Archive for the ‘ Recordings ’ Category

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

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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.

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1861, February 16 – BIRTH OF ANGEL VILLOLDO

Singer, Lyricist, Guitarist, Pianist, Violinist, Harmonica (Aquarius) – he was a fascinating man, a sort of Ernest Hemingway and Bob Dylan all in one…he was a prolific composer and lyricist having written some of the most beloved tangos in history….his immortal tango “El Choclo” was so ubiquitous that during World War I, German officers wishing to honor a visiting Argentinean dignitary mistakenly played El Choclo believing it to be the national anthem…year later Carlos Disarli would record one of its most successful versions in history…it continues to our very day to be one of the most instantly recognized pieces of music in history and yet when it premiered at the exclusive “El Americano” restaurant in Buenos Aires, the leader of the orchestra had to disguise it by calling it “Danza Criolla” as the owner did not like tango music…Angel Villoldo was born into a destitute family in the neighborhood of Barracas…he quit school early to work and did many types of jobs including teamster, herdsman, topographer, writer and circus clown….

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But he heard music always in his mind and when he was guiding his team of horses through the mud or hostile elements he was composing in his head….he began acquiring fame performing his composition while accompanying himself with guitar and harmonica in the local cafes and bars; in 1889  he published “Cantos Criollos” a book of lyrics meant to be sung with guitar accompaniment….interestingly, he invented the apparatus which allows the playing of the harmonica while strumming the guitar which many years later would become the symbol of a young, tormented Bob Dylan…he wrote a sort of popular comics which were full of wit and sarcasm using the argot from the lowest rung of society…he devised a method of learning to play guitar using symbols called “Metodo America” which he published in 1917…his first tango hit “El Portenito”, was sung by Dorita Miramar in 1903 on the stage of the Parisien Varitè Show featured at the legenday Moulin Rouge…his “Cantar Eterno” was an early hit for the RazzanoGardel duo in 1917…for Gath and Chaves, he traveled to France to use state of the art recording equipment to record tangos and helped popularize tango in France; he wrote the lyrics for “La Morocha” which was the first beloved tango in Europe…and finally, he left as he came, poor, when he was run over by a tram at the age of 58

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1940, February 15 – ROBERTO RUFFINO RECORDS “ALMA MIA”

The lovelorn boy in “Alma Mia” says, “dear heart who are you dreaming of…I have come to disrupt your peace…but oh, don’t blame me, for you see I am a bard…whose only wish is to weave into your sweet dream, a porteno lyric inebriated with love” …this was a major hit for singer Roberto Ruffino; he was 18 years old and earning sums of money he had never dreamt of…in the late 50s, with the tango fashion now waining, he would begin a second simultaneous career as a pop singer under the alias “Bobby Terré” on Radio El Mundo and when he sang before its live audiences he would wear a mask and be billed as the “Masked Bobby Terre”…he was born January 6, 1922 in the mythical neighborhood of El Abasto, Buenos Aires…he began singing in the Cafe O’Rondeman, the same one that launched Carlos Gardel.

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His major break came in 1938 when Carlos Garay, the agent for Carlos Di Sarli, happened to hear Ruffino singing and liked what he heard; he recommended him to Di Sarli..his first recording with Di Sarli, “Corazon” with lyrics by Hector Marcò which he recorded on December 11, 1939 was a hit…he would record 46 tangos with Di Sarli…In 1944 he launched a solo career debuting on Radio Belgrano where he was backed by his own orchestra directed by the respected Atilo Bruni…he had brief stints with the  Francini-Pontier, Miguel Calo and Anibal Troilo orchestras…he was also an accomplished composer and lyricist of popular tangos like Sonemos which was recorded by Hugo Duval with the Rodolfo Biagi orchestra and “El Bazar de Los Jugetes” which was recorded by Alberto Podestà with the Miguel Calò orchestra.

