Archive for the ‘ Cancer ’ Category


Violinist, Composer (Cancer) – Unlike most of the other tango legends Manlio Francia did not have a tough beginning in life and he was forever known for his positive disposition and his generosity…he was born in the city of Venice Italy and he was to say that his childhood recollection of that beautiful city not only inspired him but gave him strength to overcome life’s vissicitudes…his father, a violinist and his first teacher, was a celebrated orchestra leader who during the summer months played at the Cote Azur in Southern France…when he was five years old, his birthday present was a violin…in 1910 the whole family made their first trip to Argentina when his father’s orchestra was hired to play at the  elegant Hotel Bristol at Mar De Plata where Argentina’s high society vacationed…Manlio recalled that on the first performance, some scantily clad dancing-girls were included and a minor scandal ensued; these were the people who looked in askance upon the scandalous tango music of the lower classes…in fact the only tango acceptable to them was the Orchestra of Osvaldo Fresedo who was the only tango musician with origins in the upper class of Argentina


Eventually the family decided to settle in Buenos Aires…Manlio continued his studies at the Instituto Santa Cecilia from which he graduated at the age of 16…a shy Manlio began performing classical music at partys and salons but it was at the Cafe Armonia that the patrons began to request tango pieces…it is here that Manilo learned to love tango and made the difficult decision to devoted himself to its music…he was then recruited for the Maipu Pigalle where he first met Osvaldo Fresedo and Enrique Delfino…in his career he would perform with many orchestras including that of Adolfo Carabelli and Carlos Di Sarli…he played off and on for 25 years with the mythical Julio De Caro Orchestra…as a musician with the Orchestra Tipica Victor he met and worked with the inimitable Tito Schipa…with Enrique Delfino he recorded his first composition “Prorotita”; some others include “Luis Maria”, “Helena” and “Maldita Vision” which Carlos Gardel recorded in 1925




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..


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  knife fights, 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…


  • CLICK HERE 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


The film is based on the life of poet Pascual Contursi with one important difference, in real life Pascual would die alone, in a mental hospital suffering from dementia brought on by the  late stages of syphlis…Pascual’s lyrics had revolutionized tango…previously they had been joyful and gay; he turned them into something nostalgic and melancholy and set them in houses of prostitution where so much of tango culture was born…it was apparently something that he had personal experience with; an experience that would cost him a particularly tragic and painful death at the age of 44…the film, which premiered at the Grand Rex Cinema in Buenos Aires, was directed by Lucas Demare (born July 14, 1910, Cancer) …the soundtrack for the film was composed by legendary Lucio Demare, Lucas’ older brother and was performed in the film by Anibal Troilo and his orchestra…


The film’s plot, in point of fact, reflects Pascual’s real life experience whereby the main character, a joyful poet, musician and singer falls madly in love with a young beautiful singer by the name of Lita…his wife catches them kissing and leaves Pascual and takes their son with her…intoxicated with love, Pascual decides to stay with Lita and indeed to work where she works so that he can remain near her…for Lita, the infatuation eventually disappears and she leaves him, leaving behind a distraught, shell of a man whose life consists of dreaming hopelessly of her return and drinking heavily…however, it is from this experience that Contursi writes “Lita”  which Carlos Gardel records as “Mi Noche Triste” ; it is the first “Tango Cancion” (sung tango) and the first tango that Gardel records…it is this tango which in time is a major hit and which turns Gardel from a regional folk singer to an international tango legend…at the end of the film, singer Oscar Alonso is heard singing the theme song of the film about whom Anibal Troilo was to say “after Gardel, he was the best tango singer of all time”



Composed and sung by Charlo, the lyrics of Rodando Tu Esquina say, my passion for her is devouring me and I must go out and look for her…to forgive her…I don’t care what people will say, people will talk anyway…I think of her continuously, I can’t get her out of my mind, “….this was a major hit for Charlo; one of many in his long career; he would pass away at the age of 85…Charlo, (born July 7, 1905, Cancer) after Carlos Gardel was the most important figure in tango history…he was certainly the equal of Carlos Gardel in every way and yet, in one of those odd twists of fate, he is relatively unknown…he was born in Avestruz a railway station outside of Buenos Aires; his father was a foreman in a crop harvesting company…as an adult he cut quite a figure; he was a dandy, elegant, sophisticated…in fact he inspired a line of men’s clothing and accessories  called “Charlot”….


His real name was Carlos Jose Perez, but he was an ardent admirer of Charly Chaplin who inspired his stage name “Charlo”  which he used for the first on his debut on Radio Cultura in 1924…as a child he studied piano and later he entered law school but he stunned his family when he advised them that he would leave law school and devote himself to music…he began by singing and accompanying himself in humble cafes where he elegant attire was almost an insult to the usual patrons nevertheless with his voice, his compositions and his charm, he quickly ascended the ladder of success performing with, among others, the Francisco Canaro and Roberto Firpo orchestras; the most renown at the his career he did everything including having had numerous hits in composing and recording; he may well have been the most recorded tango singer in history