Archive for the ‘ Aquarius ’ Category

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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1926, January 29 – BIRTH OF ROBERTO GOYENECHE

Singer (Aquarius) – crushed by the death of his devoted mother in 1949, he vows to never sing again and to devote himself exclusively to his bus driving activity and the care of his two young sons; neverthless he loves to sing as he drives….one fateful day an agent for Horacio Salgan happens to board the bus and is amazed by the driver’s voice; he tells Horacio about him who promptly summons him for an audition and hires him on the spot…this would lead later to his association with Anibal Troilo, who would become a dear friend, and with whom his prodigious talent would begin to blossom…much later, after a life time of often heartbreaking disappointments,  basking in the fruits of stardom, he will be called “a living legend” …in his career his name would be associated with 2,500 songs and 101 LPs… among his greatest hits were “La Ultima Curda”, “Malena”, “Garua”, “Naranjo en Flor” and in the eyes of some, his greatest hit of all, “Balada Para Un Loco”…Roberto Goyeneche was born in the neighborhood of Saavedra, in Buenos Aires, a place whose streets were brimming with tango music…as a child he was called “canary” because of his blond hair and blue eyes.

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His father owned an upholstery shop and in the evening he would relax by playing the piano and listening to his prized collection of Carlos Gardel recordings…when Roberto was five years old, his father unexpectedly died and the family was devasted; his mother  began working long and tiresome hours as a washer woman to support him and his brother Jorge…Roberto quit school early to work to help support the family; among the jobs he held were being a typist and runner for a law firm, taxi driver and bus driver…at the age of 18 he won a singing contest held at the Club Federal Argentino; a comedian and friend of orchestra, leader Raul Kaplan told him about the thin, blond singer….Roberto soon found himself singing with Kaplun on Radio Belgrano…during the day he would drive his bus and in the evenings he would sing with Kaplun as well as care for his family to whom he was deeply devoted…in 1990 he mentored a wavering Adriana Varela who would go on to become one of the best selling woman tango singer in history…he stared in the films “El Canto Cuenta Su Estoria” in 1976, “El Derecho A La Felicita” in 1968, and ” Sur” in 1988.

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1970 January 28 – BIRTH OF CARLA ALGERI

Composer, Leader, Bandoneonist (Aquarius) – in one of life’s rare mystical moments, one day while she was strolling along Piazza San Martin her curiosity was piqued by a photo exhibit; she was astonished to see that an award-winning photo prominently on display, was in fact a photo of her with her quartet on stage….that was the same quartet with which she had half-heartedly entered in a contest and which, to her amazement, had won first place…there had been a period in her life when she had decided that her beloved tango had an ever diminishing future and she immersed herself  in engineering studies…but from the moment when as a little girl, she had happened upon an ageless bandoneonist with one foot on a water fountain, head bowed, she had developed a love for the sound of the bandoneon…from then on her childhood dream had been playing bandoneon in a Paris subway; many years would pass before she began to fulfill that dream…it was non other than Lidia Pugliese, the wife of Osvaldo Pugliese who had recommended renown bandoneonist Rodolfo Maderos as her first teacher.

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Carla Algeri, descendant of Italian immigrants, was born in the town of Burzaco, just outside of Buenos Aires to a tango tainted family whose members’ asado cookouts were grand occasions of guitar playing, singing and dancing….her grandfather Sebastian was a church organ repairman and a respected operatic barritone and great fan of Tito Schipa…on New Years Day, it was the family custom to play Osvaldo Pugliese’s classic “La Yumba” in ritual-like manner to invoke good luck…with loving support from her father, she started studying first guitar and then piano; for a time Pugliese himself was her teacher…in an act of bravado, it would be she, years late, to suggest to Maestro Maderos  to form his own orchestra…along with Carla, they debuted at the San Miguel Palace…Maderos had become a paternal figure to her and one day he encouraged her to launch a solo career…with tremendous will and sacrifice, all the while caring for her two beloved sons, she began knocking on doors; out of her devotion and talent emerged several key mentors…She would become the musical director for the show  ”Buenos Aires de Tango” with which she toured Europe and Latin America ….in Medellin, Colombia, the place of Gardel’s  fatal airplane crash, she formed a tango orchestra and a bandoneon school… in 2010 she formed her own tango orchestra which has been widely haled…she says, “from the moment I open my eyes each morning, I am certain of two things, the love for my two sons Sebastian and Nicola and my love for tango”

