Archive for the ‘ Leo ’ Category


Cayetango Silva died forgotten, alone and in extreme poverty without realizing that his San Lorenzo march, the same one he had sold for a small sum of money, would become immortal and be played and recorded many times…indeed it would be the march that the victorious Nazi army would play as it marched in into a conquered Paris on June 14, 1940…the march had been given by the Argentine army to Nazi Germany as a gift of friendship for although Argentina was officially neutral, its army sympathized with Germany…indeed, after the war Argentina became a leading haven for Nazi war criminals…Cayetano Silva first played his composition on his violin in 1901 for his baby daughter in her crib to lull her to sleep…he had dedicated it initially to General Pablo Ricchieri but the general asked that it be named instead for the city of his birth San Lorenzo…it became the official Argentine march which was played before and after all ceremonies…


For many years, it was played for the changing of the royal guard in England…Cayetano Silva, of mixed African descent, was born in the city of San Carlos in Uruguay; his mother had been a slave of the Silva family…from an early age he showed a love of music and he devoted himself to learning the violin….at the age of 17 he joined the army but by the age of 20, his precocious musical ability earned him the post of band director of the seventh regiment…he would go on to lead other military bands…he composed a number of other marches and composed the tango “Mas Vale Que Nunca”…his San Lorenzo March was recorded in a tango beat by the orchestras of Roberto Firpo and Juan De Dios Filiberto…when he died at the age of 52, he was denied burial in the local cemetary because of his African roots



When Berthe Gardes informed Paul that she was pregnant with his child, he was torn but he could do little…not only was he one year younger than Berthe but they were from different social classes…she worked as a seamstress in his mother’s laundry; they were part of the middle class….Paul was an engineer and traveling salesman, was sensitive to his social status…that baby, of course, would one day become the immortal Carlos Gardel one of the most famous singers in history and a very wealthy man…many years later, Paul now widowed, traveled to Buenos Aires to offer his name by marrying Berthe….the story goes that Berthe asked Gardel his opinion and he responded, “not only do I not need him, but I don’t even want to see him”


Paul Lassarre was born in Toulouse, France…his father, or Gardel’s grandfather was a cartmaker; his wife, Gardel’s grandmother owned a laundry business…at the laundry worked a young girl Berthe Gardes whose father Vital Gardes, a simple merchant, had died suddenly leaving behind an impoverished family…she would have a love affair with Paul and become pregnant with his child, the future legend Carlos Gardel…there is some evidence that Paul financed Berthe’s trip to Buenos Aires to help here escape the difficult social situation she found herself in…Paul married Ann Marie Broyer on September 29, 1898 and had two children; Ann Marie Broyer would pass away twenty years later…when Berthe Gardes refused his offer of marriage, he went back to Toulouse where he apparently father two other children with a second wife Clementine Amiel…one of those daughters Fanny Lasserre, Gardel’s half-sister, would become a historian and curator of Carlos Gardel memorabilia…Paul Lasserre passed away on November 20, 1921 from hepatitis; he was fifty-four years old…that young laundry girl whom he rejected because she came from a poor family would live to the age of 78…she was to say of her beloved son Carlos Gardel, “for me, my son has not died, I still wait for him as always, it seems to me that I still see him arrive to my house”



This was the moment of her greatest dream and she looked up at the immense and impressive studios of Radio Belgrano which for more than 30 years had been the soul of Buenos Aires….and all of a sudden she heard her name called, “and now the senorita, Silvia Del Rios will sing for us”…her hands were trembling as she approached the microphone, there was a breathless moment but when she began singing it all disappeared and she felt herself soaring…Silvia Del Rio did not win that evening but she came in second…it was the beginning of a long and glorious career spanning 40 years…she was awarded with a series of appearances on Radio Belgrano and she recorded her first disc, “Solo Un Minuto” with the Belgrano Orchestra lead by the team of Leopoldo Federico Orchestra and Hector Stamponi


Silvia del Rio was born in the neighborhood of Flores in Buenos Airs to a French immigrant father who dreamt of being a painter…early on he noticed young Silvia’s penchant for singing and encouraged his beloved daughter…soon after he appearance on Radio Belgrano, Silvia was commissioned for a tour of Spain where she was received enthusiastically…In 1972 she released her first LP in an orchestra conducted by Oscar Toscano and began appearing at the most important venues including Cano 14 and La Casa De Carlos Gardel where she often shared billing with legends like Anibal Troilo and Roberto Goyeneche…she would go on extended tours of Peru and Colombia and the United States…she appeared in two films “Asalto En La Ciudad” and “Villa Carina Que Esta Que Arde”…along the way she fell in love for the first time with celebrated journalist and actor Carlos Alberto Dusso; they would marry and raise a family together of which she was to say, “the applause become muffled, the theater light dim, but they are my eternal accomplishment”



