Archive for the ‘ Female ’ Category

1912, January 6 – BIRTH OF CARMELITA AUBERT

Singer (Capricorn) – when Carmelita Aubert sang the tango “Clemencia”(forgiveness) in the film “Abajo Los Hombres” it was a coded message seeking a pardon for the miners who had participated in the legendary “Astruias Uprising” which director Valentin R. Gonzalez, a supporter of the Republic, had inserted into the film…authorities saw through it and the tango was censured… these were tense and chaotic days in Spain, one year before the outbreak of the tragic Spanish Civil War whose carnage would cost 500, 000 lives and wounds that would take generations to heal…when Carmencita returned to Spain on October 6, 1944 from self-exile in Portugal, she was immediately arrested…when the news reached Portugal, her beloved, loyal fans engaged in spontaneous and protracted demonstrations in front of the Spanish embassy and the news became front page headlines around the world…20 days later the Franco dictatorship gave in and released Carmelita

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Carmelita Aubert was born in Barcelona, to a mother who was a well-known vaudeville actress and dancer…early on it became obvious that Carmelita loved to sing and dance and she enrolled her in the noted Cariteu Academy...her break came when legendary comedic actor Carlos Saldana “Alady” happen to hear her sing and was immediately impressed with her gifted voice and ability to connect with the public…19 year old Carmelita  found herself performing along side “Alady” in her debut with him at the sea port resort town of Arenys De Mar…in Barcelona she made her first tango recording, “Con Todo Amor”, with Mario Visconti,  a young singer and guitarist; she was praised by the magazine “El Tango De Moda”…she starred in her first movie “Mercedes”  in 1932 , where her screen partner was Argentinean singer and song writer Hector Morel; the film was an enormous success…two tangos from the film, “Alma de Tango” and the waltz “Mercedes” became big hits on radio but her “mystique”, that elusive, coveted quality, emanated when she sang the “Cocaina En Flor (cocaine in flower) radio perfume ads.

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1911, December 31 – BIRTH OF AMANDA LEDESMA

Singer (Capricorn) – working  in a dress shop, shy Amanda was beloved by the customers for her sweetness and her attentive service…when she was not working she was singing but she did not think she was particularly good; she just hoped some day the right boy would ask her to get married and take her away…her friends would ask her to sing at their celebrations…one day one of them  told her about a singing contest at the Gaumont Theater and encouraged her to enter but she was highly reluctant; eventually she was convinced…she did not win but a director of the renown Radio Prieto happened to be present, like her voice and ask her to do a tryout at the stati0n…for her debut she sang “Alma En Pena” where she was accompanied by non other than Miguel Calò on piano…it was a success and invitations from other radio stations followed and then performances in the one-act theater farces which were all the rage at the time…

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Eventually Luis Moglia Barth picked her for his second film “Dancing” which was a box office failure; still Amanda was one of the few bright spots in the film…in her career she would star in 21 films…for her first recording in 1937 she sang “Condena” and the waltz “Primavera”…She was to see her greatest success however, in Mexico to where she moved in 1942…there she was “The Blond Goddess of Tango”, an image she cured assiduously by dyeing her hair blond and taking  fanatical care of her skin that it remain white…indeed it was rumored a film contract stipulated that she was never to sunbathe….for her appearances she tended to dress in white; never provocative….her film “Cuando Quiere Un Mexicano” in 1944 with Mexican singer and Latin American heart throb Jorge Negrete skyrocketed her fame….she was the first Argentinean star to move to Mexico to further her career; many others were to follow including the legendary Libertad Lamarque….in 1956 at the age of 45 apparently she had had enough and returned to Argentina and retired

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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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1969, December 4 – Goyeneche Records “BALLADA PARA UN LOCO”

In the classic film “King of Hearts” (1966) the residents of a small French village during World War I leave because the Germans plan to bomb the village…the inmates of the local insane asylum take over the village and create a festive, gay, surreal, make belief atmosphere totally oblivious to the war; the message of the film is, perhaps normal people are more crazy than those in the asylum…it is precisely this film which inspired Horacio Ferrer to write music…when the piece was premiered by Amelia Baltazar at the Buenos Aires Tango Festival, it created a great controversy because many did not see it as real tango and even hissed at it while Amelia was singing it…it was leading in the voting on the final day but the controversy forced the judges to give it second place instead…when “Balada Para Un Loco” was recorded, it was a great hit selling over 200,000 in the first week alone

