Archive for the ‘ Sagitarius ’ Category

1916, December 8 – BIRTH OF ERNESTO “TITI” ROSSI

Composer, Leader, Bandoneonista (Sagittarius) – in 1960 he reluctantly agreed to accompany singer Alberto Marino on a three-month tour of the United States; but in one evening’s performance in a  New York night club, the passion and the dexterity with which he played his bandoneon attracted the attention of a broadway musical director who invited him to join his orchestra…he ended up being the soloist in Metro’ and along the way remained in New York for eight years…Ernesto “Titti” Rossi was born in Guamini, a province of Buenos Aires to an Italian immigrant family of musicians…his father was a bandleader and his first teacher…by the age of 10 the precocious  Ernesto was proficient in violin and trumpet but his true love was the bandoneon to which he would devote his whole life….young Ernesto had always demonstrated courage and independence not always to the delight of his stern father and at the age of  12, along with his brother Carlos who was a singer, he made his move to the big city, to Buenos Aires to seek his fame and fortune…


He auditioned at the legendary Radio Belgrano where because of his age they at first refused to consider him but Ernesto’s determination and talent finally earned him a seat on the staff one of his engagements there, the orchestra leader Nicolas Vacarro happened to hear the young Ernesto and was immediately impressed and asked him to join his orchestra…the incredulous Ernesto found himself playing at the elegant “Dancing Novelty” night club…from here he was then recruited by Antonio Rodio for his renown performances at Radio El Mundo and Radio Splendido…the seminal event in his career however was to occur in 1956 when he became the arranger for the ascendant orchestra of Hector Varela with whom he would have a long association…he was a prolific composer and had a number of hits like “No Me Hablen De Ella“ (do not mention her to me) sung by Rodolfo Lessica with the Hector Varela orchestra…his milonga “Azucar Pimienta Y Sal” was an immediate hit and continues to be played today in milongas around the world…he finally left New York to return to his beloved to Buenos Aires where his final days were spent teaching and was much admired and respected by his students.




Singer (Sagittarius) – in the morning when he would arrive at his medical studio, he would find swarms of young ladies waiting to see him, gynecologist Dr. Alberto De Luca, who by night was the idolized singer Alberto Castillo…in fact the never-ending line of women so interfered with his ability to practise medicine that he reluctantly, finally, decided to devote himself exclusively to singing…Alberto Castillo was born in the neighborhood of Floresta, Buenos Aires, the fifth child of immigrants from Teggiano, Italy…very early on he demonstrated great musical ability; he took violin lesson and had the habit of singing no matter where he was or what he was doing…when he was 15 years old he was singing with a group of friends on a street corner when the guitarist Armando Neira happened by and was immediately struck by the voice of the young boy; he invited him to sing with his group….


And thus began his career at the age of 15 using the alias Alberto Dual to protect him from his severe father who wanted him to seek a career in medicine…his big break came in 1934 he was recruited by the legendary orchestra of  Julio De Caro; he began singing on Radio Paris…the story is told that one day when his father was listening to the radio he heard Alberto singing and not realizing it was his son said “this boy sings well, he sounds like my Albertito” the age of 24 he decided to quit singing and devote himself exclusively to his medical studies but tango was under his skin and so he accepted an invitation to sing with the Ricardo Tanturi orchestra “Los Indios”; with Tanturi, on January 8, 1941, he recorded “Recuerdo” which was his first big hit…one year later he graduated as a gynecologist from medical school and created a consulting room in his parents’ house……in one famous performance at the Teatro Alvear in 1944, the crowds waiting to get in were such that the police had to reroute traffic…he became famous also for singing  candombe…he was very successful in films as well; he debuted in “Adios Pampa Mia” in 1946…in 1993 at the age of 79 he had his last hit success “Siga El Baile”, a candombe


  • CLICK HERE – to hear Alberto sing his hit“Que Nadie Sepa Mi Sufrir” (that no one knows how I am suffering) composed by Angel Cabral whom Edith Piaf re-recorded as “La Foule” in 1957…it became a hit for her as well


