Archive for the ‘ Recordings ’ Category


The story is told of a young lady present at pianist Linda Lee Thomas’s performance of “Invierno Porteno” who was so moved by the music that she burst into sobs….Inspired by Antonio Vivaldi’s Four Seasons, “Invierno Porteno” (Winter in Buenos Aires) is the second of Astor Piazzolla’s “Cuatro Estaciones Portenas” (The Four Seasons of Buenos Aires) which was written over a period of six years in the 1960s and which has caught the attention of world-wide audiences…in fact classical music orchestras are beginning to program The Four Seasons of Buenos Aires, alongside those of Vivaldi’s…for example in the year 2000, renown violinist Gidon Kremer, released a highly acclaimed album called “Vivaldi and Piazzolla, Eight Seasons”…of  the four, Invierno Porteno is perhaps the most beloved of Piazzolla’s quartet…recently Japanese World champion skater, Daisuke Takahashi clinched the Grand Prix NHK Trophy with an inspired performance skating to “Invierno Porteno”


Astor Piazzolla, an only child, was born on March 11, 1921 (Pisces) in Mar De Plata Argentina…when he was four years old, the family moved to New York City where at the age of eight, his father bought him his first bandoneon …in 1936 the family moved back to Mar De Plata and it is here that Astor began to play in a number of tango orchestras….Carlos Gardel was a friend of the family and in fact Astor played the part of a paper boy in his film “El Dia Que Me Quieras”… day he happened to hear Elvino Vardaro’s Sextet on the radio and his alternative ways of interpreting tango was to have a great influence on him…in 1954 he was awarded a scholarship by the French government and he went to Paris to study under Nadia Boulanger who, after hearing him play tango says to him “Here is the true Piazzolla, never let him go, do not abandon your roots”…with its elements of jazz and classical music Tango Nuevo is born



Composed and sung by Charlo, the lyrics of Rodando Tu Esquina say, my passion for her is devouring me and I must go out and look for her…to forgive her…I don’t care what people will say, people will talk anyway…I think of her continuously, I can’t get her out of my mind, “….this was a major hit for Charlo; one of many in his long career; he would pass away at the age of 85…Charlo, (born July 7, 1905, Cancer) after Carlos Gardel was the most important figure in tango history…he was certainly the equal of Carlos Gardel in every way and yet, in one of those odd twists of fate, he is relatively unknown…he was born in Avestruz a railway station outside of Buenos Aires; his father was a foreman in a crop harvesting company…as an adult he cut quite a figure; he was a dandy, elegant, sophisticated…in fact he inspired a line of men’s clothing and accessories  called “Charlot”….


His real name was Carlos Jose Perez, but he was an ardent admirer of Charly Chaplin who inspired his stage name “Charlo”  which he used for the first on his debut on Radio Cultura in 1924…as a child he studied piano and later he entered law school but he stunned his family when he advised them that he would leave law school and devote himself to music…he began by singing and accompanying himself in humble cafes where he elegant attire was almost an insult to the usual patrons nevertheless with his voice, his compositions and his charm, he quickly ascended the ladder of success performing with, among others, the Francisco Canaro and Roberto Firpo orchestras; the most renown at the his career he did everything including having had numerous hits in composing and recording; he may well have been the most recorded tango singer in history



For composer Lalo Echegoncelay, a struggling musician accustomed to zipping from gig to gig on his motorcycle trying to make ends meet, the fact that “Parece Un Cuento” was a smash hit, was a godsend…in fact it allowed him to devote himself exclusively to composing…he was born into a family of musicians in the neighborhood of Tres Cruces, Montevideo on May 31, 1911 (Gemini) and began as a child to study piano…at age 18 he began to play in orchestras around Montevideo…at age of 22, a piece that he had thrown together “Yo Soy Asi Pa El Amore” was sung by Tita Merello in the Argentina’s first sound movie “Tango”…he was known widely for his bigger than life smile and his kindness and generosity


Singer Julio Martel (born may 14, 1923 Taurus) had to have his mother sign his first contract for him for he was still  a minor…in a contest sponsored by Radio El Mundo seeking a vocalist for the Alfredo De Angelis Orchestra in 1943, Julio was declared the winner out of hundreds of contestants and it was only months later that he recorded “Parece Un Cuento” which became his first hit and launched his fame; he was 21 years 1946 he signed an exclusive contract with the legendary radio show “Glostora Tango Club”…he was to have a long and successful career with Alfredo De Angelis and when he separated from the orchestra in 1951, he would deliver a tearful and moving speech of gratitude  which those attending that night would recall years afterwards…in his neighborhood of Munro he was a hero and on his 80th birthday a parade was held in his honor during which people tossed flowers and shouted greeting and encouragements from their balconies