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1891, February 13 – BIRTH OF IGNACIO CORSINI

Singer, Composer, Poet (Aquarius) – Soccorro Salamone was desperate, for not only was she poor but the blemish of being an unwed mother meant that her young son Ignacio did not have much of a future; his father, a certain “Corsini” had disappeared as soon as he found out that she was pregnant…….these were tough time in the ancient greek town of Troina, Sicily whose historical relics date back to the 7th Millenium BC…40 years later, Troina would be the seat of a famous World War II battle between Nazi and Allied forces commanded by General George S. Patton…..one day, mustering tremendous courage, young Soccorro with little Ignacio in tow, mounted a horse carriage and descended Troina to begin the long journey to Naples where she boarded a ship to Buenos Aires…she settled in the neighborhood of Almagro and began working long hours as a washer woman…when Ignacio was ten years old they moved to the country where the boy began working as a herdsman and ox driver…many years later, reflecting on those long solitary hours in the countryside, Ignacio Corsini, now a famous and successful singer would say, “birds taught me the spontaneity of their singing, in the great scenery of nature…to sing like them, naturally with no effort”…

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Around the age of 17 he met a circus clown Jose Pacheco who introduced him to the theater and by the age of 21 he had already achieved a certain amount of fame and prestige…from Pacheco he obtained one other thing, his daughter Victoria whom he would marry in 1911…in his autobiography he would write that it was, above all, her encouragement during difficult times that was responsible for his success; he would remain loyal to her for his whole life…On May 12, 1922, in the one-act play “El Bailarin del Cabaret”, he premiered “Patotero Sentimental” which was his first major hit…his only composition to become successful was “Tristeza Criolla” which in the 40s was a major hit for singer Angel Vargas…Above all, it was his renditions of the creations of the team of Enrique Maciel as composer and Hector Blomberg as  lyricist which would make his name legendary…the loss of his wife from a debilitating disease left him sad and embittered; she was his whole life…dedicating his performance to her, he sang for the last time on May 28, 1949 on the show “Argentinidad” on Radio Belgrano

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1998, February 12 – PREMIERE OF SAURA’S “TANGO”

Mario is devastated, his wife has left him for another man and to make matter worse, he has to see them together every day as they are dancers in the tango film he is making…the financier of the film, a powerful and dangerous man, asks him to give a part to Elena, a young, beautiful dancer who is his lover (Elena is played by Mia Maestro who would later star in “Frida”, another film with a tango scene in it)…Mario eventually falls in love with her and the two begin an affair together risking both their lives; in the mean time, the making of the tango film goes on….it is roughly a remake of the mythical Moglia Barth “Tango” of 1933…it won a nomination for an academy award and has won awards in film festivals all over the world primarily for the dancing and the cinematography which was created by academy award-winning Vittorio Storaro who also did “Last Tango In Paris”…”Tango”, one of the best tango films of all time was directed by renown Spanish director Carlos Saura, famous for his combination of passion and dance in films like  ”Carmen” and “Flamenco”…Janet Maslin, the New York Times critic was to write of the film, “Tango offers transfixingly beautiful glimpses of the dance and all the wide range of emotions it can conjure”

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One of the most exciting scenes in the film occurs when mythical tanguero Juan Carlos Copes dances with his daughter Joanna Copes…Copes is one of the last remaining of the great, authentic, tangueros of the golden era who has done everything in tango for 50 years…he began dancing as a young boy in the bars and clubs of Buenos Aires; his hero was Gene Kelly …but he had decided on a career as an electronic engineer when at the age of 20 he happened to win a tango contest in which 300 couples were competing…it launched a career which would take him all over the world…the film also featured a young singer Roxanne Fontana who would  go on to become one of the most gifted and versatile  tango singers in history…”Tango” includes a clip from the 1955 classic “Mercado De Abasto” in which Tita Merello sings her great hit “Se Dice De Mi”…Juan Carlos Copes got to meet his hero Gene Kelly who summoned him to his house in his waning days … “tango”, Copes  says, “is the only dance that allows imagination and creativity to form in three minutes and to become a history of love and of hate”.

