Archive for the ‘ Capricorn ’ Category

1914 January 9 – BIRTH OF ALFREDO ATTADIA

Composer, Leader, Bandoneonist (Capricorn) – as soon as Juan Peron came into power, Alfredo Attadia, declared himself an ardent Peronist and thus gave a great surge forward to his career; this was to have dire consequences for him years later when Peron was overthrown in 1954…he would find himself, like so many other artists, blacklisted and exiled; in the case of legendary poet  Enrique Santos Discepolo for example, it would hasten a premature death from a broken heart…..but this would come later, for now he was summoned to cut the tangos “Descamisados” and the march “Peronista” to be used for political propaganda by the Peron regime… a period of rapid ascendancy commenced; there was a lucrative contract with Radio Belgrano, performances at the chic Dancing Ocean Club and at the legendary Cabaret Moulin Rouge.. . in Montevideo his notoriety took a great jump forward when he began playing at the historic café El Ateneo

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He was born in the neighborhood of San Andres in the town of San Martin which is just outside of Buenos Aires..like a young Piazzolla, as a young boy he was mesmerized by the sound of the bandoneon; his father reluctantly bought him his first one…he had envisioned a professional career for his beloved son…eventually through  a family friend, young and shy Alfredo garnered an audition for an all girl’s orchestra and he was hired; at the age of 17 he debuted with them at the Cafe Paris…this was the start of a grand career including stints with some the best tango groups in history , Alfredo MalerbaAngelo D’Agostino and Rodolfo Biaggi for whom he wrote his first arrangements….with a young and ambitious Alfredo Di Angelis he formed his first orchestra which they called “Tipica Florida”…among his numerous compositions, perhaps his best was “Tres Esquinas” which he composed with Angel D’Agostino and was a great hit for vocalist Angel Vargas

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1903, January 7 – BIRTH OF CARLOS DI SARLI

Composer, Leader, Pianist (Capricorn) – three times in his career his musicians walked out on him…he was a demanding, temperamental, difficult perfectionist…maybe it had something to do with the fact that as a young boy he had lost an eye in an accident and wore a prosthesis…there was the famous incident in which the owner of  the “Club El Germinal” told him that he could not perform wearing his habitual dark glasses…Carlos in his customary vexation became immensely irate and stompted out though these were tough times and work for musicians was difficult to come by….his band out of loyalty to him, continued playing using his name…but Carlos was also a gifted musician and perhaps no one represents the beauty, the sensuality, the passion of tango better, for the great number of people in the world, than he does…he recorded over 250 tangos in 27 albums…among the innumerable hits, three of his most beloved he composed himself “Bahia Blanca”, “Verde Mar” and “Otra Vez Carnaval”…he discovered a young Roberto Ruffino with whom he would record some immortal hits…

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Like Astor Piazzolla, he was born in the town of Bahia Blanca to an italian immigrant father who had moved to the new world when his first wife tragically died young…he eventually fell in love with Carlo’s mother Serafina who came from a musical family; one of her brothers Tito Russomano was a noted barritone…with the encouragement of his father young Carlos began studying piano preparing for a career in classical music…at age 13 he horrified his family when he began playing and touring with a Zarzuela Company…three years later he formed his own orchestra and began playing at the Cafe Express in his home town; he composed his first tango “Meditacion”…at age 20 renown composer and band leader Anselmo Aieta ask him to join his orchestra…impressed with his seriousness and professionalism,  though he still quite young, Osvaldo Fresedo entrusted him with the direction of an important orchestra performing at the Fenix Theater…at the height of his creative power, Carlos Di Sarli passed away at the age of 57 years old…noted tango historian Keith Elshaw was to say of Carlos di Sarli, “he walked like a panther…his originality is breathtaking and his beat is so sexy”

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1912, January 6 – BIRTH OF CARMELITA AUBERT

Singer (Capricorn) – when Carmelita Aubert sang the tango “Clemencia”(forgiveness) in the film “Abajo Los Hombres” it was a coded message seeking a pardon for the miners who had participated in the legendary “Astruias Uprising” which director Valentin R. Gonzalez, a supporter of the Republic, had inserted into the film…authorities saw through it and the tango was censured… these were tense and chaotic days in Spain, one year before the outbreak of the tragic Spanish Civil War whose carnage would cost 500, 000 lives and wounds that would take generations to heal…when Carmencita returned to Spain on October 6, 1944 from self-exile in Portugal, she was immediately arrested…when the news reached Portugal, her beloved, loyal fans engaged in spontaneous and protracted demonstrations in front of the Spanish embassy and the news became front page headlines around the world…20 days later the Franco dictatorship gave in and released Carmelita