  • CLICK HERE – to hear “Parece Un Cuento” composed by Lalo Echegoncelay, recorded by the Alredo De Angelis Orchestra with vocals by Julio Martel...the lyrics are the narration of a man who says, “like the fable that my mother used to tell me as a child, the arrival of your love was a beautiful dream and your loss was an inconsolable tragedy”


Perhaps no other country in history took to tango like Poland; in fact in would become synonymous with Polish popular music…Tango emerged in Poland soon before the outbreak of the World War I…Ludwik Sempolinski, an artist and historian, in his memoirs records the fact that in the “latest operetta by Jacoby which was put on the stage in Warsaw on October 28th 1913, a new dance ‘Tango’ was introduced and was performed by Lucyna Messal and Jozef Redo”….this launched a series of noted Polish singers’ and dancers’ love affair with the tango; Aume Lauchame’s recording of “Regina Tango”, Karol Hanusz singing “The Last Tango” in the Warsaw Cabaret “Black Cat” in  1919, Stanislao Ratold’s recording  of Tango Du Reve” in 1922…but perhaps no one did more to popularize tango than the legendary Jerzy Petersburski composer of the mythical “Ostatnia Niedziela” (Death Tango)


But there was no character more fascinating than Pola Negri who, with her partner Edward Kuryllo in 1913, as a 17-year-old, began dancing the tango in Warsaw…she was born in Lipno Poland on January 3, 1897 (Capricorn)…her exotic, mysterious passionate qualities would turn her into one of the most fascinating femme fetal’s in history…she edwas discovered by Austrian film director Max Reinhardt and she eventually move to the United States where she made some very popular films…she divorced a Polish Count and was engaged to Charlie Chaplan whom she left for Rodolfo Valentino…later she returned to Germany where she married a russian prince…she was a favorite actress of Adolf Hitler even though he knew she was half jewish…in one of her last films she was to sing “Tango Notturno” to great acclaim…she died in San Antonio, Texas at the age of 90


1947, October 22 – Nelly Omar Records “Desde El Alma”

Recording – recorded with the Francisco Canaro Orchestra, this was to be Nelly Omar’s biggest hit and to this day there is probably not a milonga anywhere in the world that does not play this tango….”Desde el Alma” was originally written in 1911 by 14-year-old Rosita Melo who born in Montevideo but raised in Buenos Aires…it was recorded by Roberto Firpo for the first time soon after its composition but there were infinite versions recorded thereafter however non were to be more popular than the version by Nelly Omar  …the lyrics for this version were written by Homero Manzi for the filmPobre Mi Madre Querida”


Nelly Omar (September 10, 1911 Virgo) was born in the city of Guami, west of Buenos Aires…her father, a ranch foreman, was a guitar player and friend of Carlos Gardel…very proud, she was finally helped in her career, without her asking, by Evita but when Juan Peron was overthrown, she was blackballed and had to leave the country to find work…many years later she recalled as a child seeing Gardel in her house “he was fat and his hair was straight and parted in the middle”…Rosita Melo went on to become an acclaimed pianist giving concerts in classical music in the most prestigious concert halls and winning numerous awards including one gold metal.


  • CLICK HERE to hear Nelly sing the hit version with the Francisco Canaro Orchestra….the lyrics of the opening stanza say, “dear heart, if you have been so hurt, why do you choose to cry for what is lost, to seek what you have loved, to call out for what has died…it avails nothing to be sad, you did not deserve your pain for you were noble in your love”


VIDEO…Objection Tango was written and composed by Colombian pop star Shakira for her 2001 breakthrough English album “Laundry Service”…based on the Cumparsita, it is the first song written by Shakira purely in English…it reached #55 on Billboard’s Hot 100 and became a hit on MTV’s TRL peaking at #1 and staying on the countdown for 45 days…Shakira (born February 2, 1977, Aquarius) she is the only artist from South America to reach the number-one spot on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100


The music video opens with Shakira and her ex-lover doing a tango…when the tango stops, he leaves, the music picks up, and Shakira begins dancing…Shakira goes to a club where she finds her ex-lover and his new girlfriend, played by porn star Tabitha animated sequence begins in which Shakira pokes holes in the new girlfriend’s breast implants and knocks her ex-boyfriend through a window into another room…interestingly, the bandoneon, on the off-beat, turns into an accordion.


