Archive for the ‘ Capricorn ’ Category

1940, February 15 – ROBERTO RUFFINO RECORDS “ALMA MIA”

The lovelorn boy in “Alma Mia” says, “dear heart who are you dreaming of…I have come to disrupt your peace…but oh, don’t blame me, for you see I am a bard…whose only wish is to weave into your sweet dream, a porteno lyric inebriated with love” …this was a major hit for singer Roberto Ruffino; he was 18 years old and earning sums of money he had never dreamt of…in the late 50s, with the tango fashion now waining, he would begin a second simultaneous career as a pop singer under the alias “Bobby Terré” on Radio El Mundo and when he sang before its live audiences he would wear a mask and be billed as the “Masked Bobby Terre”…he was born January 6, 1922 in the mythical neighborhood of El Abasto, Buenos Aires…he began singing in the Cafe O’Rondeman, the same one that launched Carlos Gardel.

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His major break came in 1938 when Carlos Garay, the agent for Carlos Di Sarli, happened to hear Ruffino singing and liked what he heard; he recommended him to Di Sarli..his first recording with Di Sarli, “Corazon” with lyrics by Hector Marcò which he recorded on December 11, 1939 was a hit…he would record 46 tangos with Di Sarli…In 1944 he launched a solo career debuting on Radio Belgrano where he was backed by his own orchestra directed by the respected Atilo Bruni…he had brief stints with the  Francini-Pontier, Miguel Calo and Anibal Troilo orchestras…he was also an accomplished composer and lyricist of popular tangos like Sonemos which was recorded by Hugo Duval with the Rodolfo Biagi orchestra and “El Bazar de Los Jugetes” which was recorded by Alberto Podestà with the Miguel Calò orchestra.

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1988, January 27 – PREMIERE OF “TANGO BAR”

“Tonight Antonio will walk into Tango Bar, will walk through that door, back into your life, our lives says” says Ricardo, “There is nothing left between Antonio and I, nor fire nor ashes, you are only hurting yourself needlessly”, Elena responds to Ricardo trying to reassure him, …”Tango Bar” is a movie about a classic love triangle…Antonio, a bandoneon player and singer, had fled  Argentina during the period of state sponsored terrorism to save his life leaving behind his wife, tango singer Elena with his show business partner, pianist and songwriter Ricardo…in the mean time Ricardo and Elena have fallen in love…Ricardo is played by Raul Julia, Antonio by Ruben Juarez and Elena by Valeria Lynch; the film was directed by Marcos Zurinaga with music by Attilo Stampone .

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Throughout the movie, there are flashbacks to the duo’s sellout show 11 years earlier, called ‘Este es Tango’ (This is Tango) including a series of dance sequences that illustrate the history including a tango danced in a sumptuous Buenos Aires brothel, a 1920s European style tango, a street tango, a stage show, Abott and Costello dancing Tango and even the cartoon Flintstones dancing the tango…the pinnacle is an authentic ‘tango argentino’ where Antonio, in a bit of provincialism says, “this is tango danced the right way by the people who dance it best”…Valeria Lynch was born on January 7, 1952 (Capricorn) in the Villa Urquiza neighborhood of Buenos Aires…for a time she was a singer for the rock group “The Expression” but in the 1990s she became a tango singer and made successful tours all over the world…Tango Bar was also the name of a movie made by Carlos Gardel in 1935 in which he sings his immortal “Por Una Cabeza” which has been featured in so many films including “Scent Of A Woman” and “Shindler’s List”…Tango Bar was Gardel’s last film before dying tragically in an airplane crash in Medellin, Colombia in June of 1935

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1924, January 19 – BIRTH OF JORGE DURAN

Singer (Capricorn) – Singing was so much in his soul that in his final days, laying on a hospital bed in the painful advanced stages of emphysema, the result of a life time of chain-smoking, he continued to serenade the nurses…he had lived a bohemian life, a lover of women and fine champagne; he was oddly content right up to the end…in one of those inexplicable mysterys of fate however, he would never attain the recognition commensurate with the precision and elegance of his voice; the same voice that delivered his great hit “Porteno Y Bailerin” backed by the Carlos Di Sarli orchestra…he would join Di Sarli twice in his career, the first one, in 1945, lasting two years, the best period of his career and the second in 1956 during which he made 19 recordings…indeed a young Jorge Duran had come to the attention of Maestro Di Sarli who had personally gone to hear him at a cafe; he hired him immediately…the very next day he debuted with Di Sarli on Radio El Mundo

