Archive for the ‘ Singers ’ Category

1913, March 10 – BIRTH OF ENRIQUE CAMPOS

Singer (Pisces) – he was torn by the whole idea; he had already spent years with a stage name and now Ricardo Tanturi was telling him he had to change it again but the chance to replace the renown Alberto Castillo with his “Los Indios Orchestra” in Buenos Aires was a major break and so he reluctantly aquiesced…Ricardo Tanturi opened the phone book at random, scanned the page and said, “ah, here it is ‘Enrique Campos’”…ludicrous as the whole scene was, it embarked the realization of his boyhood dreams…he debuted with Tanturi on Radio El Mundo to critical acclaim and soon after, he made his first recording; on one side “Muchachos Comienza la Ronda” by Luis Porcell and on the other side the waltz “Al Pasar” by Raul Iglesias…a dedicated family man, many years later reflecting on a long and full career, he would recall that, that was also the year that he met his beloved wife with whom he would raise a proud and successful family

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He was born Enrique Troncone to struggling Italian immigrants in the outskirts of Montevideo, Uruguay…his parents noticed him musical talent on and encouraged him as far their humble means could permit…he began singing at a very young age in the local bars and cafes while during the day time doing all sorts of odd jobs to help support the family…his professional debut came relatively late for a singer of that era; it happened at the Cinema Helvetico in the village of Colonia Suisa, originally a swiss and german settlement; he was twenty-three years old…his first break came when he was called by Radio Station CX 18 and in March of that year he debuted on the station’s popular program“Caramelos Surtidos” with two guitarists; the telephones began to ring at the radio station and his popularity began to skyrocket…in his career he would sing with a number of orchestras and make several hit recordings; he starred in one film “Radio Candelario” which premiered at Radio City Cinema on August 21, 1939

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  • CLICK HERE –

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6YAxXDtbI0s&feature=related to hear Enrique Campos sing “Oigo Tu Voz” (I hear your voice) with the Ricardo Tanturi Orchestra…music by Mario Canaro, lyrics by Francisco Garcia Jimenez

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1934, March 5 – GARDEL SINGS ON NBC, NEW YORK, 3 PM

This was one of the very first broadcasts of its kind in history…while Carlos Gardel was singing at  the NBC studios in New York, through a short wave radio hook-up, he was being accompanied by his long time guitarists Guillermo Barbieri and Angel Riverol back in Buenos Aires…the performance was being transmitted throughout Argentina by Radio Splendido transmitters and throughout South America through its affiliated radio stations with the assistance of Radio Belgran0…he had sung for the first time on NBC just a few months earlier, on new year’s eve, December 31 at 10.30 PM…his break had come during  the previous summer when he had met fellow Uruguayan, Hugo Mariani on vacation; Hugo was one of the key NBC orchestra conductor’s and had evaluated Gardel over a series of performances until one day he said, “Carlos, I think you are ready for New York”…this was a dream come true for Gardel; NBC was the most popular radio station in the world and the US market the most prestigious…

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The initial performance had gone so well that Gardel was given a contract to sing a series of weekly half hour performances; NBC was paying him $315.00 per week…this was a huge sum of money for a nation which was in the throes of a deep depression…newspaper mentions of his performances appeared all over the country along side the names of Jack Benny, Charlie Chaplain, Will Rogers, Eddie Cantor…NBC made an effort to sell Gardel to the broader American market by recording him in English but in the end, they gave up on the project; his English was not very good…his translater in New York was a thirteen year old bandoneonist by the name of Astor Piazzolla whose father had moved the family to New York some years earlier….Gardel was so impressed with young Astor’s talent that he had him accompany him on the NBC Symphony Orchestra for recording sessions…he also invited Astor to accompany him to on his forthcoming tour of South America but because of Astor’s young age his father finally did not give his consent…just a few months later Gardel would die in the fiery airplane crash in the Medellin, Colombia where all, save one guitarist, would perish

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1900, March 2 – BIRTH OF KURT WEILL

“Hurry, hurry Kurt…we have little time to waste, the car is waiting” he heard his friend’s panicked voice cry out; Kurt hastily grabbed the sketches of the second symphony he had been working on and with nothing but the clothes on his back, he rushed out…in fact merely  hours later the Gestapo arrived at his door but by now he was on his way to Paris: it was March of 1933…just months later, for the play “Marie Galante”, he would compose the immortal “Youkali Tango” whose mesmerizing lyrics say, “Youkali is the land of our desires, happiness, pleasure…Youkali is the land where we forget all of our worries…the star we follow is, Youkali…but it is a dream,a folly for there is no Youkali”…in his short and troubled life, he witnessed the turbulent, first 50 years of the twentieth century;  a period of political instability, upheaval and decadence leading to human carnage as the world had never seen before…Kurt would leave a substantial and varied body of work  including cantatas, chamber music, orchestral works, songs, musicals…perhaps his best known ballad is “Mack the Knife” which would be a massive hit for Bobby Darin

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His most famous pieces are the stage works he wrote in collaboration with playwrite Bertold Brechtoddly their estrangement would come finally over politics; Kurt was a passionate socialist, Bertold a passionate communist…he was born in the industrial city of Dessau, Germany…his father a synagogue cantor and composer gave him his first music lessons…young Kurt soon earned the nickname of the “attic composer” for his habit of secluding himself in the attic to compose…in September of 1935 he sailed for New York to work on Broadway where among others he would work with Ira Gershwin…the relationship with his beloved wife Lotte Lenya was turbulent and one day she ran away with Austrian tenor Baron Otto Von Pasetti and the couple divorced; four years later they would remarry…she would become a passionate supporter of his work…observing the intense and often violent encounters of political parties after World War I,  Kurt was to write ominously “the mob is just waiting for the call to pillage and revolt and their favorite target will be the jews”

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1929, March 1 – GARDEL RECORDS “CRUZ DE PALO”

“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…

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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.

