Archive for the ‘ Aquarius ’ Category

1886, February 17 – BIRTH OF GENARO ESPOSITO

Leader, Composer, Pianist, Bandoneonist (Aquarius) – Genaro was perched precariously on a step-ladder with nail and hammer in hand, concentrating on the hanging of a picture when his guest bellow uttered a phrase that almost made him fall, “would you like to help me organize a group to play in Paris”...little did he suspect what an epic saga his life was about to become…Paris was a dream that a boy born to struggling Neapolitan immigrant parents in the neighborhood of San Telmo, Buenos Aires did not dare to have; and yet, here he was on a cruise ship heading toward Paris, the cultural capital of the world…but on the way tragedy struck, the violinist of the group, Victor Jachia, suddenly had a massive heart attack and died…Genaro Esposito was devastated but with typical “porteno” resolve he persevered and survived initially playing in Marseille for spare change…In time his “Orchestre Argentine Genaro Esposito” would become the toast of Paris performing in its most prestigious clubs, “El Garron”, “Casino de Paris”, the “Coupole Dance Club” and later critically acclaimed European tours

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Genaro would be a big factor in making tango a boom in Paris and therefore the world…in 1934 at the height of success he fell in love with a beautiful young French girl, Jeanne Vent…she rewarded him with the birth of a boy “Claude” of whom Genaro was immensely proud but then tragedy struck for the second time, Jeanne died leaving him to the care of their 11 month old child…he was never quite the same again…on June 14, 1940 the unimaginable happened, the German army entered Paris…interestngly, as they entered they played the San Lorenzo march composed by Cayetano Silva in 1901…a pall descended upon the city….little by little Genaro had to sell everything he owned just to eat; what little money he could earn came from playing his bandoneon for drunken German soldiers on leave from the Russian front……he had an opportunity to return to Buenos Aires but he steadfastly refused, he was a loyal French citizen now and he would stand by her and by his beloved Paris…sadly, the end came on January 24, 1944 when he succumbed to complications from pneumonia; as per his deathbed request, he was buried next to his beloved Jeanne…just seven months later allied forces would liberate Paris…with “Le Marseillaise still reverberating in his soul, General Charles de Gaul, in his liberation speech proclaimed, “Paris, Paris!, Paris outraged!, Paris broken!, Paris Martyred! but Paris liberated!.

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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…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…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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1885, February 14 – BIRTH OF “EL CACHFAZ”

Dancer (Aquarius) – his last words were “Carmencita, I will be waiting for you to drink half a glass of whiskey after the match”, he walked out and a few seconds later he dropped dead from a massive heart attack….starting as a dirt poor boy, El Cachafaz, was to become the greatest tango dancer of his time…he attained fame and glory and earned and spent huge sums on a bohemian life; he died penniless, his friends had to take up a collection to pay the 800 pesos for a simple funeral….reflecting on that day at the city of Mar de Plata at the club “El Rancho Grande”, his partner Carmencita Calderon, who would live to 100, would say, “he was actually pocked-marked and ugly but he was the greatest tango dancer and many women fell in love with him”…El Cachfaz had even  survived the mythical duel with El Pardo Santillan, another great dancer, which El Cachfaz had won and which just barely missed turning into a bloody knife fight as was the custom in those times for men to protect their honor

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Ovidio Jose Banquet “El Cachafaz” was born in Barracas al Sur but grew up in the legendary Abasto neighborhood in Buenos Aires…apparently he was quite mischievous as a boy and one day he took undue liberties with a girl and when the girl’s father complained, his father is said to have shouted, “mi hijo es un cachafaz” (“my son is a rascal”); the name would remain with him for the rest of his life…he began dancing as a young boy on the sidewalks to the organists who played for spare change…at the age of 19 he won an important dance contest at the El Parisien Club which had been organized by the prominent Baron de Marchis…it is de Marchi who would introduce him to the high society ladies who would help his career and pay him huge sums for private lessons…in 1919 he went to Paris to perform at the famous “Club Garron” with the Manuel Pizzaro orchestra but he missed his life in Buenos Aires especially the Cafe Corrientes to where he assiduously went everyday at six in the afternoon to drink with a tight group of friends including Carlos Gardel…his life inspired composer Miguel Bucino to write “Bailarin Compadrito” in 1929…he danced with Carmencita Calderon in the renown film “Tango” in 1933