Composer, Leader, Pianist (Sagittarius) – the story is told of the time when Osvaldo Pugliesewas playing the “Cumparsita” in a night club and the police raided because he was forbidden to work…the owner of the club told the police that they should at least finish what they were playing…somehow word got back to Osvaldo and so he ordered that they continue playing; in fact they played for so long that the police finally left out of frustration…when the longest “Cumparsita” ever, finally came to an end, the crowd applauded thunderously; humbly, Osvaldo stood up and pointed to his orchestra in gratitude….besides being one of the greatest tango figures in history, Osvaldo Pugliese was an impassioned and indefatigable activist for social justice who was frequently  persecuted by the Juan Peron government…among his activities, he was an organizer of workers’ strikes and even looked after the welfare of the terribly exploited prostitutes


During his periodic incarcerations, his orchestra, which would continue performing, would place a red rose on top of his unmanned piano…He was born in the neighborhood of Villa Crespo, Buenos Aires, a traditionally jewish neighborhood, to an Italian immigrant father who gave him his first lesson in the playing of the violin; Osvaldo would later switch to the age of 16 he was hired by Paquita Bernardo, the first professional female bandoneonist in Argentina, to play in her sextet…after numerous engagements with different orchestras, on August 11, 1939, he debuted with his orchestra at the Cafe Nacional…he set up his orchestra as a cooperative in which everyone including himself was paid the same amount of money…there were numerous great hits among his hundreds of recording but perhaps non greater than “Recuerdo” which he composed  at the age of 19…during one of his numerous world tours at a stopover in Japan, he had a conversation with Dr. Daisaku Ikeda, a renown Buddhist who said of Osvaldo “I have met with emperors, kings, philosophers, great personalities from around the world, but I never found as much spiritual affinity with such a person as with Osvaldo.”


  • CLICK HERE – to hear a brief interview with the inimitable Osvaldo Pugliese followed by a performance of “Recuerdo” by his own orchestra shortly before passing away at the age of 90


Composer, Leader, Pianist (Sagittarius) – it was never clear if their death from a gas leak in their small apartment in Mar De Plata one cold winter night in 1983, had in fact been a dyadic suicide pact; before going to bed they had enjoyed an elaborate last meal, a half empty bottle of wine with two elegant glasses was found on the night stand…his wife Raquel suffered from severe depression; she had begged him to come back to Argentina after having been separate for a few years  and they had moved to Mar De Plata to start anew where perhaps they could be new persons away from their history and their memories…in life, Miquel Nijensohn was the son of jewish baker who because of his militant socialist’s activities was persecuted in Bessarabia and emigrated to Argentina where he opened a baker’s shop (he would later be severely injured from a bullet fired by an anarchist employee whom he had dismissed)…


Miguel was the youngest of six siblings and a lover of music and very early on he started tinkering with the piano that was in the house…he studied piano seriously and it was fully expected that he would become a classical pianist; at the age of 14 he chose instead to join the Roberto Firpo Orchestra with whom he toured South America…In 1927, with then 13-year-old Anibal Troilo, he created a trio which attained notoriety at Cafe Rio De La Plata in the Caballito neighborhood….by 1935 he formed his own group to back up singer Antonio Rodriguez Lesende at the Club Lucerna…the key event in his career however, came in 1936, was when he was asked by Miguel Calo to join his orchestra…here his talents would come to full bloom as a pianist and a brilliant arranger and a key reason for that orchestra’s great success…as a composer some of his tangos were great hits not only for Miguel Calò but for Juan D’arenzo and Carlos Di Sarli among others


1869, November 29 – BIRTH OF JACOB “THUNE” GADE

Composer, Violinist (Sagittarius) – his “Tango Jalousie” is the most recorded and best know tango in history and was immensely popular even in Argentina where people would have been quite surprised to find out that it had been composed by some one from Denmark…Gade recalled the day, as he was having his morning coffee, he opened the newspaper and was greeted with the sensational story of a man who had killed his wife out of jealousy…on his morning walk he was haunted by the story and when he returned home he sat down to compose and finished in  just two hours…it has been used in over 100 films and countless television productions…it is estimated that every minute of the day someone somewhere in the world is playing “Tango Jalousie”; only the Beatles’“Yesterday” could for a time match its popularity


Joseph “Thune” Gade was born into a family of musicians; his family including his grandfather and father would play at festivals in the surrounding villages…early on he started studying the trumpet was so talented that at the age of nine he did a solo performance  in Copenhagen; at the age of 12 Joseph began studying violin….At the age of 16, Joseph decided to move to the capital Copenhagen to seek his fortune; those were difficult years when he would sometimes sleep in entrance halls of buildings relying on the kindness of elderly ladies to give him some coffee and bread in the morning…by day he would compose country music and polkas; by night he would play in the local cafes…at the age of 18 he got his first break when he was invited to play at an operetta in Fredricksburg…in 1900, for the first time a “toast” song of his was published titled “Der Er Sollys i Modne Druer” (The sunshine on the ripe grapes)…it was popularized when it was recorded by Elna From, a theater actress ten years older than he, who was his first love; they never married but they had three children together…he left his vast fortune to help struggling young musicians preferably those homeless and destitute.