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1842, January 22 – BIRTH OF ELOISA DE SILVA

Eloisa de Silva (Aquarius)came into contact with Argentina when she accompanied her father to Brasil to sell beef to feed the slaves…in the port of Buenos Aires she was first exposed to Tango and was immediately enthralled with the music; years later she would become the  first women in history to compose a tango…Eloisa de Silvia was born in ancient port city of Cadiz in Spain to a noble family; her father was a baron and her maternal grandmother was a duchess from the city of Foggia in the ancient greek province of Apuglia in southern Italy…as a child she showed keen interest in music and her father procured lessons for her with non other than Franz Liszt who was much in demand throughout europe and already in his time it was whispered that he was the greatest pianist of all time…Eloisa so impressed Liszt that he dubbed her “the Chopin in skirts”….at age 13 she played her first concert in Spain at the Teatro Real de Madrid; it was the first of many she would perform in Europe’s most elegant capitols…she would eventually win awards from her majestys Queen Isabel II of Spain and Queen Victoria of England…

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As her father was the owner of large estates in Cuba, she settled there for some time…she developed a mystical connection to the land and people of Cuba and in her letters she liked to assert that she was Cuban…here she continued her musical studies with legendary American pianist Maureu Gottschaulk; she accompanied him to his performance at the Teatro Colon in Buenos Aires in 1868; on a stop over she met dashing, debonair Uruguayan nobleman Federico de Silva, “it was love at first sight” she would recount years later…two years later, she married him in Buenos Aires  at the church of La Piedad in a grand and luxurious ceremony befitting a royal head of Europe and which became part of popular myth for many generations to come…Federico de Silva was president of the philharmonic society and he encouraged his wife’s musical activities…one day he was stunned and outraged to find his wife dabbling in tango; it was the music of the petty criminals and whores….she however secretly continued; her tango compositions include “El Maco”, “El Queco” (whorehouse), Evangelica” (released as cuban tango), “El Mozo Rubio”, “Que Si, Que No”, “Marcha Funebre a Sarmiento” and many others that remain in private collections erroneously authored as “anonymous” …she was an inspiration to the first woman bandoneon player, Paquita Bernardo…she continued composing for many years long after her husband was deceased; she live to the age of 101

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1964, November 25 – JULIO SOSA DIES IN CAR WRECK !

Singer (born February 2, 1926, Aquarius) – his love of fast cars cost him his life, he was 38 years old and at the pinnacle of his career…awaiting him were plans for other films, tours of europe and south america; he was very much in love with a new girlfriend…in the 60s he was the only tango singer who could still command crowds; tango had by now passed from fashion and rock and rock was all the craze….he was born in Las Piedras, Uruguay to a dirt poor family; his father was a day laborer and his mother was a washer woman; Julio himself had to quit school while still very young and he worked at a large variety of menial jobs comforted by the tangos of Radio El Mundo, but in the evenings he would sing at local cafes for spare change; more than once the police would escort him out for he was underaged…the streets matured him quickly where the voice of Carlos Gardel inspired…his first marriage at 16 which all too soon ended….

