristocracy and it is they  who would catapult him to international fame; it is they who would export tango into a world sensation…on this particular night the well liked President of the Republic Gaston Doumergue was especially thrilled and he sent down a note to Gardel, would he please re-sing “El Cerretero”; with deep respect Gardel bowed to the president and did, to the enthusiastic applause of his excellency…


Ten days later he opened at the Casino in Cannes for the unbelievable sum of 4000 francs a night; a famous magazine “La Rampe” in the luxurious end of the year edition, ran a full color photo of him….telegrams were personally delivered to him, a service reserved for only the most important people…he relished his success in paris, “I am living better than a millionaire in paris, in the best district in a comfortable house” he would write in letters to friends; much of his fortune would be squandered in his horse gambling habit…..150 years earlier, other Gardels were conquering an earlier version of the Paris Opera, Maximilien and Pierre Gardel ballet dancers and choreographers…Maximilien became the dance instructor of Marie Antoinette and Louis XVI…he died young from an infection resulting from a small toe injury sustained while dancing…his brother Pierre became a renown choreographer and ballet master for 35 years surviving a number of political upheavals including the French Revolution…on the day that Louis XVI was beheaded, the Paris Opera was performing Pierre’s “The Trial of Paris”…Gardel would meet his own premateur demise just six years later in a fiery airplane crash .



Poet (Aquarius) – one day while she was attending an important celebration, the tango “Se Va La Vida” was being played; it had been a great hit for composer Edgardo Donato…a colleague sitting next to Maria Luisa Carnelli mentioned that he liked the music but engaged on a long tirade about why the lyrics were inappropriate and amateurish…Maria Luisa could contain herself no longer and revealed to him that she, under the pseudonym Mario Castro, was in fact the author…the colleague was highly embarrassed and stammered an explanation but in fact the friendship never recovered…she often used pseudonyms to prevent her father from finding out what she was doing…growing up in an upper middle class family, her father was adamantly against tango; he had once discovered a daughter dancing tango and had severely disciplined her; …nevertheless Maria Luisa and her brothers would secretly listened to tango removing the horn from the Gramophone so as to keep the volume to its lowest possible level…


She was born in the city of La Plata Argentina and already as a young girl she learned to love tango and to write poems…she became a tango lyricist in 1927 when, under the pseudonym “Mario Castro”, she wrote the lyrics for “El Malevo” composed  by Julio De Caro…just three years later  she won first prize in the celebrated Max Glucksman tango contest with “Linyera”…her “Se Va La Vida” became a hit when Carlos Gardel’s dear friend Azucena Maizani recorded it…in her career, like the legendary Homero Manzi, she would become a renown journalist and author although she once commented that she earned more from the royalties from her biggest hit “Cuando Llora La Milonga” than from the eight books she had published…she traveled to 24 countries in journalistic pursuits which was an unheard of feat for a woman in those times…she was admired for her personal valor as correspondent in the Spanish Civil where she was befriended by the mythical Martha Gellhorn (Hemingway’s 3rd wife)…she had passionate opinions about tango believing after the 1940s, it was not tango, “it is too sophisticated, contrived, too technical…it has lost its porteno soul” she would say with absolute certainty…some of her other hits were Moulin Rouge”, “Dos Lunares” and “Primer Agua”



“Los Dopados” was a melody which was written by Juan Carlos Cobian for the play by the same name which premiered on July 4, 1922 at the Teatro Porteno…it was soon forgotten…20 years later, legendary poet Enrique Cadicamo penned new lyrics to the music and converted it into a major hit which to out very days remains a favorite of tangueros all over the world and has been recorded by many musicians…in particular, it was a great hit for Anibal Troilo and his orchestra with the voice of Francisco Fiorentino in 1942…much later it would become a major hit for Adriana Varela and one of the most requested by her legion of fans…the lyrics say, “my soul harbors three things, love, regret, pain…it’s strange how our great and passionate love is no more…tonight we will get inebriated together and after this we shall never see each other again….I found you beautiful and foreboding in the mist of much champagne, laughing so as not to cry”