1945, October 2 – RECORDING OF “A PAN Y AGUA”

Recording – Juan Carlos Cobian composed “A Pan Y Agua” (“On Bread and Water”) while he was essentially under arrest for having failed to respond to a military draft; he was twenty three years old…it was recorded by singer Angel Vargas with the orchestra of Angel D’Agostino; the lyrics by Enrique Cadicamo…..the lyrcis are the melancholic narration of a man who, while listening to a tango, remembers his old Palermo neighborhood, old friends, glasses of champagne and that girl  that he loved and had removed from his memory…it was an instant hit in 1945 and remains a popular in milongas sixty five years later….Juan Carlos Cobian and Enrique Cadicamo would combine their talents to produce another hit, the immortal “Los Mareados”


Angel Vargas was born on October 22, 1904 (Libra) in Buenos Aires whose streets first exposed him tango as a young man and where his dreams of becoming a singer first began to take root…it was his fateful combination in 1940 with the Angel D’Agostino Orchestra, through 94 recordings, which would one day turn him into a legend in tango history…later with his own orchestra he recorded 86 tangos including great hits like “No Aflojes” and “Adios Arrabal”…he passed away at the age of 54, up until the last moment filled with enthusiasm for his tango world


1941, September 9 – recording of “ADIOS ARRABAL”

Recording – singer Angel Vargas (born Oct 22, 1904 – Libra) – recorded this tango on this date with the Angel D’agostino orchestra with whom he sang between 1940 – 1946….it was a major hit and has remained popular tangos in milongas and performances…Angel D’agostino was one of the few orchestra leaders who was also a dancer and hence his whole approach to tango was that it be danceable…he came from a family of musicians immigrants from Italy…one of his biggest fans was Eva Peron who gave a special custom-made clock of which only three were made


D’agostino was a skilled gambler and stubborn bachelor and a close friend of legendary poet Enrique Cadicamo with whom he made a pact to never marry; Cadicamo would break the pact when he finally married a twenty year old girl at the age of fifty…D’agostino would never again speak with him however their collaboration would lead to great hits like “A Pan Y Agua”…the lyrics of “Adios Arrabal” are the narration of a grown man who has come back to the old, now darken neighborhood, empty of the tough guys and the girls hanging on balconies… he invokes his deceased mother asking her forgiveness for his wayward ways and the nightlife  which he still misses…he asks her about the young girl whom he loved and  has never forgotten … “goodbye arrabal porteno, I was your slave and also your master and now I give you my last goodbye”


  • CLICK HERE to hear “Adios Arrabal” sung by Angel Vargas written in 1930 by Juan Bauer with Lyrics by Carlos Lenzi

1934, September 5 – premiere “CUESTA ABAJO”

Film – shot at Paramount studios in Long Island, New York, it premiered at the Cine Monumental in Buenos Aires…directed by Parisian director Luis Gasnier, the script was written by Alfredo Le Pera with music by Alberto Castellanos. The film was a huge success opening to delirious public applause…it was the best spanish spoken movie produced by Hollywood until then.


Based on a play of the same name by Emilia Pardo Bazan…In the film, Carlos Acosta a student who works at a port cafe dancing for money, quits his studies and forsakes his fiancée Rosita to follow Raquel, a woman who leads him to an immoral life and to his doom.  In time he discovers that Raquel supports another man with the money he gives her. 



Alberto Moran, singer (Pisces) – after 10 years with the Osvaldo Pugliese orchestra, following a trend of the 50s, he broke out on his own, recording 2 tangos; “No Te Enganes Corazon” (don’t deceive yourself heart) and “Avergonzado” (shamed)…for the recording he comissioned the pianist Armando Cupo to form a back up orchestra.


Moran arrived in Buenos Aires a poor boy of 4  from the town of Strevi in Northern Italy…he had little schooling and in fact he never studied either music or singing. Discovered by Pugliese, in time he was to become an idol, retaining popularity even after a bohemian lifestyle had greatly diminished his singing voice.


  • CLICK HERE to hear Moran with the Armando Cupo orchestra singing  “Mas Solo Que Nunca” (more alone than ever) written by Federico Leone in 1944 (lyrics by Enrique Dizeo)