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His big break came one evening while he was singing at the Los Andes Cafe in Buenos Aires, lyricist Raul Hormaza happened to walk in and was impressed with the young, gaunt singer…an overwhelmed Julio found himself at the elegant Cafe Picadisi auditioning for Armando Pontier one of the most renown orchestras at the time…for Pontier he sang “Tengo Miedo” and that very evening he debuted in a borrowed, ill-fitting suit…but somegthing unexpected happened; people stopped what they were doing to actually listen to Julio sing whose gesticulating, emotional, stage presence was different and mesmerizing…in 1960 he published his book of poems, “Dos Oras Antes Del Alba (Two Hours Before the Dawn) whose stanzas revealed that beyond the strobe lights of success, somehow the pain of his childhood, like that of Tita Merello, had never really been erased from his soul

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2011, April 12 – DVD RELEASE, “RASHEVSKI’S TANGO”

Rosa Rashevski believes that tango can heal the body better than jewish chicken soup; a bold claim considering that scientists and philosophers have mused on the power of jewish chicken soup for generations, nevertheless, she does tell her sons Simon and David to resort to the tango when they’re in need of overcoming their troubles…Rashevski’s Tango is a portrait of three generations of a Jewish family wrestling with issues of identity, love, interfaith marriage and long-held family secrets… the story starts with the death of Rosa, a holocaust survivor who avoided religion and rabbis, so much so that after the holocaust she decided not to circumcise her sons  which is why, upon her death the family is surprised that she had bought a burial site in a Jewish cemetery…her death makes her family engage in individual and collective soul-searching; their relationships to each other shifts in order to fill the empty space left by the formidable Rosa; they also begin to examine their own bond to Judaism…

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Simon and his Christian wife Isabelle fight over whether Simon will be buried in a Jewish cemetery…their daughter Nina wants a Jewish husband, but is falling in love with Antoine, who is not Jewish but at least knows how to tango…Rosa’s grandson Rick is involved with Khadija, a beautiful French Muslim woman, who chides him, “in Palestine you want to kill Arabs, but here you want to marry one”…Rashevski’s Tango was the first feature film for writer director Sam Garbarski …Sam Garbarski was born in Krailling Germany on Februarfy 13, 1948 (Aquarius) but at age 22 he immigrated to Belgium where he settled and acquired citizenship…for more than twenty successful years he led his own advertising agency which produced award winning spots in Cannes, New York and London…the film was a resounding success earning rave reviews from critics across the spectrum…Jewish influence in tango is strong; there were many jewish Argentineans who contributed to the development of tango…two of its greatest Osvaldo Pugliese and Astor Piazzolla were of Italian jewish background

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1955, March 19 – SATCHMO RECORD, “KISS OF FIRE” (EL CHOCLO)

Lester Allen and Robert Hill were basking in the fame and glory of their new hit “Kiss of Fire”, when someone finally noticed that it was oddly similar to the immortal tango “El Choclo”…in fact after intense proceedings they finally conceded that it was in fact “El Choclo” and thereafter, on all sheet music, the name of “Angel Villoldo” the orignal composer, preceded theirs…Kiss of fire was a major hit for Georgia Gibbs in 1952 reaching all the way to number 2 on the Billboard Charts…another popular version was the one by Louis Armstrong “Satchmo” which was recorded on March 19, 1955…other celebrated versions were by Nat King Cole, Connie Francis and in Finland, by the “King of Finnish Tango”, Olavi Virta…seeking to capitalize on the immense popularity of  “Kiss of Fire” a film, directed by Joseph M. Newman and starring Jack Palance, was released in 1955…part of the background music is a flamenco like version of “Kiss of Fire”…

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Angel Villoldo, the original composer of “Kiss of Fire” (El Choclo) was a fascinating man, a sort of Ernest Hemingway and Bob Dylan all in one…he was born on February 16, 1861 into a destitute family in the neighborhood of Barracas, Buenos Aires…he quit school early to work and did many jobs including teamster, herdsman and circus clown before devoting himself to music…..he would become a prolific composer and lyricist of some of the most beloved tangos in history…”El Choclo” became instantly popular all over the world and the story is told that German officers wishing to honor a visiting Argentinean dignitary mistakenly played “El Choclo” believing it to be the national anthem…when it first premiered in the exclusive “El Americano” restaurant in Buenos Aires, the leader of the orchestra had to disguise it by calling it “Danza Criolla” as tango was considered music of the pimps and prostitutes

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