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Carmelita Aubert was born in Barcelona, to a mother who was a well-known vaudeville actress and dancer…early on it became obvious that Carmelita loved to sing and dance and she enrolled her in the noted Cariteu Academy...her break came when legendary comedic actor Carlos Saldana “Alady” happen to hear her sing and was immediately impressed with her gifted voice and ability to connect with the public…19 year old Carmelita  found herself performing along side “Alady” in her debut with him at the sea port resort town of Arenys De Mar…in Barcelona she made her first tango recording, “Con Todo Amor”, with Mario Visconti,  a young singer and guitarist; she was praised by the magazine “El Tango De Moda”…she starred in her first movie “Mercedes”  in 1932 , where her screen partner was Argentinean singer and song writer Hector Morel; the film was an enormous success…two tangos from the film, “Alma de Tango” and the waltz “Mercedes” became big hits on radio but her “mystique”, that elusive, coveted quality, emanated when she sang the “Cocaina En Flor (cocaine in flower) radio perfume ads.

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1911, December 31 – BIRTH OF AMANDA LEDESMA

Singer (Capricorn) – working  in a dress shop, shy Amanda was beloved by the customers for her sweetness and her attentive service…when she was not working she was singing but she did not think she was particularly good; she just hoped some day the right boy would ask her to get married and take her away…her friends would ask her to sing at their celebrations…one day one of them  told her about a singing contest at the Gaumont Theater and encouraged her to enter but she was highly reluctant; eventually she was convinced…she did not win but a director of the renown Radio Prieto happened to be present, like her voice and ask her to do a tryout at the stati0n…for her debut she sang “Alma En Pena” where she was accompanied by non other than Miguel Calò on piano…it was a success and invitations from other radio stations followed and then performances in the one-act theater farces which were all the rage at the time…

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Eventually Luis Moglia Barth picked her for his second film “Dancing” which was a box office failure; still Amanda was one of the few bright spots in the film…in her career she would star in 21 films…for her first recording in 1937 she sang “Condena” and the waltz “Primavera”…She was to see her greatest success however, in Mexico to where she moved in 1942…there she was “The Blond Goddess of Tango”, an image she cured assiduously by dyeing her hair blond and taking  fanatical care of her skin that it remain white…indeed it was rumored a film contract stipulated that she was never to sunbathe….for her appearances she tended to dress in white; never provocative….her film “Cuando Quiere Un Mexicano” in 1944 with Mexican singer and Latin American heart throb Jorge Negrete skyrocketed her fame….she was the first Argentinean star to move to Mexico to further her career; many others were to follow including the legendary Libertad Lamarque….in 1956 at the age of 45 apparently she had had enough and returned to Argentina and retired

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1936, December 30 – BIRTH OF MIGUEL VILLASBOAS

Leader, Pianist (Capricorn) – surely the stellar career of Miguel Villasboas can put to rest the controversy of whether tango belongs to both Montevideo and Buenos Aires…his career involved collaboration with the legends of tango Osvaldo Fresedo, Miguel Calo, Juan D’arienzo…critics rate his contribution to tango among the two top in the history of tango in Uruguay; perhaps second only to that of Donato Racciatti…his output in recording is immense 60 LPs, 10 cassettes, 10 Cds recorded for different labels in both Argentina and Uruguay…he earned rave review and standing ovations  during tours in South America; among the most memorable before discriminating audiences in Argentina, Uruguay, Chile and Brasil…he garnered ecstatic receptions  in Australia,  in the cities of Melbourne, Sidney and Adelaide…in the United States, especially in Miami and New York and in 2001 an   especially memorable tour of Japan….in 1976 the London label of England awarded him a gold disc for the sales success of his recording “De Pura Cepa”

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He was born in the Pocitos neighborhood of Montevideo, Uruguay where from a very young age he showed keen musical ability which pleased his father, a piano teacher; in fact he was his first teacher…he finished his studies in the history of musical education and began teaching in high schools; an activity which he loved and which he continued until his retirement in 1993…at the age of 16 he formed his first musical group “Quinteto Miguelito”; they appeared in cafes and dancehalls and on television…he was still only 18 when luck broke his way, renowned maestro Nicolas Agapaios asked him to play piano with his orchestra…he later formed a sextet which would be in much demand; through it ranks passed some of Uruguays best musicians including Pedro Severino a virtuoso violinist who would remain with him for 30 years…in march of 1964 in his last appearance in Uruguay, the mythical Roberto Firpo invited Miguel to play with his group at the Palacio Sud America.