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Jorge was born in the town of San Juan to Andalusian immigrant parents who had a small fruit growing business and winery…during the periods of rest the family and the workers would engage in gay sing-alongs and it is there that  little Jorge discovered his love for singing…at age 18 he began singing in the cafes and tea rooms in Buenos Aires…one evening the bandoneonist Jorge Argentino happened to hear him and was immediately struck by  his voice and asked him to join his orchestra; he  debuted on Radio Mitre where the response from the public was enthusiastic…the next break came when Buenaventura Luna heard him and invited him to join his famous Tropilla de Huancho Pampa show…it is with them that he records his first record “Zamba del Gaucho” on March 13, 1944…for his entire career he was known as “El Cajon (the coffin)…standing at the end of a long corridor, wearing a grey, wide lapel suit against a back light, a fellow musician had remarked that he looked like a “cajon”…somehow the moniker stuck and would remain with him for the rest of his life …two other great hits of his which have remained in constant play to our very days were “Una Tarde y Nada Mas” and “Whiskey”

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1913, January 15 – BIRTH OF FELIX LIPESKER

Composer, Bandoneonist (Capricorn) – Ana Dobin was in the final throes of death, her emaciated, twitching body in liver failure, the result of an abortion attempt using laundry bluing which had been recommended by a neighbor…her husband Jose was trying to encourage her but she was more interested in last-minute exhortations for the care of her six children, especially the three year old, that she would soon be leaving behind…she fell silent for a moment before adding one final request, that he should never bring another woman into her house…to this he consented and in fact Jose would never remarry…that evening Ana slipped into a coma and soon after passed away; she was thirty-five years old…Ana had arrived in Rosario, Argentina at the age of 17 with her husband Jose embarking on the arduous journey from Odessa, Russia where pogroms were a constant danger…Jose was a cap maker and in Rosario his small shop eventually grew to have 20 employees

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Felix was the second oldest child and from the moment he touched his older brother German’s bandoneon he was transfixed by it and through his relentless tinkering, he learned to play it…German procurred lessons for him and one year later he was playing in the local cafes with his teacher’s orchestra… the first tango Felix composed  was “A Rosario Central”; inspired by the local football team of which the whole family were ardent fans…they sold the sheet music with a photo of the team on it for 10 cents in front of the stadium….news of this remarkable young man came to the ear of Julio de Caro in far away Buenos Aires and eventually he hired him…years later his wife would prevail upon him to renounce the tiring, sleepless musician’s life; Felix became an entrepreneur…he started a conservatory, developed a famous method for learning to play bandoneon which he sold by mail and even bought a music publishing company…among his numerous compositions are three waltzes which were hits “Romantica”, “Gotta de Lluvia” and “Tu Nombre” and the milonga “Arrabal”…his brother Leo, a violinist would join the Pedro Maffia and Miguel Calo orchestras…his brother Santos, a clarinetist and composer would conduct the staff orchestra of Radio El Mundo

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  • CLICK HERE – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RIoK772zve0 to hear one of Felix’s greatest hits, the waltz “Gotta De LLuvia” (raindrops) sung in duet by Argentino Ledesma and Raul Lavie from the television program Grandes Valores Del Tango

1916 January 14 – BIRTH OF ENRIQUE FRANCINI

Composer, Leader, Violinist (Capricorn) – it was the evening of August 27, 1978 and Enrique Francini, on the stage of the legendary Cano 14, was basking in glory; the reward of a life time of hard work and his unflinching devotion to his violin…he was playing “Nostalgias, one of his favorite tango when suddenly he dropped his violin, grabbed his chest and fell over, he was dead at the age of 62…the little boy from the town of  Zarate had come a long way from the humble surroundings where very early on he knew he wanted to become a violinist…his father, with considerable sacrifice, enrolled in the mythical Juan Ehlert School of Music where he was to meet another young student, Armando Pontier; their careers and their lives would be intertwined for the next 40 years…Enrique was immensely dedicated to the violin and his hard work earned him an invitation from the maestro, along with Pontier, to travel to Buenos Aires to play on Radio Prieto ….