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Horacio Ferrer was born June 2, 1933 in Montevideo, Uruguay (Gemini) to a cultured family; his father was a professor of history and his mother, who was eleven years older than his father, spoke four languages…already as a child, he started writing his first poems, simple plays and even milongas to which he accompanied himself on guitar…at the age of 20 his was invited to participate on a weekly radio program called “A Selection of Tangos”…he soon started a groundbreaking magazine called “Tangueando” which he wrote and illustrated himself…in 1970 he wrote “Book of the Tango, Peoples Art of  Buenos Aires”its three volumes and more than 2000 pages is one of the most complete works on tango in history…he has collaborated with Astor Piazzolla on a number of hits; one writer called them “the Lennon – MaCarthy team of tango”

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  • CLICK HERE – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0DBmUoy6Q2c to hear Roberto “Polaco” Goyeneche sing one of his great hits “Ballada Para Un Loco” with lyrics by Horacio Ferrer and music by Astor Piazzolla

1888, November 26 – BIRTH OF FRANCISCO CANARO

Composer, Leader, Violinist (Sagittarius) – born into extreme poverty in the city of San Jose de Mayo, Uruguay he would grow to become the richest man in tango history so much so that a popular saying arose “he has more money than Canaro”…he left school very early, he had no choice, he had to work; his parents, immigrants from Rovigo, Italy had eight children…he was mesmerized by the violin; his first violin he constructed himself from an old oil can with which he would play on the streets to earn money…years later he would recall with tenderness, the patch quilt cloth case his mother had made for his “violin”; at the age of 18 he finally bought himself a real violin…his first gig was in a seedy bar in the outskirts of Buenos Aires where gun fire to resolve arguments was not uncommon…in 1908 he composed his first tango “Pinta Brava”,  many more were to follow including great hits however many other tangos attributed to him, he actually bought from destitute composers…

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No one is sure how many recordings he made but the estimates range from 3500 to 7000…in 1924 he pioneered the idea of having a singer in the orchestra but only to sing the “estribillo” the bridge or the main section of each tango…by 1915 his orchestra was immensely popular; so popular that he created three orchestras with his name which performed simultaneously around Buenos Aires…his one area of failure was the film industry; his film company Rio de la Plata had only one film that made money, “Idolos De La Radio”…….some time in late 1920s he began his affair with the legendary Ada Falcon who was very much in love with him…when he realizes how much money he would lose in a divorce, he reneged on his promise to marry Ada…at one point his wife actually threatened Ada by pointing a gun to her head…it has been speculated that Ada’s sudden  retirement from show business at the height of her career to enter a convent was related to her broken heart and this incident

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  • CLICK HERE – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LYJJQqoE3Dw to hear the Francisco Canaro Orchestra play “Yo No Se Que Me Han Hechos Tus Ojos” (I don’t understand what your eyes have done to me) with  music and lyrics by Francisco Canaro

1908, November 24 – BIRTH OF LIBERTAD LAMARQUE

Singer (Sagittarius) – by the age of 18 she was already a professional actress on radio and theater, had made her first recording, had married, given birth to a daughter and was in the middle of a difficult divorce;…she was to have a long, highly successful career becoming the first female super star of tango and along the way enduring a series of seemingly never-ending mishaps…in 1935 she may have tried to commit suicide by jumping from a building, luckily an awning broke her fall and saved her life…born in Rosario Argentina, she was the daughter Gaudencio, a son of French immigrants (originally to Uruguay), who married a woman with six children; Libertad was their only mutual child…Gaudencio was a tinsmith by day and a cultured fiery political anarchist by night; in fact Libertad grew up in a household full of music, literature and fashionable ideas…

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Gaudencio started his daughter in theater at the age of seven where she frequently acted in his own plays full of provocative  ideas…Libertad was beloved by the public and when she was 12, Gaudencio decided that she was ready for Buenos Aires and so he moved the tinsmith shop and the whole family there…with a letter of introduction in hand from a journalist she was given a small role in the famous Teatro Nacional; she never stopped working…she married a theater promoter with whom she had a daughter but quite soon she realized it was a mistake and she would seek a divorce…during the shooting of the film “La Cabalgata del Circo” she got into a  argument with actress Eva Duarte “Evita” whom myth states that she slapped and which resulted in Libertad being blackballed…Libertad, in her autobiography, would deny that she had ever slapped Evita and Evita woul later denied any involvement in  her being ostracized but nevertheless all avenues in Argentina were inexplicably closed to her….Liberta emigrated to Mexico where she was eventually adored and worship to such a degree that Mexicans considered her one of their own; in fact it was from this venue that she would become an internationally beloved star…the output in her career is mind-boggling, over 800 recordings, 65 films and even the screenwriter for her film “Ayudame a Vivir”…she died at the age of 92 in Mexico City while performing in a “telenovela”

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