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1943, February 11 – Beron Records “ME LLAMAN EL ZORRO”

Performing with the Lucio Demare Orchestra, this was another great hit for singer Raul Beron who in the eyes of some cognoscenti, was the greatest orchestra singer of all time…the lyrics are the boasting of a young man, born in La Boca, who is a dashing and debonair rogue who thrives on adversity and loves his life of adventure...”I am a tanguero from the old school and I carry tango in my soul…they call me Zorro”, he says…lyricist Roberto Lambertucci was inspired by the legend of Zorro which was created by New York pulp writer Johnston McCulley in 1919 and which has inspired books, films and other media…it in turn may have been inspired by the real life character Joaquim Carillo Murrieta who was a legendary figure in California during the gold rush who became a robin hood type hero to Mexicans battling racism and discrimination…a reward was offered by the California legislature to capture and kill Murrieta…when he was finally apprehended and executed without due process, his head was severed and placed in a jar of  alcohol as proof of his death to collect the reward

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The severed head in a jar toured California and could be seen for the price of one dollar…among Zorro’s many manifestations is the 1925 film “Don Q Son of Zorro” starring Douglas Fairbanks and Mary Astor in which Zorro dances a Valentino style tango..in the 1998 film “The Mark of Zorro” starring Antonio Banderas and Catherine Zeta-Jones, there is a scene in which Catherine Zeta-Jones dances a passionate dance which is a hodge podge of tango and passo doble…Raul Beron, born March 30, 1920 (Aries) in the town of Zarate, Argentina, began performing in duet with his brother Jose in the local cafes and bars for spare change…it was during one of his non remunerated performances on radio, that orchestra leader Miguel Calò heard him and invited him for an audition; he hire him immediately…his first recording with Calo on April 29, 1942, “Al Compas Del Corazon”, became an instant  great hit and launched Raul on the road to legendary status.

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  • CLICK HERE– http://www.youtube.com/
  • watch?v=rckflM7IV6k to hear Raul Beron sing his hit “Me Llaman El Zorro” with the Lucio Demare orchestra…music is by Mario Perini and lyrics by Roberto Lambertucci

1950, February 8 – BIRTH OF MIMI CHO

Singer (Aquarius) – the final diagnosis was in, he had accepted his fate; he was at peace even as his days were diminishing…he asked his beloved wife to record a CD of her inspirational music for him, “in this way I can hear your voice in heaven”, he said to her…these were immensely trying times for Mimi Cho; she would be left with the care and upbringing of her three daughters and one son; her deep faith would help carry her through…the same faith that helped the whole family move from South Korea to Argentina in 1988…it was her deep faith which she expressed singing in the choir of the Evangelist church…it had been her husband, in his supportive and loving way, to encouraged Mimi to enroll in the Franz Liszt Musical Studies Center to study opera with Aldo Moroni…one day while walking in her neighborhood of Villa Crespo (birth place of the legendary Osvaldo Pugliese), she heard Carlos Gardel singing “Mi Buenso Aires Querido” and it made her heart bleed, something had changed; tango was to be her destiny…

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With typical determination and discipline, she immersed herself into a serious study of its history, the dance, the orchestras, the music…she began taking lessons with the legendary Maestro Jose Colangelo who time later would say about Mimi “she was born to sing tango, she has the voice of an angel”…she then rounded off her preparation with Maria Eugenia Darrè, with whom she studied for 5 years…after years of study and dedication, the fateful day in 2005  had finally arrived; she did her first tango concert at the mythical Cafe Tortoni where she shared the stage with legendary poet Horacio Ferrer; the reception from its demanding audience was enthusiastic..“Never in my wildest dreams did I believe that one day I would be singing tango at Cafe Tortoni she commented afterwards…the next year she was invited to sing at the Bar Illustre de Buenos Aires; other venues were to follow…she is inspired by Susana Rinaldi, Luis Salinas and especially maestro Mariano Mores…with customary humility and gentleness in her voice she says “my ultimate dream is to sing at Carnegie Hall in New  York”

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1913, February 4 – BIRTH OF SABINA OLMOS