The lyrics to “Sera Una Noche” are different from so many others that are fatalistic…”Sera Una Noche” speaks instead of hope, “I know that one day happiness will return to my life…I know that there will come the day that you return to me”..the lyrics were written by  Manuel Ferradas Campos…for the composer of the music Jose Tinelli, son of Italian immigrants from the region of Puglia, it was love at first sight when he first saw the lovely singer Chola Bosch…they would get married and have a marvelous career together until his untimely death at the age of 49 from a heart attack…Tinelli’s composition “Por Una Vuelta” was made into a great hit by the Jose Basso Orchestra 17 years after it was composed when it was sung by Floreal Ruiz…it was during his tenure with the Jose Basso orchestra that Oscar Ferrari recorded “Sera Una Noche” on July 26, 1951…Oscar Ferrari was born in the neighborhood of Balvanera in Buenos Aires on August 9, 1924…he was the only child of a renown dancers couple who performed  in variety shows…


Oscar  practically grew up in theaters as he accompanied his parents with their traveling company…he began singing in some of those theater productions at the age of four…Oscar was six years old the family moved to Montevideo to work for a theater company when tragedy struck; his father died unexpectedly at the age of 28…at the age of 14 Oscar had his first professional job when he was hired by the Antonio Felice Orchestra…it was the beginning of a long and glorious career which included performances with the orchestras of Alfredo Gobbi, Astor Piazzolla and Armando Pontier for whom he formed a duo with the ill-fated Julio Sosa…with the Edgardo Donato Orchestra he sang on Radio El Mundo and recorded his first disc “Galleguita”…the greatest hit of his career however, was “Venganza”; of its first printing alone, it sold over 4 million copies…during the latter part of his life, he devoted himself to teaching voice and wrote the book “Cabaret Stories” and a book of poetry…he was included in the film “Cafe De Los Maestros”, directed by Miguel Kohan which premiered in 2008 two months before Oscar passed away at the age of 84



In the 1950 film “The Last Payador” as Jose Betinoti is dying he says to his friend Pascual Contursi, “us payadores are done, you were right, now the tango singers will take over”…Jose Betinotti passed away at the age of 37 from complications of alcoholism but in his short life he would compose over 100 folk songs many of which he recorded in the early Gramophone Disc first invented by Emile Berliner in 1889…he would disseminate his compositions through simple pamphlets starting with “Mis Primeras Hojas” which came out in 1909 …indeed it was Contursi with his “Mi Noche Triste”, publsihed in 1916, on the music by Samuel Castriota which is generally regarded as the first “tango cancion”, or Tango Song…it ushered in the new tango fashion although some payadores like the Ambrosio Rio would continue for another 15 years…Ambrosio was Betinotti’s best friend and it is said that Betinotti died in his arms…in the film Ambrosio would be played by singer Lito Bayardo who after a long career would kill himself with a gun shot to the head


Jose Betinotti, the son of poor Italian immigrants who settled in the neighborhood of Flores, had little education; he had to quit school to work….a payador of african descent Luis Garcia introduced him to the legendary payador Gabino Ezeiza, also of African descent, who invited him to sing in the circus where Jose began his career…his bohemian, romantic nature would endear him to the public…at the age of 18 Jose married a cigarette vendor who was devoted to him until the end; a child born to them passed away soon after its birth…after his death, with no estate to claim and with the memory of so much pain in her life, she returned to her simple job of  selling cigaretts……had  Jose Betinotti lived a little bit longer, like Carlos Gardel, he might have well transitioned to a tango singer…in 1948 a collection of his works was published, “Pobre Mi Madre Querida” after the name of his most famous composition…he was widely regarded as a humble and honest man; a poet once said of him, “he was the singer for mothers and pain” …paying homage to the payadores whom she always loved, the legendary Nelly Omar was to say, “it is because of them that I sing”



Poet (Leo) – Eduardo Escaris Mendez, like two other renown tango poets Pascual Contursi and Dante A. Linyera, ended his life alone and forgotten in the insane asylum “Hospicio De Las Mercedes” legendary for its storys of patients chained to the dining tables and cruel and violent orderlys in miserable conditions…founded in 1865, by the end of World War I, at its peak, it contained 6000 patients…the cause of Mendez’s madness and that of Contursi and Linyera as well, was probably the latter psychotic phase of syphilis…syphlis had been rampant in Europe in the 18th and 19th century and was carried by immigrants to Argentina…from the begining, tango was was part of the culture of whorehouses; its musicians frequently played there….Mendez was the lyricist for many tangos but his most enduring has been “Barajando” which has been recorded by many orchestras…for many years he ran gambling joints along with the requisite girls for entertainment…toward the end of his life, debilitated by the progressive effects of syphlis, he opened a second-hand book store and remained there until he was completed incapacitated and interned in the Hospicio De Las Mercedes from which few returned…