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The audience response was ecstatic and the two wide-eyed boys then found themselves playing at the famous Juan Manuel’s Matinee.…in 1939 both Francini and Pontier joined a recently formed Miguel Calò orchestra where for six years they matured as musicians and as friends….six years later they would both break away from Calò to form their own orchestra…they debuted on September 1, 1945 at the opening of “Tango Bar”…two young and aspiring singers, who would themselves one day be greats, would join the group, Alberto Podestà and Raul Beron…Radio El Mundo soon hired them…Through whose broadcasts, they developed a legion of young fans who packed places like “El Piccadily” and the “Ebro Bar” and later the renown “Tibidabo Cabaeret”….Enrique and Armando would later make two tours of Japan together…Perhaps Enrique’s best known compositions are the milonga Azabache and two beloved waltzes “Bajo un Cielo de Estrellas“ and “Pedacito de Cielo”

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1912 January 12 – BIRTH OF FLORINDO SASSONE

Composer, Leader, Violinist (Capricorn) – temperamental and immensely proud, he was not a particularly nice person…in fact he refused to acknowledge that singer Jorge Casal finally gave him the success he had dreamed of and Jorge left his orchestra with many bad memories…a lot of his success has to be credited to his wife Maria, herself a singer and musician, who attenuated his bad disposition and at crucial moments would take over the negotiations with band members…however his large, melodic, grand sweep sound makes his orchestra one of the most instantly recognizable; his orchestras arguably recorded the best purely instrumental tangos…indeed this was exactly what so fascinated his delirious Japanese fans; starting in 1966, he had two successful tours there and was in demand for more…his was one of the first orchestras to appear on television and in the 1960s he even had his own television show

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He was born in the neighborhood of Liniers in Buenos Aires to a demanding father who had emigrated from Piemonte, Italy…as a young child Florindo demonstrated keen interest in music and his father procured violin lessons for him; he was to graduate as a certified violin teacher…he began playing in the neighborhood cafes and was finally hired by Antonio Polito for his Radio Belgrano orchestra…his big break came when he was invited by Roberto Firpo to join his renown orchestra but it was his stint with Osvaldo Fresedo that gave him his musical signature….in 1935 he put together his first orchestra which debuted January 1, 1936 on Radio Belgrano which opened doors to performances at the famous Cafe Nacional and the Marabu Cabaret… however the competition was immense and for all the buzz he remained a second tier orchestra; in 1940 he quit altogether to devote himself to business ventures…six years later he returned and it is when he hired Jorge Casal as a singer that his fortunes began to turn…He was not a prolific composer but some of his best work includes the milonga “Baldosa Floja“ and the tangos “El Ultimo Escalon” and “Rivera Sud”.

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1914, January 11 – Futurist F.T. Marinetti “DOWN WITH TANGO!”

Instead of stylized, virtual sex through tango, people should have the courage to have real sex…this was part of the message of  Filippo Tomasso Marinetti in his famous, hilarious manifesto “Down With Tango and Parsifal” published in Milan, Italy…for Marinetti the tango craze  and the chic tango teas then spreading all over the western world, represented the fads of popular culture and the conventionalism of the bourgeouis…in his attack on the tango he says, “is it amusing for you to look each other in the mouth and examine each other’s teeth, like two hallucinated dentists…to yank, to lunge…is it so much fun to arch desperately over each other, trying to pop each other like two corked bottles and never succeeding…to possess a woman is not to rub against her but to penetrate her!”he was equally disdainful of Wagner and Parsifal and makes a facetious comparison between tango and Tristan and Isolde

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Fillipo Tomasso Marinetti, a complex intellectual and provocateur was born on December 22, 1876 (Capricorn) in Alexandria Egypt…his father was an italian lawyer then advising the Khedive Ismael Pasha…a lover of literature and poetry, he graduated from law school but chose to devote himself to writing….in 1908 he published his provocative, passionate “Futurist Manifesto”in the prestigious French daily Le Figaro thus founding the Futurist Movement whose powerful effects continued to be felt to our very day…he founded the Futurist Political Party which was absorbed into Mussolini’s fascist political movement; he was however, an early demonstrator against anti-semitism…though no longer a young man, his nationalist fervor inspired him to volunteer for the Russian front during World War II…Futurism’s influenced was felt in every medium of art, including painting, sculpture, ceramics, graphic design, industrial design, interior design, theatre, film, fashion, textiles, literature, music, architecture and even gastronomy.

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  • CLICK HERE– http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P_ubT6r-Uzw to see a visual presentation of “Zang Tumb Tumb”, one of Marinetti’s sound poems…it is an account of the Battle of Andrianople which he witnessed as a reporter for L’Intransigeant