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1886, February 28 – BIRTH OF ANTONIO SCATASSO

Leader, Composer, Bandoneonist (Pisces) – he was rough and uncouth in his manner and in his dealings with people which sometimes caused heads to shake a little…with little education of any kind, he was a survivor of the streets but inside his restless soul resided a gifted musician…at the age of four, his destitute family had emigrated from Naples, Italy to Buenos Aires in the hope of a better life…Antonio learned to play the mandolin, the guitar, and the bandoneon with almost no training of any kind; later he would become a composer of simple and melodic tangos much beloved by the public especially theater audiences…his professional debut, around 1907 with the mandolin alongside violinist and future legend, Francisco Canaro…later he performed at the Cafe Parque but this time on bandoneon which he had mastered in a short period of time…

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In 1933 he met Ignacio Corsini at the Teatro Smart; a long and productive friendship and collaboration would follow including some notable performances on Radio Nacion…in the early part of the century, stage plays were the preferred method of entertainment and it was also the preferred setting to debut a new tango…a successful debut of a new tango in a stage play could mean fame and fortune for a composer…this was exactly the dream of Antonio when he premiered his tango “El Ciego” in the play “Chi Lo Sa” written by Cesar Bourel which premiered at the Apollo Theater in Buenos Aires…he would remain close to the theater for his whole life, in his later year strictly in management…among his numerous compositions were some great hits for some of which he not only composed he music but write the lyrics as well…in his career he would back up legends like Tita Merello, Ernesto Fama, Azucena Maizani

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1915, February 27 – BIRTH OF OLAVI VIRTA

Singer, Composer, Lyricist (Pisces) – A silence fell on the theater at the sight of this decrepit, thin, man being helped on to the stage where he shuffled to the microphone with the help of a cane; the audience was stunned…so this was what had become of the legendary King of Finnish Tango, Olavi Virta…but when he began to sing the Olavi that had been so beloved came back, his voice, his manner, the sensitivity that had made his “Tango Desiree” popular all over Europe…there was a sadness in the enthsusiastic applause that followed and more than one misty eye…in a few months time, in a state of absolute poverty, he  would be dead from diabetes and cirrhosis of the liver; he was 57 years old…Olavi Virta was born in the town of  Sysma, Finland to a father who was a cobbler and a mother who was a seamstress but it was a musical family; both his father and his grandfather were singers…his parents however, would divorce when he was still young…from an early age he was interested in music and at the age of eight he began taking violin lessons; he joined the youth orchestra and the choir of the local church Sornaisten…

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His first taste of notoriety occurred at a masked ball where, dressed as a clown, he sang“Orchids to My Lady”; the response from the audience was enthusiastic…he soon won a contest singing three songs including “La Cumparsita”…basically self taught, he dreamt of singing opera like his idol Beniamino Gigli…his first break came in 1937 when he was recruited by Harold Rainbow Orchestra; he recorded for the first time the following year…in 1939 he starred his first film “Rich Girl”…begining in 1940 his career would explode with performances, films, theatrical productions to a degree that went beyond his dreams; he was called a “living legend”…but it was also a time when his drinking began to increase…he met Dorthy Irene Kaarela with whom he would marry and have three children but his worsening alcoholism took its toll and after fifteen years of marriage she left him…he was known for his beloved Ford Fairlane which he drove fast while swigging his bottle of whiskey…Olavi Virta’s career was cut short by a scandalous arrest for drunken driving in 1962, it was continuously talked about in the press which mockingly called him “The Singing Meatball.”; he never really recovered from it.

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1887, February 25 – BIRTH OF JOSE RAZZANO

Singer, Composer, Guitarist (Pisces) – at the end of negotiations with the renown Club ArmenonvilleCarlos Gardel boyishly leaned forward to hear the results from his partner Jose Razzano, “Well, what do we have he asked” rubbing his hands together,“Seventy pesos” answered Jose, “Per month?”asked Gardel happily, “No, per night” added Jose,“Well” said Gardel incredulously “for that sum, I’ll even wash the dishes”…besides being an extraordinary musician Jose Razzano was a keen business man and crack negotiator…the singing duo of Gardel – Razzano would be immensely successful locally and abroad; they toured  Uruguay, Brasil, Chile and Spain in whose capital Madrid, sang to packed audiences…they met at a singing contest at which an aspiring Gardel generously complimented Jose on his singing voice; it was that night that the idea of combining their talents first emerged…they debuted together at the celebrated Teatro Nacional in 1914 to great acclaim; their performance schedule became immensely busy

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Jose Razzano was born in Montevideo to a poor immigrant italian family…when he was two years old, his father’s died suddenly and his desperate mother moved the family to the neighborhood of Balvanera in Buenos Aires… from a very early age Jose demonstrated keen musical ability and with much sacrifice his mother enrolled him in guitar lessons…at age eight he was already performing for neighborhood audiences…in 1925 tragedy struck when he developed a problem with his throat and he had to give up singing…he then began to devote himself exclusively to managing Carlos Gardel’s career which often meant paying off Gardel’s considerable race horse gambling obligations…later would come a bitter separation from Gardel which gave rise to many malicious rumors nevertheless the legendary singer Charlo hired Jose as his manager…Joe would accompany Charlo on a toursof latin america and the United States

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