The renown bandoneon player and composer Jose Marmon, who created over 380 compositions, was known to have contracted syphilis no doubt from performing in the houses of prostitution….little is know about how and when he passed away…at the beginning of 20th century treatment for mental illness was practically non-existent; patients were basically locked up…interestingly, Hippocrates in ancient Greece had observed that malaria induced convulsions could cure insanity in some patients; in fact inducing convulsions was one of the few existing therapies leading to what was at the time a major breakthrough, the development of electroshock therapy by Ugo Cerreti in Rome in 1937…the classic French film “King of Hearts”, about an insane asylum during World War I which premiered in 1966, inspired Horacio Ferrer to write his masterpiece “Ballada Para Un Loco” to Astor Piazzolla’s music which became a major hit for Roberto Goyeneche



After having enjoyed a twenty year long career as a popular tango singer, Carlos Yanel did an unusual thing in 1975, he changed his stage name to “Siro San Roman”…he had just returned from a long stay in Europe where his resounding success included having been the first Argentinean to have recorded tangos in the Soviet Union but now he had changed his style, he was now also a bolero and international pop singer…he was to have resounding success under both stage names including a long tours of Europe and the Orient…he was a regular on several popular Argentinean soaps and he starred in two films “Patafupete” in 1967 and “Matrimonio a la Argentina” in 1968…he was known as “el cantor con la voz de angel y nombre de santo” (the singer with the voice of an angel and the name of a saint)…Siro San Roman was born August 20, 1931 (Leo) in Rosario, Argentina where he began singing as a young man in the local cafes…


His professional debut began at the age of twenty-one with the Jose Sala Orchestra in Buenos Aires where their engagements included performances on the renown Radio Belgrano; with Jose Sala he made his first recording, “Oracion Rante” on one side and “Larimas” on the other which were modest hits but did much to further his fame…he appeared on the legendary “Glostora Tango Club” on Radio El Mundo and at the acclaimed Cabaret Maipu Pigall…alongside the fascinating Ruth Durate he sang with the Hector Maria Artola Orchestra…in 1957 he got his first major break when he was recruited by the renown Alfredo Gobbi Orchestra with whom he recorded one hit “Reflexionemos”…he opened his own night club “La Nostalgia Esta de Moda” through which he produced several popular traveling shows…a highlight of his career occurred in 2003 when he toured with the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra to great acclaim….among his other successful ventures were the founding of a school for young aspiring singers and the recording of  a CD with the legendary Color Tango in 2005


1957, September 17 – debut of “LUCY DOES THE TANGO”

TV Episode – on this date aired this episode of the TV comedy “I Love Lucy”…discouraged by the returns of his  new chicken-raising business, Ricky declares that he’ll sell all his hens unless they starting laying more eggs…hoping to mollify Ricky, Lucy (born Aug. 6, 1911, Leo) and Ethel purchase five dozen eggs to plant them in the hen’s nests…


Unfortunately, Fred  unexpectedly shows up, and rather than admit her subterfuge, Lucy stuffs dozens of eggs in her clothes…It is at this point that Ricky arrives home, insisting that he and Lucy rehearse their tango routine for the upcoming  PTA show…the slapstick routine that follows elicited the loudest and longest sustained audience laughter of any episode in the history of I Love Lucy


1906, August 23 – BIRTH OF CESAR VEDANI

Poet (Leo) – son of Italian imigrants and part time journalist…his sudden and stunning success came when he penned the words to Adios Muchachos” (1927) whose world wide popularity continues unabated till this very day. The lyrics are the narration of a man in his last days recalling with sweetness and melancholy how God took from him his beloved girlfriend and his mother.


“Adios Muchachos” was very popular in the U.S. in the 50s as “I Get Ideas”. It was featured on the soundtrack of the movies “Scent of a Woman” (1992) and “Scoop” (Woody Allen 2006) and the “Full Monty” 1997. It was the title of a 1954 Argentinean film “Adios Muchachos”.


  • CLICK HERE to hear the American version “I get Ideas” sung by Louis Armstrong in Stuttgard Germany in 1959

1937 August 22 – birth of RAUL LAVIE

Singer (Leo)…born in Rosario…when he made the move to Buenos Aires as a very young man, he had already sung to great acclaim on Radio Belgrano and Radio El Mundo…his early break came when he was recruited to sing with the Hector Varela orchestra.


His voice and his charm gave him success even in the 60s which, with the ascendancy of rock, was a difficult period for tango singers…in addition he has had great success as an actor in musicals, theater and films… among these were acclaimed  tours with “The Man of La Mancha”, “Maria de Buenos Aires” and the tango show “Tango Argentino”…he has starred in over 17 films.


  • CLICK HERE to hear him sing “Barrio de Tango” written in 1942 by Anibal Troilo (lyrics by Homero Manzi)