Archive for the ‘ Capricorn ’ Category

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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1908, December 27 – BIRTH OF SANTIAGO DEVIN

Singer (Capricorn) – as a young boy, his gruff boss would frequently scream at him “Santiago, paint, work or you will find yourself on the street”….indeed he was fortunate to have a  job as a car painter but instead of concentrating on the task at hand he would sing all day to the ire of his boss ..but alas, the boss grudgingly forgave the boy; the truth was that he admired his voice…Santiago Devincenzi was born to poor Italian immigrant parents and very early in life, had quit school to work to help support the family; almost as soon as he had started walking, he started singing, not always welcomed by his struggling, nervous father…his first audition was at the Radio Cultura where to his deep disappointment he heard the director say “go study and come back later when you are ready”….he continued painting cars and singing among the toxic fumes and dreaming…his first public performance was at “Nacional Cinema Theater”; when it was finally over, only the guitarist was paid…the next day he continued painting and singing and hoping…

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His first break came when Antonio Alfonso Roman, although not completely convinced, hired him for his orchestra; he helped him correct his technique and young Santiago began to win smiles and nods of approval from the public… he would later work with noted orchestras like those of Juan Carlos Cobian, Julio De Caro and the legendary Carlos Di Sarli…he then launched himself as a soloist and was successful in the best cafes and cinema theater of his day; he was to do some of his best work during a stint with the Sureda Trio…it is recounted that Carlos Gardel had once said of him “during my last tour of the province of Buenos Aires, I worked with a half-filled room in the cinema theaters and the kid Devin with Sureda stole me the public”…at the point of his career when things were finally coming together for him, he began to have symptoms of  a strange illness, perhaps connected with the toxic fumes he had breathed as a car painter; he passed away suddenly at the age of 42

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  • CLICK HERE – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hPdFMIKY27Y to hear Santiago Devin sing “Cicatrices” with the Carlos Di Sarli Orchestra…the music was composed by Adolfo Aviles with lyrics by Enrique Maroni

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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1913, October 28 – TANGO INTRODUCED INTO POLAND

Perhaps no other country in history took to tango like Poland; in fact in would become synonymous with Polish popular music…Tango emerged in Poland soon before the outbreak of the World War I…Ludwik Sempolinski, an artist and historian, in his memoirs records the fact that in the “latest operetta by Jacoby which was put on the stage in Warsaw on October 28th 1913, a new dance ‘Tango’ was introduced and was performed by Lucyna Messal and Jozef Redo”….this launched a series of noted Polish singers’ and dancers’ love affair with the tango; Aume Lauchame’s recording of “Regina Tango”, Karol Hanusz singing “The Last Tango” in the Warsaw Cabaret “Black Cat” in  1919, Stanislao Ratold’s recording  of Tango Du Reve” in 1922…but perhaps no one did more to popularize tango than the legendary Jerzy Petersburski composer of the mythical “Ostatnia Niedziela” (Death Tango)

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But there was no character more fascinating than Pola Negri who, with her partner Edward Kuryllo in 1913, as a 17-year-old, began dancing the tango in Warsaw…she was born in Lipno Poland on January 3, 1897 (Capricorn)…her exotic, mysterious passionate qualities would turn her into one of the most fascinating femme fetal’s in history…she edwas discovered by Austrian film director Max Reinhardt and she eventually move to the United States where she made some very popular films…she divorced a Polish Count and was engaged to Charlie Chaplan whom she left for Rodolfo Valentino…later she returned to Germany where she married a russian prince…she was a favorite actress of Adolf Hitler even though he knew she was half jewish…in one of her last films she was to sing “Tango Notturno” to great acclaim…she died in San Antonio, Texas at the age of 90

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2007, October 25 – published “THE MEANING OF TANGO”

Book – one critic said of this book, “The Meaning of Tango is presented with an appealing combination of humility and authority and is logical, open-minded and clear throughout”.…using elegance and cohesiveness, the book traces the roots of tango, from its birth in poverty-stricken Buenos Aires, the craze of the early 20th century, right up until it’s revival today…it has a valuable section which explains the technique using simple illustrations…perhaps no other book ever written about tango does it better

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Christine Denniston (born December 31, 1963, Capricorn) was a graduate in theoretical physics from Cambridge University in the UK, when one day, she happened upon a couple dancing tango on the street and was so smitten that she began a passionate and years long odyssey into understanding and learning to dance tango…she has taught tango all over the world and has appeared as an expert on radio and television programs….Christine says, “when tango is done properly, it reaches a level that no other social dance reaches, it is the purest essence where two people can reach a kind of shared Zen state…the man’s job is to please the woman and the woman’s job is to allow herself to be pleased.

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1902, October 1 – PREMIERE OF “CANILLITA”

Play – little did its author, Florencio Sanchez, dream that this simple, one-act, three scene play about a newspaper boy would, over time, become the inspiration of tangos, films, comedys not only in Argentina but beyond…Sanchez was born on January 17th, 1875 (Capricorn) in Montevideo, Uruguay into a struggling family…he began to work as a journalist at the age of 16 but he dreamed of being a playwrite…an incredulous Sanchez saw his spontaneously penned inspiration become an immediate hit with the critics and the public

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The main character is a boy who sells newspapers…Sanchez was inspired by the ubiquitous newspaper boys whose long, thin legs reminded him of a “Canillita” (the word refers to the long bones in the extremities) ……with his new-found wealth he could finally marry his one and only sweetheart and take a dream tour of Europe…but he had struggled with tuberculosis and he finally succumbed to it on November 7, 1910 at the age of 35 in Milan, Italy…the date is officially commemorated as “El Dia Del Canillita”

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