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1906, December 26 -BIRTH OF IMPERIO ARGENTINA

Singer (Capricorn) – Adolf Hitler was so enthralled with her that he had Joseph Goebbels request an audience with her; she came and he asked her to film the life of the exotic dancer Lola Montez…at German studios UFA she met Marlena Dietrich with whom, credible rumors said, she had a lesbian affair..but the night of “Kristalnacht” opened her eyes on Nazism and she left…nevertheless it was true that her political sympathies were with fascism; during the period of dictatorship she was one of “Franco’s Untouchables”; for a time she was boycotted in New York, Mexico City, and Buenos Aires…she was born in the neighborhood of San Telmo, Buenos Aires to a guitarist English father and an actress mother from Spain…when she was six years old she debuted as “Petit Imperio” at the Comedia Theater in Buenos Aires…Now back in Spain, she debuted at Madrid’s Romea Theater in 1924…when she was only 21 years she auditioned for Spanish Director Florian Rey who was so taken by her that he not only offered her the lead role in the film “La Hermana San Suplicio”, he also insisted that she sing in it even though it was a silent film; it was an immediate hit….

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Seven years later Rey would divorce his wife and marry Imperio; together they would produce Spain’s most successful films in the pre-civil war era…the marriage however, lasted only briefly and she then married the Count of Cabezuelas Ramon Baillio in a storybook church ceremony but when she divorced him, she incurred the wrath of the catholic church…she starred alongside Carlos Gardel in two films “La Casa Es Seria” and“Melodia de Arrabal”; the later made her enormously popular in the United States; following an appearance at Carnegie Hall in New York, a star-struck, young Fidel Castro timidly approached her and presented her with a sketched portrait…in 1992 at the age of 82 years old and practically forgotten she made an appearance  at the World Exhibition in Sevilla Spain where she thrilled the audience and earned a standing ovation…at the age of 93, ill and bedridden, reflecting on her life she became solemn for a moment remembering the painful passing her two children while they were still young and then, suddenly, she her face lite up, she asked her granddaughter Teresa for her castanets and died singing

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1916, December 24 – BIRTH OF HECTOR STAMPONI

Composer, Pianist (Capricorn) – he was the composer of one of the most unique, beloved and most often recorded tangos in history, “El Ultimo Cafe”…it won first prize in a tango contest in 1964 when it was sung by Raul Lavie…his three waltzes (the first two in collaboration with Enrique Francini ”Bajo Un Cielo de Estrellas”, “Pedacito De Cielo” and “Flor De Lino”, perhaps the most beloved in the genre, are continuously played in milongas  from the smallest towns to great metropolises all over the world… the same holds true for his milonga “Azabache” which was a great hit for Raul Beron in 1942…one critic called him “an unparalleled figured in the history of tango, a brilliant arranger, an exquisite pianist, an inspired composer”...indeed there are few of the greats of tango that did not come in contact with his 60 plus years long career, beginning with his first composition“Inquietud” which he composed when he was in his late teens and was recorded by the Osvaldo Fresedo Orchestra on July 12, 1939…more than 50 other memorable compositions were to follow

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Hector Stamponi was born in the town of Campana just outside of Buenos Aires to Italian immigrant parents…from very early on he demonstrated unique musical ability and his parents, with much sacrifice, procured lessons for him with renown maestro Juan Ehlert who quickly recognized his talent and asked him to join his personal musical ensemble…the group earned an appearance at the famous Juan Manuel’s Matinee…he then formed a trio with two would be legends of tango, Enrique Francini and Armando Pontier, to accompany artists on Radio Argentina; he later  joined the Scorticati Orchestra to play on Radio Stentor…Hector then briefly joined the Miguel Calo orchestra…in the early 40s he accompanied the singer Amanda Ledesma in Mexico where she was immensely popular…it is there that  he composed music for films and composed two tango with Ernesto Cortazar, “Somos Dos” and “Cruz”…he began a period as a piano soloist,accompanist and arranger; his services were in great demand by all the greats of the time most notably the legendary Charlo in his celebrated appearances on Radio Splendido…in 1963 he composed the music for the film “Carlos Gardel Historia di un Idolo”..in Spain  he teamed up with poet and lyricist Horacio Ferrer in appearances which won rave reviews from critics and the public.

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