Archive for the ‘ Gemini ’ Category


On this date, the recording academy announced that Paquito D’Rivera’s album “Funk Tango” had been nominated for Grammy Awards’s, “Best Latin Jazz Recording” which it later won…Funk Tango was also a Critic’s Choice pick of the New York Times; it was the 9th Grammy award for Paquito…Paquito explained that his love of tango was instilled as a child in Havana, “names such as Libertad Lamarque, Pepe Biondi and Hugo del Carrill filled TV and movie screens throughout the island, and while listening to the local radio stations, we learned to admire musicians such as Marianito Mores, Anibal “Pichuco” Troilo and the immortal Carlos Gardel,“...Jazz and tango have parallel histories; both came out of the slums and the underworld, were denounced as salacious and were then embraced as dance music, both moved from clubs to concert halls, both conjure romance, exhilaration and tension; both use improvisation…


Born in Havana on June 4, 1948 (Gemini), Paquito D’Rivera was a child prodigy who began his musical studies at the age of five under the tutelage of his father Tito, himself a well-known classical saxophonist and conductor in Cuba…at the age of six, this “wunderkind” was already performing in public and when he was seven, became the youngest artist ever to endorse a musical instrument when he signed on with the legendary company, Selmer..In 1958, the ten-year old D’Rivera performed at the National Theatre in Havana to overwhelming acclaim by both critics and audience…by 1980, D’Rivera was dissatisfied about the constraints placed on his music in Cuba…in early 1981, while on tour in Spain, he sought asylum with the American Embassy and left his homeland, wife and child behind in search of a better life with a promise to get them out..Paquito is also a gifted composer and author; his biography “My Sax Life” and his novel “Oh La Habana” have been received well…In 2005, Paquito wrote a letter criticizing musician Carlos Santana for his decision to wear a t-shirt with the image of Che Guevara on it, at the academy awards citing Guevara’s role in the execution of counter-revolutionaries in including his own cousin.


1969, December 4 – Goyeneche Records “BALLADA PARA UN LOCO”

In the classic film “King of Hearts” (1966) the residents of a small French village during World War I leave because the Germans plan to bomb the village…the inmates of the local insane asylum take over the village and create a festive, gay, surreal, make belief atmosphere totally oblivious to the war; the message of the film is, perhaps normal people are more crazy than those in the asylum…it is precisely this film which inspired Horacio Ferrer to write the master piece “Ballada Para un Loco” to Astor Piazzolla’s music…when the piece was premiered by Amelia Baltazar at the Buenos Aires Tango Festival, it created a great controversy because many did not see it as real tango and even hissed at it while Amelia was singing it…it was leading in the voting on the final day but the controversy forced the judges to give it second place instead…when “Balada Para Un Loco” was recorded, it was a great hit selling over 200,000 in the first week alone


Horacio Ferrer was born June 2, 1933 in Montevideo, Uruguay (Gemini) to a cultured family; his father was a professor of history and his mother, who was eleven years older than his father, spoke four languages…already as a child, he started writing his first poems, simple plays and even milongas to which he accompanied himself on guitar…at the age of 20 his was invited to participate on a weekly radio program called “A Selection of Tangos”…he soon started a groundbreaking magazine called “Tangueando” which he wrote and illustrated himself…in 1970 he wrote “Book of the Tango, Peoples Art of  Buenos Aires”; its three volumes and more than 2000 pages is one of the most complete works on tango in history…he has collaborated with Astor Piazzolla on a number of hits; one writer called them “the Lennon – MaCarthy team of tango”


  • CLICK HERE – to hear Roberto “Polaco” Goyeneche sing one of his great hits “Ballada Para Un Loco” with lyrics by Horacio Ferrer and music by Astor Piazzolla



For composer Lalo Echegoncelay, a struggling musician accustomed to zipping from gig to gig on his motorcycle trying to make ends meet, the fact that “Parece Un Cuento” was a smash hit, was a godsend…in fact it allowed him to devote himself exclusively to composing…he was born into a family of musicians in the neighborhood of Tres Cruces, Montevideo on May 31, 1911 (Gemini) and began as a child to study piano…at age 18 he began to play in orchestras around Montevideo…at age of 22, a piece that he had thrown together “Yo Soy Asi Pa El Amore” was sung by Tita Merello in the Argentina’s first sound movie “Tango”…he was known widely for his bigger than life smile and his kindness and generosity


Singer Julio Martel (born may 14, 1923 Taurus) had to have his mother sign his first contract for him for he was still  a minor…in a contest sponsored by Radio El Mundo seeking a vocalist for the Alfredo De Angelis Orchestra in 1943, Julio was declared the winner out of hundreds of contestants and it was only months later that he recorded “Parece Un Cuento” which became his first hit and launched his fame; he was 21 years 1946 he signed an exclusive contract with the legendary radio show “Glostora Tango Club”…he was to have a long and successful career with Alfredo De Angelis and when he separated from the orchestra in 1951, he would deliver a tearful and moving speech of gratitude  which those attending that night would recall years afterwards…in his neighborhood of Munro he was a hero and on his 80th birthday a parade was held in his honor during which people tossed flowers and shouted greeting and encouragements from their balconies


  • CLICK HERE – to hear “Parece Un Cuento” composed by Lalo Echegoncelay, recorded by the Alredo De Angelis Orchestra with vocals by Julio Martel...the lyrics are the narration of a man who says, “like the fable that my mother used to tell me as a child, the arrival of your love was a beautiful dream and your loss was an inconsolable tragedy”

1925, October 16 – LINNIG’S LAST BET

Poet – he was rushed to the hospital with a scorching fever and was lying on the bed surrounded by friends, when suddenly he smiled, looked up, pointed to the number 13 on the door and said “I have to bet on that”…it was however to be his last bet for minutes later, at the age of 37 he passed away…Samuel Linnig, born on June 12, 1888 (Gemini)  in Montevideo, Uruguay to a Belgian merchant and a Basque mother was a playwrite and theater critic for the prestigious magazine “Nosotros” …his passion and his ruination was to be gambling…he would be, in part, the inspiration thirty years later for “Lorenzo” in the classic film “Mercado de Abasto”


After the staging of a particularly bad play of his which had been roundly booed and hissed, he came on stage and addressed the audience, “I thank those who applaud and I regard as imbeciles those who whistled at me” …that evening he fled from the theater hidden behind a false beard which prevented the public who were waiting for him outside to identify him….he  was immaculate in his attire and manner, always sporting a cane and white gloves but particularly proud of demonstrating his command of the argot spoken by prostitutes…unfortunately gambling ruined most things in his life and he would have passed away forgotten except for one thing,  he wrote the tango “Milonguita” to the music of Enrique Francini…it was an instant hit and its world-wide, unceasing popularity from the day it premiere on May 12, 1920 at the Teatro Opera rendered his name immortal.