It’s airplay did not last long…in 1943 the censor of the military dictatorship summoned Enrique Cadicamo to his office…the government, in a misguided campaign to modernize and change the image of Argentina, had imposed a ban on tango lyrics which made any mention of any form of  immorality or drunkedness…Enrique, cast a glance at the censor, calmly took a chair in front of the typewriter and began to rewrite the objectionable lyrics…he drew the paper out of the typewriter, rose from his chair and using an exaggerated tone of respect said, “is this better excellency?”….the censor, straightening his shoulders, with an air of  haughtiness said, “ah yes, much better Cadicamo”.…to the censor’s stunned eyes, Enrique reached out, grabbed the sheet from his hand, tore it up and said, “this is bull shit” and stomped out….six years later President Juan Peron, now in power and a supporter of tango culture, rescinded the ban and “Los Mareados“returned to its original form



Poet (Capricorn) – he was so passionate about his work, that during rehearsals for one of his great hits“Que Falta Que Me Haces” with singer Alberto Podesta and the orchestra of Miguel Calò, he was such an annoyance with interruptions and suggestions that they finally had to ask him to leave; flaying arms and grumbling to himself he reluctantly left….such incidents were frequent and he would always murmur an apology and promise to contain himself…indeed it was his devotion, his sensitivity and his romantic nature that led him to produce some of the most beautiful tangos; tango like the immortal “Hasta Siempre Amor” which with the music of Donato Racciatti and the voice of Jorge Valdez was a great hit and continues to be played in milongas all over the world to this very day


Federico Silva was born in Montevideo Uruguay and as a young boy already showed a unique curiosity and a love of literature and poetry; he learned to love tango through his father who was totally devoted to evening tango radio programs…at the age of 17, a gruff editor saw something in young Federico and gave his first break as a cub reporter for “El Pais” , Uruguay’s most important daily…starting in 1955, for 10 years he was a writer for the weekly magazine “Marcha” a high brow magazine covering music and tango.. other assignments included the magazines “Tangueando” of Montevideo and “Cantando” in Buenos Aires…his first tango was “Dejame Verte” in 1943…in 1968 he was contracted by the Victor Label to write the lyrics for a 12 piece LP for music composed by Armando Pontier and sung  by Roberto Goyeneche, out of which several notable hits emerged…he wrote biographies on Carlos Gardel, Julio Sosa and Anibal Troilo…he was the creator and talent of an immensely popular radio program “Motivos Populares” which aired for 20 years



One of the great mysterys in tango is, who wrote the perennial hit “Hotel Victoria”…there is good reason to believe that it was played for the first time for the reopening of the Grand Hotel Victoria on January 4, 1904 in Cordoba, Argentina….it was probably composed by Feliciano Latasa…Latasa was born into a musical family on September 25, 1870, in San Sebastian, the northern basque region of Spain…around the age of 30 he was contracted by fellow Basques in the city of Santa Fe, Argentina to help develop and direct  the orchestra of Sociedad Espana and the traditional a capella Galician singing group “Orfeon Gallego”…it is here that he first came into contact with tango and was immediately smitten by it…..his musical abilities came to the ear of the management of the historic Hotel Victoria who commissioned him to compose a piece to commemorate the completion of the refurbishing of the hotel.


However, would-be imposters emerged over time…on October 20, 1924 Carmen Jimenez,appearing at “La Borachera Del Tango”, announced with great fanfare the premiere of a new tango “La Payasa”…it was not new at all but merely a pirated version of  Latasa’s ”Hotel Victoria”…there was another claim that Hotel Victoria was played for the first time in one of the well-known carnival balls of Politeama…According to historian Eduardo Stilman, “The early editions of this piece do not bear any signature while others are signed with the initials H. D.”….In 1932 a sheet music copy of Hotel Victoria emerged where it is credited to Luis Negron; about Mr. Negron very little is known…still another source argued that Hotel Victoria was composed by a violinist in Rosario by the name of Alfredo Baron…there is anecdotal evidence that suggests that Hotel Victoria was originally an old Spanish melody which was hummed by immigrants arriving in Buenos Aires…of one thing we are sure of, it is one of the most popular tangos in history