Singer (Aquarius) – another day was dawning, another sleepless night…she looked round the sparse, unkempt  room…on the night stand was the picture of her beloved Charlo…her thin, wrinkled hand was trembling as she slipped her wedding ring into her finger; the same  ring that her dear friend Eva Peron had given her so long ago…she opened the balcony door, walked to the edge, carefully climbed over the railing and jumped to her death…..many years had passed for Sabina Olmos since that young, happy girl full of dreams was working in the department store Casa San Juan and where in between attending customers she loved to sing…a customer had spoken about her to renown singer Amanda Ledesma who recommended her to radio station Radio Buenos Aires…the response from the public was enthusiastic; it was the beginning of a dazzling career…

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She was born in the Jewish neighborhood of Once (Balvanera), in Buenos Aires the birth place of  the great Juan D’arienzo…begining with a small part in“Canillita” at the age of 23, she would do 30 films in her career …perhaps her best film would be “Asi Es La Vida” which made her famous in all of Latin America and for which she won “Best Supporting Dramatic Actress” from the city of Buenos Aires…In the film “Carnaval de Antano” she sang with the legendary Charlo who would become the love of her life; they married in 1952…she never stopped loving him even after they divorced 17 years later and even after she accused him of having ruined her; she never had any children…she was a friend of Eva Peron and after the overthrow of Juan Peron she was blackballed….she and Charlo earned rave reviews singing in long tours abroad…she lived two years in Spain taking time to tour the US and Latin America always in grandest of opulence…but for the last 20 years of her life she endured one vicissitude after another; she was practically alone and forgotten living on the edge of poverty from a small pension…that fateful morning, the note she left on the table read, “please forgive me for my decision and please pardon me for the occasional bother  that I have been”.

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CLICK HERE – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6dqQRl7dYeM to see Sabina Olmos sing “Muchachita Del Campo” composed by Francisco Lomuto with  lyrics by film director Manuel Romero

1955, February 3 – PREMIERE “MERCADO DE ABASTO”

In the film, Pauline rushes home to tell her beloved that she is pregnant; he is gone and has taken her money to feed his gambling vice…meanwhile in the market of Abasto where she works, a fruit vender who has been secretly in love with her for many years, helps her…later, believing himself to be on his death-bed, he offers to marry Pauline so that she and her child can inherit his modest wealth…still later the unscrupulous gambler returns hoping to reunite with Pauline; she decides to stay with the fruit vender…Tita Merello is Pauline…in reali life she was always Pauline and in fact she says, “My best character is the interpretation of my own self”…she had a tough childhood, abandoned early on to a series of orphanages…“my childhood was short, sad and ugly” ; she once admitted, without shame, to having had to resort to prostitution  to survive…Tita Merello was to be a woman of many men, but her true love was only one, actor Luis Sandrini whom she met on the set of her first film in 1933, “Tango”…after ten years of marrigae, he would leave her  for a younger actress..

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In the film Tita sings her hit milonga “Se Dice De Mi” which is one of the most viewed and instantly recognized scenes in all tango film history; it would be inserted in 1998 into Carlos Saura’s academy award nominated “Tango”...premiering at the Gran Rex Theater in Buenos Aires, Mercado De Abasto was directed by Lucas Demare, brother of legendary composer Lucio Demare..born July 14, 1910 (Cancer), Lucas was one of the pioneers of Argentine film history; he directed and wrote more than 40 films in his career…he was the son of an Italian immigrant father who was himself a violinist…the market of Abasto in Buenos Aires is one of the pivotal areas in tango history…at the turn of the century it was a beehive of human activity; of the kind where tango was born…brimming with cheap cafes and bars, pizza joints, itinerant musicians, prostitutes and frequent  knifefights, everything imaginable was bought and sold …Carlos Gardel grew up in the area, as did the director himself Lucas Demare as well as legendary musician and composer Horacio Salgan…the film “El Cantor del Pueblo” was also shot in the  market of Abasto…

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  • CLICK HERE –http://www.youtube.com/
  • watch?v=-sEUiCMLc0o to see a clip from the film “Mercado de Abasto” in which Tita Merello sing her great hit  “Se Dice De Mi composed by Francisco Lomuto and lyrics by Antonio Botta; the rendition is by the Francisco Canaro Orchestra

1898, January 31 – BIRTH OF MARIA LUISA CARNELLI

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…

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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”

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