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1891, February 13 – BIRTH OF IGNACIO CORSINI

Singer, Composer, Poet (Aquarius) – Soccorro Salomone 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…one day she descended from the ancient mountain town of Troina, in Central Sicily and headed out with little Ignacio in tow, on horse carriage, 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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1905, February 10 – BIRTH OF CARMENCITA CALDERON

Dancer (Aquarius) – in 2005, at the age 100, she did her last public performance at the famous milonga La Baldosa with dance partner Jorge Dispari…her fans, many in tears, were ecstatic; just two months later she would pass away feeling fulfilled and content in her life…poet Jose Gabello was to say of her, “you are a girl without age…you are eternal like the tango that drives you”...Carmencita Calderon was born into a poor italian immigrant family in the neighborhood of Villa Urquiza in Buenos Aires…her mother would sing tango and dance by herself as she was doing the laundry and she began passing on this passion to her daughter, when Carmencita when was thirteen years old …a tragedy soon befell the family when her mother died leaving behind young children; it fell upon Carmencita to fill the role of the caring and the upbringing of her younger siblings and although she loved to dance, girls in her station did not dare to dream…one day her two younger sisters expressed the wish to attend a neighborhood dance at the  club “Sin Rumbo” and so she went along as a chaperone…

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Renown dancer “Tarila”, happened to be present and someone suggested that Carmencita dance with him; she was terrified but finally accepted his invitation…the following day Tarila took her to meet the legendary El Cachafaz at the Bar Corrientes where he assiduously met a close group of friends including Carlos Gardel…El Cachafaz was so impressed with Carmencita’s dancing that from that day on, he made her his exclusive dance partner; they made their debut with the Pedro Maffia orchestra at the Teatro San Fernando to enthusiastic applause …their ten years long collaboration would take them many places…but in 1942 disaster struck;  at a performance at Mar De Plata, at the club “El Rancho Grande”, after having danced to the milonga “Don Juan“, El Cachafaz died suddenly of a massive heart attack; she would never forget the shock of suddenly seeing her dance partner’s body lying lifeless on the floor…with tremendous personal resolve, she continued….she would in time perform with the best dancers of the time El Tarila, El Cachafaz and El Negro Alfredo and Juan Carlos Copes…reflecting on her success she was to comment “I adorned the tango when I danced it; this was my secret”

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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, she heard the tango “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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1903 February 7 – BIRTH OF FELICIANO BRUNELLI

Leader, Composer, Pianist, Accordianist (Aquarius) – he was not one to get easily discouraged…his father had taught him to be persistent and there was certainly one area in which he had no lack of self-confident; his musical ability and so having been refused an audition for having shown up without of an appointment, he stopped in the hall of RCA Victor Studios, took out his accordion and began playing his waltz “Illusion de Mi Vida”…everyone immediately looked up immediately and soon he had an enthusiastic crowd around…hearing the commotion, a producer came out and was amazed at the scene before him…they gave him a contract and the very next day, September 9, 1933, Feliciano Brunelli  recorded his waltz “Illusion de Mi Vida” which became a hit….Felicano Brunelli was certainly one of the most successful tango musicians in history; he recorded 763 numbers with RCA Victor and would remain popular for over 40  years…he was one of a select few musicians whose picture hung proudly on the “wall of honor” in the main offices in New York City

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He was born in Marseilles, France but his parent were italian immigrants…his father was an accordion tuner and maker of stringed musical instruments…this was however, a time when the racism against Italians was very strong in Mareseille  and when Feliciano was five years old, his father transferred the family to the city of  Rafaela, Argentina in search of a better life for his family…from his father he learned to play the accordion, in Rafaela he took piano lessons and it soon became evident that young Feli had special talent…he began to play with groups in the cafes and clubs in his town while he was still a young teenager and he soon developed a dedicated following…one of his fans recommended him to a producer at the Odeon Record label who promptly summoned the boy for an audition and hired him…Renown violinist Elvino Vardaro was passing through Rafaela and hear about Feliciano and he took him to Buenos Aires, providing lodging in his house and introducing him to the world…in time he would become famous and popular

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