  • CLICK HERE – to hear the Peter Kreude version…Kreude was a child prodigy born in Aachen Germany in 1901…in Switzerland he met Eva Peron and fell in love with her…he followed her to Buenos Aires and remained there until her death whereup he returned to Germany and continued his great career as a film soundtrack composer


Composer, Leader, Violinist (Sagittarius) – born into extreme poverty in the city of San Jose de Mayo, Uruguay he would grow to become the richest man in tango history so much so that a popular saying arose “he has more money than Canaro”…he left school very early, he had no choice, he had to work; his parents, immigrants from Rovigo, Italy had eight children…he was mesmerized by the violin; his first violin he constructed himself from an old oil can with which he would play on the streets to earn money…years later he would recall with tenderness, the patch quilt cloth case his mother had made for his “violin”; at the age of 18 he finally bought himself a real violin…his first gig was in a seedy bar in the outskirts of Buenos Aires where gun fire to resolve arguments was not uncommon…in 1908 he composed his first tango “Pinta Brava”,  many more were to follow including great hits however many other tangos attributed to him, he actually bought from destitute composers…


No one is sure how many recordings he made but the estimates range from 3500 to 7000…in 1924 he pioneered the idea of having a singer in the orchestra but only to sing the “estribillo” the bridge or the main section of each tango…by 1915 his orchestra was immensely popular; so popular that he created three orchestras with his name which performed simultaneously around Buenos Aires…his one area of failure was the film industry; his film company Rio de la Plata had only one film that made money, “Idolos De La Radio”…….some time in late 1920s he began his affair with the legendary Ada Falcon who was very much in love with him…when he realizes how much money he would lose in a divorce, he reneged on his promise to marry Ada…at one point his wife actually threatened Ada by pointing a gun to her head…it has been speculated that Ada’s sudden  retirement from show business at the height of her career to enter a convent was related to her broken heart and this incident


  • CLICK HERE – to hear the Francisco Canaro Orchestra play “Yo No Se Que Me Han Hechos Tus Ojos” (I don’t understand what your eyes have done to me) with  music and lyrics by Francisco Canaro


Singer (Sagittarius) – by the age of 18 she was already a professional actress on radio and theater, had made her first recording, had married, given birth to a daughter and was in the middle of a difficult divorce;…she was to have a long, highly successful career becoming the first female super star of tango and along the way enduring a series of seemingly never-ending mishaps…in 1935 she may have tried to commit suicide by jumping from a building, luckily an awning broke her fall and saved her life…born in Rosario Argentina, she was the daughter Gaudencio, a son of French immigrants (originally to Uruguay), who married a woman with six children; Libertad was their only mutual child…Gaudencio was a tinsmith by day and a cultured fiery political anarchist by night; in fact Libertad grew up in a household full of music, literature and fashionable ideas…


Gaudencio started his daughter in theater at the age of seven where she frequently acted in his own plays full of provocative  ideas…Libertad was beloved by the public and when she was 12, Gaudencio decided that she was ready for Buenos Aires and so he moved the tinsmith shop and the whole family there…with a letter of introduction in hand from a journalist she was given a small role in the famous Teatro Nacional; she never stopped working…she married a theater promoter with whom she had a daughter but quite soon she realized it was a mistake and she would seek a divorce…during the shooting of the film “La Cabalgata del Circo” she got into a  argument with actress Eva Duarte “Evita” whom myth states that she slapped and which resulted in Libertad being blackballed…Libertad, in her autobiography, would deny that she had ever slapped Evita and Evita woul later denied any involvement in  her being ostracized but nevertheless all avenues in Argentina were inexplicably closed to her….Liberta emigrated to Mexico where she was eventually adored and worship to such a degree that Mexicans considered her one of their own; in fact it was from this venue that she would become an internationally beloved star…the output in her career is mind-boggling, over 800 recordings, 65 films and even the screenwriter for her film “Ayudame a Vivir”…she died at the age of 92 in Mexico City while performing in a “telenovela”